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Leisure, Global Citizenship and Cultural Diversity

In the realm of contextualized leisure, the approach taken to leisure and, culture is mostly led by structure focused on leisure which recognizes the various department and different policies organized around both leisure and culture. Leisure is a condition exhibited in the mind or quality of experience. Leisure can be distinguished by personal freedom to act and, the condition that are imposed by necessity Cooper, (1998, pp56-61). Leisure is assumed to be pleasurable, motivated and valuable for its own sake. On the other hand, family life and leisure activities are vital to any human being. On the other hand, culture is a set of unique spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional feature that are owned by a particular society.

It can also be said to be a social group that comprises art, literature, lifestyles, and ways of living together, value systems, traditions, and beliefs. In our everyday life, culture is taken to refer to the finer things in life for example fine arts, philosophy and classical music. To anthropologist, the term culture has a much broader meaning beyond personal refinement. Requirement for one to be cultured is to be a human being and hence all people have their own culture. Cooking pots, spears, and mud huts are very crucial to anthropologist as he perceive them as legitimate items of culture. Cultural development strategy defines culture as all forms of intellectual and artistic expression that symbolizes social identity, belonging, behaviour and customs Machol (2005, pp76-78). Industrial products that include the media that are used by people to spend their leisure and to shape their attitudes are considered to be leisure.

Consequently, cultural diversity has become a major issue in leisure industry today. For many years people have focused on workforce diversity for example age, religion and gender. There has been inadequate attention to cultural diversity issues. As minority groups enter the leisure industry, managing culture diversity is becoming an issue that is worth concern. Leisure and culture domain should embrace free time participation in the engagements that include arts, culture and recreation which contribute to the well being of an individual, community and society at large. There has been a comprehensive review on the relationship between leisure and culture participation, perceptions, experiences, opportunities and their contribution to wellbeing.

Leisure and culture can be discussed in the domain of everyday life. Participation in social leisure and physical activities, in arts and culture activities, culture and recreation, performing arts performances, visitation to parks and historic sites, nights away on vacation, and household expenditures on culture and recreation are crucial in explaining how culture should be managed. The past fifteen years shows a decline in leisure and culture involvement. This has troubling and negative implication on the well being and the quality of life of the society. Leisure and culture were perceived to be defined by four aspects; this are; participation in leisure, recreation, arts, and culture activities. There are various perceptions that are associated with leisure and culture and they include: motives, benefits sought and needs attainment. The experience of leisure and culture as portrays leisure and culture as a state of mind and the quality it holds for individuals.

Various objects that support leisure and, culture include recreation facilities, designated open space and parks and recreation sites. Throughout the years these aspects have shown to be the best ways to recognize measure and understand leisure and culture. In the current world, young people are growing in a global context Radicci (2009, pp154-158). Many people have parents, family or family members living in other countries. Working and studying is nowadays done alongside people from all over the world. More people are travelling in different parts of the world for work or for leisure. Thus all forms of culture and leisure are shaped mostly by global influences. Each decision that one makes as a consumer or electors has an impact on the world society.

To understand citizenship, people need to know their position and the role they have in the world. Development of skill enabling them to participate fully in the world society is a requirement. Global dimension to citizenship involve understanding the global factors that affect various issue that are in our lives. Citizenship and culture is a part of our work, our clothes, the food we eat, the music we listen to, the people and their faiths. Citizenship affects different decisions that we make in our everyday life, this decision may involve be from what we buy to the places we go for our holidays. In health framework, health wellbeing does not just refer to the physical well being of an individual, but also refer to social, emotional, spiritual, and cultural consciousness of the whole community. There are various recommended Leisure and culture headline indicators that include; Time Use; this is indicated by the percentage of time that is spent in social leisure. Activity participation; this is the average monthly rate of involvement in physical activity that last more than fifteen minutes. Expenditures; this comprises expenditures in past year on aspects culture and recreation in a percentage of total household expenditures.

In addition, it is clear that leisure and culture make considerable contributions to the welfare of humankind in the community that we live. However, the decline in participation of society in this crucial lifestyle domain is worth concern. The general decline in support for public agencies and non profit organization that are responsible for leisure and culture is troubling for wellbeing of the communities. Hence, regardless of the effort made in indentifying, collecting, and summarizing of best data that relate to leisure and culture in the community, there would be loss if meaningful venues and opportunities for culture are not developed. Any effort that aim to construct a comprehensive list of various activities that people engage in within arts, culture, and recreation should be encouraged. To encourage the success of this, framework that involves arts, culture, and recreation within the concept of leisure and culture should be adopted. Such concepts will provide a context and a focus to recognize the most appropriate material.  The framework will also be useful in facilitating the identification of various indicators that embrace arts, culture, and recreation.

Importance of leisure and culture in the lives of people and the community at large is an old belief. It is with certainty that the activities and, opportunities within leisure and culture that, we pursue and enjoy in our daily lives, have a greater effect to our overall quality of life and wellbeing.  To better know the contribution that this domain has to the wellbeing is to connect arts, culture, and recreation within the broader concept of leisure.  This does not lessen the role that arts and culture play in community life, but serve to understand the key component in the framework of leisure and culture. In one definition, culture could thus be defined as the sum of all artistic expression and is most important in defining our heritage as human beings. This view is centred mostly on the cultural object i.e. the focus is mostly on the product and performance artistic activities that are embraced, enjoyed and embraced by the community. In the respect, culture is portrayed as form of artistic participation and is distinct in its use in sociological sense. Various artistic and cultural objects introduce aspects of the culture in the community and establish the essence of who we are as a people.

Leisure has found universal characteristics that are; activity, free time, and a state of mind. Intersection of these three concepts provides a greater understanding of leisure and how it contributes to the wellbeing. Participation in the activities regarded as recreation is the best way in which leisure can be perceived. Thus when someone is presumed to be at leisure the individual is usually involved in activities such as fine and performing arts, sports, games, exercise, outdoor recreation, holiday travel, hobbies, and media consumption. Those activities that comprise arts and culture, and recreation can be well thought-out to be component of one’s leisure. Leisure activities could be social or solitary, active or passive, formal or informal, competitive or cooperative. The activities that one participates in during ones free time are self generated and reveal how different people define leisure. Thus understanding of leisure is broadened and other freely chosen activities could be embraced such as volunteering, religious involvements, and contemplation.  In their view Cooper &Michael (1998, pp121-124), we are at leisure when the activities we are involved in are, freely chosen, intrinsically motivated, and inherently satisfying.

Though leisure can be regarded in different ways basing our argument on human expression, it can also be regarded as those context within which leisure occur. Even if we can be at leisure at any place the extent to which some places are dedicated  to arts, culture, and recreation engagement for example, museums, libraries, theatres, arenas, parks, galleries, and community centres reveals how important the community feel for leisure being part of their lives Watson (2009, pp43-47). There are seven elements that are related to leisure and culture, this elements include: Aesthetics which is the attitudes and behaviours related to literature, music, dance, art and architecture. Ceremony which is what a person is to say and do on particular occasions. Ethics which is concerned with attitudes and behaviours related to honesty, fairness and principles. Health and Medicine being the attitudes and behaviours related to wellness, sickness and death.  Folk Myths which are attitudes and behaviours related to heroes, traditions, legendary characters and superstitions.

Gender roles involve attitudes and behaviours that, relate to expectations of people because of their gender. Gestures and Kinetics being form of nonverbal communication or reinforced speech, for example, use of the eyes, the hands and the body.  Sex and Romance forming the attitudes and behaviours associated with courtship and marriage. Status being the attitudes and behaviours linked to people of different rank. Taboos forming part of the attitudes and behaviours associated with doing things against accepted norms, and also Values which form attitudes and behaviours associated with freedom, security, education, aggressiveness, intellect, cleanliness, cruelty and crime Ferguson (1969, pp165-169). All aspects that related to culture and leisure should be considered and understood when one is working with individual and the community.

Moreover, equal opportunities in ethical; consideration, may be exhibited through the theoretical understanding of culture and leisure enhances ethical responsibilities that influence change in our communities. Culture and diversity should be considered in the concept of socioeconomic status, sexuality, spirituality and ethnicity. Culture and leisure touches every aspect of community’s external and internal life. Thus, culture is viewed as the knowledge, experience, values, ideas, attitudes, skills, tastes, and techniques that are passed on from experienced member of the past to modern newer member in the community. Institutions that carry culture include families, religious organizations, peer groups, neighbours, social groups, and professional organizations.

The term cultural industry has been used in the culture analysis for a long time. It relate to how cultural goods are produced and circulated in modern world and in the community. Culture industries can be thought as an attempt pluralise and sociologise the conception of cultural production. Cultural industries signified an approach to cultural production based on the principle developed Miege, French sociologist and other influential British analyst for example, Nicholas Granham. Cultural industries were connected to a broader set of approaches that come to be known political economy of culture Patterson (2001, pp178-180). Political economy is used to refer to entire tradition of economic which differs from mainstream economics. There has been a need of increasing access to cultural goods and improving cultural expression. They have been encouraging the use of cultural heritage as a resource for sustainability. Cultural heritage for development of society should be protected, for example in the addition of value, business developing and empowering sense of identity. Equitable cooperation between cultural institution and the mutual benefit should be encouraged. Cultural heritage both tangible and intangible should be supported. To encourage cultural heritage there should be a focus on teaching and learning throughout the secondary socialisation process

Culture has different functions; it provides the context for the development of human communication systems for example language and Perception. Culture gives meaning to social situations and in generating social roles and behaviours. In other word culture shapes the way we look and also the way we look and understand the world Cobben (2009, pp23-25). Culture also gives people a feeling of commitment to other for example family member and friends. It brings people together through functions such as weddings and funerals. Integrating mechanism is used by schools which try to integrate students through things like school uniforms and competitive sports against other schools. Culture identities are also shaped through understanding society history, community traditions and customs.  Hostede’s in 1991 perceived culture to involve collective programming of the mind that differentiates one person from another.  Cultural is a system of values and people’s behaviour. Community behaviour is to some percentage conditioned by the cultural values adopted through the process of socialization.

Cultural properties are the possession of the community and should be exported only in exceptional cases. Individual and the community have obligations of caring and maintaining of the property and public accessibility. The Law on the Protection of Cultural state that there is an requirement of paying a "Monument annuity" in case a cultural asset if used in printed work, for promotion, or when an income or profit is made from cultural activity performed. This law has been amended to advance the system of collecting and distributing funds from monument taxes. There has been a need of protection of archival material and preservation of films and film material of historic nature. Thus foreign legal and private entities have been given authority to establish archives. Various, nations should make it possible for units of local administration to form archives. Though investment in cultural infrastructure is positive, there is often some criticism expressed by people who believe that there is no adequate investment in modernisation. Thus greatest weaknesses in the treatment of heritage is the neglect of the traditional rural heritage

The regeneration of the infrastructure in cultural issues has been exhibited by recent changes in the technological, social-political and economies have strongly affected culture and leisure. Cultural sector is playing an increasingly significant role in the evolution of today’s world. Culture is becoming more and more the business of the cities for example, growth of cultural consumption for example, art, food, fashion, music and tourism. In the economy, culture and leisure is used explain new economic processes and issues Dower &John (2002, pp34-37). Community and governments have recognised this connection that exist between culture and the economic and, have sought to benefit.  This can be done by formulating and implementing policies that harness this linkage.   

Culture in urban cultural policy has become more and more important physical regeneration strategies in many communities. Governments have been increasing the expenditure on culture and bodies that enhance provision of cultural services. This process is favoured and encouraged by many national policies. Adaptation to the social and economic transformations caused by the process of economic restructuring has been going on due to urbanisation.  There has been dominance of cultural activities has a potential to generate short-term economic returns. Cultural events often are used to attract media attention and tourists. There has been a feeling that it should much be used as a means to raise community involvement and empowerment. It should a focal point for community pride and identity. In some countries like Netherlands there has been an enormous growth in occupation compared to the other economic sectors. This growth is concentrated in major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, which recently adopted theories on cultural industries.

 Long-term Cultural Legacies that benefit cities in Europe cultural activities have become more and more important in the economic regeneration strategies in many cities. Many more state cultural policies are based on the notion of culture as a realm separate from realm of material production and economic activity Chapman (1998, pp232-233). Europe cities have been the main centres for innovation and cultural development for a long time. European Culture was born in cities where its citizens participated in the cultural life. This is the best explanation while the city authorities have developed cultural policies which started by building of facilities like theatres, museums, and public libraries and supporting cultural education. The challenge of globalisation that is facing the world today has made Europe reassess its role in the world’s economy. Europe’s international competitiveness and the well being her citizen must be built upon knowledge and innovation with much concern on society and environmental.

Many governments are positively repositioning to national and international audience to encourage more visitors to their cities. They encourage and increase participation in cultural activity. They are trying to create a legacy of long term growth and sustainability in culture and leisure in their cities Watson (2009, pp43-47). This will help to develop greater recognition nationally and internationally. This is in the concept of the role of arts and culture in making our cities better places to live, work and visit and this usually helps to make a legacy of long term growth and sustainability.

In conclusion, all cultural activities represent a powerful engine that drive a nation forward and, help her citizens meet the globalisation challenges. They are important step towards a knowledge based economy. This knowledge will result not just from one person but from the collective involvement and the creativity of the community at large. Hence, if cultural activities and leisure has to be successful they require infrastructure should be put in place for human interaction. Regardless of how much time we spend in trying to identify, collect, and summarizing data that gives indication that can help us analyze leisure and culture in the lives of our communities, failure to build up meaningful venues and opportunities that enhances leisure and culture threatens the   individuals, communities, and society at large. Our resolve must be strong in ensuring that capacity to sustain and develop these resources is maintained.

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