The 1st Installment Report on Talk Series on “Inequity, Stereotypes, and Stigma in Leisure”

Momoko Aono (Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University)

・Date: Friday, December 4, 2020, 5:00–6:00 pm (JST)
・Language: Japanese
・Moderator: Yuko Itatsu (Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo)
(Click here for details on the event)

The first meeting of the research series, “Inequity, Stereotypes, and Stigma in Leisure,” was held on Friday, December 4, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Takato Ozawa (Associate Professor, School of Tourism, Tokai University) provided a presentation and Q&A session on the theme, “Why and how do leisure and ‘disparity’ intersect?”


The history of leisure studies is linked to the development of modern society. In Europe and the United States, the “sociology of leisure” has progressed along with modernization. The work of Dumazedier, who is also famous for his definition of leisure, demonstrates that “freedom” of time and activities is a key word for leisure. The work of the Rapoports revealed how leisure time is restricted by the life cycle. Subsequently, leisure is increasingly linked to wellbeing, quality of life, etc.


In response to this, the subject of leisure studies was created in the mid-1970s. Influenced by cultural studies, leisure studies would progress to note the problem that not everyone has equal access to leisure. It was also during this period that the gender disparity in leisure became apparent, in conjunction with second-wave feminism. Furthermore, the focus on ethnicity illustrated how disparities are reproduced in the informal sector.


Based on the above reflections, Ozawa suggested that from a perspective of leisure and disparity, disparities in living standards are easily manifested in leisure activities, while disparities in cultural conditions are less conscientized and are accepted as “common sense” or “normal.” In terms of the significance of studying disparity from the perspective of leisure, the following issues were raised: (1) To be able to observe the disparity (discrimination and stigma) that occurs elsewhere in a more visible way, (2) to bring to light the process (structure) in which disparity is reproduced as it occurs uniquely in leisure situations, and (3) to be able to use leisure as an opportunity to solve the problem of disparity.


In the discussion that followed, questions were raised on how to apply leisure studies to research in Japan, the progression of diversity in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the disparity in leisure among the elderly and the relevance of social education and continuing education research. In addition, it was noted that leisure has expanded as a concept that can include a wide variety of activities; therefore, it can no longer be established as an individual area. However, the broad range of leisure also has the potential to explain issues that cannot be observed from a labor or economic perspective.


Some have asked what the vision may be for circumstances in which there is no disparity in leisure. There may be some opposition to noting leisure disparities because leisure is “free” and the disparity there is accepted as “normal;” however, the researchers will continue their research and discussions on leisure and disparity.