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The Leisure Feature Article


For the December FFD feature, we focus on the subject of Leisure.

Why leisure, you might wonder? At a time of heightened concern about very important things – the global economy, socio-political instability, imperatives linked to climate change, energy and water security, etc. – it might seem trivial to dedicate time to thinking about leisure; particularly if it is understood to mean the opposite of work.

The issue of leisure is one that has been given some attention by scholars and futurists, dating as far back as famous essays such as Alfred Lloyd’s Ages of Leisure (1922), John Maynard Keynes’s “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” (1931) and David Riesman’s “Leisure and Work in Post-Industrial Society” (1958). In the early part of the 20th century, the western writings were mainly focused on exploring the dynamics and future possibilities of leisure as a consequence of amassed wealth, technological development, or unemployment. Today, the developed world considers itself faced with much the same, compounded with the pronounced “death of the era of conspicuous consumption”, an aged and retiring population, and a heightened consumer consciousness (or at least awareness) about quality of life and sustainability (the emergence of “the grounded consumer”). What used to be simply rest, vacation, a time out, a hobby, or entertainment is now the “leisure experience,” bolstered by relative affluence, and new age values about familial, societal, and environmental issues. People are seeking “experiences that will make their lives happier, richer and more rewarding” (White, 2007). “Freedom, Balance, Purpose, Passion!” pronounces the website www.retirement2020.com, which promises to help its retired audience to discover paths to happiness, contentment and quality of life.

Africa has been the welcoming recipient of camera-clicking (or gun-firing) experience-seekers for many, many years now. However, there are bigger questions about culture, values, well-being, morality, class, access, markets and so forth that make the subject relevant in thinking about the future of Africa. International analyses also show interesting (sometimes surprising, sometimes contradictory) relationships between for example expenditure on leisure, and global and domestic economic pressures. What does this all mean for African futures?

Although the research towards this Feature does not unearth much existing research and literature about the subject in specific relation to the Continent, it seeks to draw the attention of African futures thinkers to the issue, and to identify in its Bibliozone collection useful experiences, concepts and signals from the literature.

If you are aware of additional perspectives, initiatives and sources that might add value to the community on this subject, do email us and we can start enhancing our FFD library!

Happy holidays from the FFD Team, and may you all have fulfilling leisure experiences!


FFD Team



Veal, A. J. (2009) The Elusive Leisure Society, 4th Edition. School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism Working Paper 9, Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.
White, Randy (June 2007). The Death of Entertainment; Welcome to the New Mindset of Leisure Experiences. RePlay Magazine.


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