What it is to take the flow of leisure seriously

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    Associations made between serious leisure and flow have until now remained theoretical, conceptually linking the two. Returning to the experiences themselves, to the actual experiencing of flow, this article draws upon an exploratory study into the intricacies of flow-based serious leisure experience (Elkington, S. (2006). Exploring the nature of pre- and post-flow in serious leisure. In S. Elkington, I. Jones, & L. Lawrence (Eds.), Serious leisure: Extensions and applications (pp. 145–159). Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association; Elkington, S. (2008). The need for theoretical originality when taking the flow of leisure seriously. In P. Gilchrist & B. Wheaton (Eds.), Whatever happened to the leisure society? Theory, debate and policy (pp. 135–164). Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association; Elkington, S. (2010). Articulating a systematic phenomenology of flow: An experience-process perspective. Leisure/Loisir, 34, 327–260) of participants from one activity characteristic of Stebbins's amateur, hobbyist and career volunteer serious leisure categories, namely amateur actors, hobbyist table tennis players and voluntary sports coaches. This initial foray into examining flow in serious leisure has revealed that each activity is capable of generating flow and does so in terms unique to it, evoking the affinity of serious leisure activity for flow experience and the discovery that both serious leisure and flow are not disparate frameworks, but are structurally and experientially mutually reinforcing, producing strong evidence that experiencing the qualities of flow is what makes their leisure most rewarding and experienced as optimal.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-282
    JournalLeisure/ Loisir
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2011


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