LSA Exec Committee Top Picks: Aaron Pooley

A growing body of research in Leisure Studies centres on changes in global mobilities, cross-cultural engagement and digital environments. For many, moving to another country is the only possibility for certain employment and universities globally are accepting international students at record numbers. Immigrants, international students and others visiting, living and working abroad select destinations where culture, language and societal norms make enjoying simple pleasures in life a challenge.

The relationships between the seriousness of leisure activities, social support and school adaptation among Asian international students in the U.S.

Authors: Chungsup Lee, Yoon-Tae Sung, Yilun Zhou & Sunwoo Lee (2017)

My first pick examines how serious leisure engagement provides international students with social support during their study abroad. Anyone who has not spent a significant length of time outside their home country could not begin to understand the sharp contrasts between the highs and lows of daily life in another culture. Casual leisure is important for international students, but international students staying for four or more years abroad need leisure experiences that help them transition into a new cultural lifestyle in meaningful ways.

Migrating to the East: a qualitative investigation of acculturation and leisure activities

Authors: Junhyoung Kim, Se-Hyuk Park, Eileen Malonebeach & Jinmoo Heo (2016)

My second pick covers cross-cultural engagement in leisure in a time of shifting global mobilities. More students from English-speaking countries such as the UK and USA are choosing universities in the Asia-Pacific region for undergraduate and graduate study, as well as short-term study abroad. Students traveling from individualistic cultures (UK/USA/Canada) and staying temporarily in collectivistic cultures (in this case, South Korea) may encounter: 1) leisure preferences from home not available abroad, 2) leisure preferences available regardless of culture but with different methods of participation and 3) new and unfamiliar leisure choices available only within their temporary destination abroad.

Knit, purl and upload: new technologies, digital mediations and the experience of leisure

Author: Kate Orton-Johnson (2014)

My third pick explores how digital environments have transformed leisure engagement. While many leisure pursuits are grounded in digital interaction (console/computer/online gaming, for example), understanding the blending of in-person and digital modalities offers insight into improving leisure accessibility. Knitting has a long tradition of in-person gathering and such gatherings may no longer be possible. Work, home and other personal obligations can prevent dedicated leisure time in physical spaces. Digital environments, ranging from internet forums to social media posts offer a means for those potentially excluded from in-person gatherings to engage in meaningful leisure relationships with others. Digital environments also show the leisure activity of knitting to those considering participation and allow non-participants to learn more before committing personal time and financial resources. Rather than detracting from the meaningful leisure interactions limited to the few, digital leisure environments grow leisure communities and provide a more varied range of participation.

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