Karl explained how we can understand and interpret the meaning and purpose of leisure, suggesting that although leisure is globalising, the extent of the postmodern turn has been overplayed. For everyone, even in the commodified West, leisure remains a place where late modern identities are defined and defended.
Professor Spracklen is widely published and his research interests range from social and cultural theory, whiteness, social identity and community in a range of leisure activities, from whisky tourism through to music and sport. Speaking ahead of the lecture he said: "Leisure is fundamentally necessary for the human condition, I spend a large part of my working life convincing colleagues and students that there is more to leisure than sport.
This lecture will unpack the meaning and purpose of leisure and demonstrate that leisure studies are not only relevant but necessary in a neo-liberal world.
His latest book, Constructing Leisure: Historical and Philosophical Debates Palgrave, , is about the history and philosophy of leisure, exploring the meaning of leisure, from prehistory to alternative futures. The book charts the idea of leisure from ancient history through to modern times and suggests that the Roman and Byzantine obsession with chariot-racing has many parallels to how professional football clubs operate today.
As Professor Spracklen explains: "The Romans and the Byzantines were great lovers of chariot-racing big events staged in large stadia with thousands of fans cheering on their favourite teams. There were four teams represented by different colours at the start of the Roman Empire, and each team had its dedicated supporters: the Roman Emperor Nero was a fan of the Greens, for example. The teams were like professional football clubs today, with rich sponsors, hooligan supporters and lots of built-in wealth.
By the time of the Byzantine Empire, the Blues and the Greens were involved in politics, setting fashions and acting like street gangs, according to our limited sources. Reports of alien contact could face a barrage of fake news, according to a Leeds Beckett University academic.
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That is the purpose of this book. It provides an account of leisure through historical time, how leisure was constructed and understood by historical actors, how communicative reason and free will interacted with instrumentality at different times, how historians have reconstructed past leisure through historiography, and finally, how writers have perceived the meaning and purpose of leisure in alternative histories.
Providing a sweeping overview of the field, Karl Spracklen charts how the concept of leisure was understood in Ancient history, through to modern times, and looks at leisure in different societies and cultures including Byzantium and Asian civilizations, as well as looking at leisure and Islam. Spracklen concludes with a chapter on future histories of leisure.
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Buy Hardcover. Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. About this book This book looks back at the meaning and purpose of leisure in the past.