Meanings of Leisure in the Everyday Lives of Chinese University Students
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While meanings of leisure have been widely studied from Western perspectives, to date, few researchers have explored the meanings of leisure in non-Western cultural contexts. However, in an era of globalization, it is particularly significant to explore leisure experiences of people from non-Western cultures. This study is then designed to investigate the role leisure plays in a Chinese culture context. Specifically, Chinese university students’ leisure experience and the values they ascribe to leisure in relation to their lives as a whole is examined. Their ideology of work and its impact on leisure participation is addressed in particular. In a Chinese university, criterion sampling method was first applied to recruit Chinese students who could provide information-rich stories about their leisure participation. Snowball sampling method was also used to find more information-rich cases for this exploratory study. 11 participants were engaged in this study. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted to discover leisure experience of these students. Data analysis was guided by a constructivist grounded theory approach to understand the participants’ perceptions and meanings of their leisure experience. The data analysis resulted in three major themes. The first theme “Valuations of Work” addressed that the students placed high valuation on work and their life was ruled by work. The second theme “Two Spheres of Leisure” illustrated the students’ ideology of leisure and its impact on their leisure experience. The last theme “Causes for the Subordinate Role of Leisure”revealed two underlying causes that shaped the subservient role of leisure in the students’ daily lives. The emerged themes reflected that the students’ lives were centered around work; and they gave little consideration to their leisure participation. Holding such work-leisure ideology, the students’ leisure participation cannot always contribute to their well being. Therefore, this study advocates the implementation of leisure education in China, which may facilitate the Chinese people to build a balanced and healthy life style.