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Title: Leisure and the Obligation of Self-Work: An Examination of the Fitness Field
Authors: Smith Maguire, Jennifer
First Published: Jan-2008
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Leisure Studies, 2008, 27 (1), pp. 59-75.
Abstract: This article examines the cultural field of fitness as a network of producers, consumers, products and practices that has developed around the care of the body through physical exercise. Drawing on a thematic text analysis of US exercise manuals, the paper focuses on how the commercial fitness field naturalizes associations between physical exercise and leisure, and between leisure and self-work. In particular, the analysis examines three themes and their relevance to our broader understanding of leisure in contemporary consumer society: the management of leisure time; the use of leisure for self-investment strategies; and the promotion of consumption as the framework for leisure and an accompanying notion of pleasure. The fitness field casts light on how leisure more generally is constructed as a sphere of obligations to make productive use of one's time, to improve one's body and self, and to do so through the wares of the consumer marketplace. The cultural imaginary of leisure as a time of freedom from work and responsibility is thus recast, in an age of individualization, as a time of freedom to accomplish the work of self-production.
DOI Link: 10.1080/02614360701605729
ISSN: 0261-4367
Type: Article
Rights: This is the author's final draft of the paper published as Leisure Studies, 2008, 27 (1), pp. 59-75. The final version is available from Doi: 10.1080/02614360701605729
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Media and Communication

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