Amateurs, Professionals, and Serious Leisure by Robert A. Stebbins

By Robert A. Stebbins

For fifteen years, Robert Stebbins has performed vast study on amateurs and pros in theatre, track, archaeology, astronomy, baseball, soccer, magic and stand-up comedy. His guides provide the topic of significant relaxation in-depth scholarly consciousness. this article brings jointly the findings of this examine undertaking to supply a theoretical framework that finds the commonalities throughout those 8 fields. all through this venture Stebbins has outfitted at the paintings of Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss and their idea of "grounded theory". First, Stebbins generally saw the regimen actions of amateurs and execs in each one box studied. Then, as he turned extra conversant in the life-styles of the individuals, he carried out long, unstructured, face-to-face interviews with, usually, 30 novice or specialist respondents. every one box demanded certain tools of remark, research, interviewing, probing and reporting. up to attainable, although, Stebbins requested comparable questions of all respondents in all fields to be able to let generalizations throughout those various fields. the outcome was once a "substantive grounded conception" of every box studied. Stebbins has constructed a "formal grounded concept" of amateurs and pros in accordance with the learn amassed in all 8 significant fields. by means of transcending various contexts, he argues, you can still achieve a extra enduring appreciation of the weather that impact peoples' reviews in paintings and spare time activities. A overview of the findings throughout this wide selection of actions, together with his findings and concepts on hobbyists and profession volunteers, enabled Stebbins to derive larger definitions of the most suggestions of the venture, comparable to "amateur", "the public", and "serious rest" -- in addition to "professional", the place he distinguishes among client-centred and public-centred execs who, whereas sharing quite a few ideal-typical attributes, fluctuate as to the ability and keep an eye on they've got over their paintings in a democratic society. He offers inductive conclusions approximately careers and the prices and rewards within the 8 amateur-professional fields thought of. He examines the exterior international of amateurs and execs within the mild of such concerns as kin ties, family members between amateurs and pros and between amateurs and their employers, public photos, critics and newshounds, group contributions, and the query of marginality for amateurs who're stuck among the paintings global of the pro and the informal rest global of the vast majority of the inhabitants. He concludes with an exploration of the long run position of significant relaxation relating to predictions of better unemployment and elevated rest time and durability.

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In the end, such unidimensional definitions fail to communicate the essence of either status. Indeed, I encountered scores of devoted amateurs in all four areas who spend at least as much time at their serious leisure as they do at their occupations. 2 A further 21 Professionals disadvantage of these two common sense definitions is that they have never found their way into sociological theory. The two brief definitions of amateur presented in the preceding chapter, developed at the beginning of the Project, were used to guide research from there on.

Second, they spoke of professionals as spending considerably more time at their pursuits than do amateurs. Although we could build a scientific definition from either of these two truisms that would distinguish one from the other, we would have gained little useful knowledge. In the end, such unidimensional definitions fail to communicate the essence of either status. Indeed, I encountered scores of devoted amateurs in all four areas who spend at least as much time at their serious leisure as they do at their occupations.

These include celebrated museums, theatres, concert halls, nightclubs, and recording studios. According to this criteria, many of today's young fine artists, even with their university or conservatory degrees, cannot yet be termed professionals. They must first be judged sufficiently qualified to be listed, hired, presented, or represented in the ways just mentioned. It is in this sense that George Bernard Shaw could claim that all professions are a conspiracy against the laity. Nonetheless, these elaborations of what constitutes the institutionalized validation of professionalism are all formal.

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