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Unravelling linkages between leisure and health discourses


McGrath, R and Maxwell, H and Peel, N, Unravelling linkages between leisure and health discourses, Leisure Studies Association Conference, 9-11 July, Dundee, UK (2019) [Conference Extract]

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Presently various discourses of ‘health’ link to theoretical and practical domains of leisure. Within the health field there are contrasting discussions involving biological, medical, psychological, sociological, economic, environmental and political ways of constructing meaning. These often overlapping discourses occur in the domains of bio-medical treatment and health promotion. The bio-medical perspective frames ‘health’ as the prevention or remediation of disease/illness/injury. Consequently, the bio-medical perspective views ‘leisure’ as a tool through which to reduce risk or assist in recovery. Conversely, the health promotion perspective of ‘health’ is focused more holistically, i.e. views ‘health’ as socially constructed. While mainstream health promotion research and practice also views ‘leisure’ as a tool through which disease/injury risks can be minimised, an alternative health promotion perspective (referred to as salutogenesis) locates ‘leisure’ as a resource from where ‘health’ can be built. Within the leisure field, two dominant discourses have evolved concerning ‘health’. These discourses relate to the biopsychosocial benefits of ‘leisure’ and the human rights aspects of ‘leisure’. The biopsychosocial ‘leisure’ discourse focuses on ‘health’ within a well-being framework and moves beyond the confines of the physical body. This discourse recognises physical, psychological (mental, emotional and spiritual) as well as social aspects of ‘health’. Within the human rights ‘leisure’ paradigm, ‘health’ is located within a broader social domain, i.e. societies are ‘healthy’ through the ability of nation states to create and support ‘leisure’. Locating ‘leisure’ within broader understandings of ‘health’ aligns closely to a salutogenic perspective of ‘health’ (Antonovsky, 1979). This paper seeks to unravel the complexities in relation to discourses and practices concerning ‘leisure’ and ‘health’.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:health, leisure, social, biomedical, behavioural
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Primary health care
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Recreation and leisure activities (excl. sport and exercise)
UTAS Author:Maxwell, H (Dr Hazel Maxwell)
ID Code:133904
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2019-07-15
Last Modified:2019-07-15

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