For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Leisure studies, pluralism and social democracy"

by Veal, Tony (1998)


Beginning with the 1980s debates over neo-Marxist and pluralist approaches to leisure theory, this paper addresses the question of the current direction of leisure studies in the context of the decline of Marxism, the evolution of feminism, the emergence of postmodernism and the development of pluralist thinking in recent years. It is argued that the so-called pluralist position in leisure studies has been developed in only the most sketchy manner; that part of the reason for this is that pluralism is too broad a category to be seen as a single alternative to Marxism or feminism and has lacked the ideological salience of competing theoretical frameworks. It is suggested that, among the various ideologies which might be encompassed within pluralism, the ?unofficial ideology? of much of leisure studies over the last quarter of a century has, in fact, been social democracy , but that this has never been explicitly articulated in the literature. The paper presents an outline of social democratic principles and how they might relate to leisure studies and leisure policy and discusses the relationship between such a perspective and Marxist, feminist and postmodern perspectives.

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