Book cover image for: Decentring Work: Critical Perspectives on Leisure, Social Policy, and Human Development

Decentring Work: Critical Perspectives on Leisure, Social Policy, and Human Development

Edited by Heather Mair, Susan M. Arai, and Donald G. Reid

$34.95 CAD / $39.95 USD (S)

280 pages, 3 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-500-5 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-543-2 (ePub)

January 2011

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About the Book

How has it come to be that paid work is seen as the primary avenue for attaining sustenance, self-esteem, and human dignity?

This book encourages scholars and practitioners to rethink the relationships between leisure, social policy, and human development. Drawing on the expertise of some of the most innovative minds in the field of leisure studies from across Canada, Decentring Work questions how and why we have come to value paid employment as the marker of social success and individual self-worth and, more provocatively, investigates the role that leisure might play in its stead.

The contributors probe the dimensions of marginalization and oppression experienced by groups such as women living in poverty, Indigenous youth, new immigrants, and older adults and show how leisure can be a vital element in confronting issues in the social construction of homelessness, incarceration, dementia care, disability, and ethnicity. Using a mix of approaches from in-depth empirical studies to more conceptually driven discussions, the chapters in Decentring Work weave together effectively into a treatise on notions of work, leisure, power, and social change.

This collection is essential reading for anyone in the field of leisure studies, recreation, or social work who is interested in the role that leisure can and should play in reshaping human and community development.

About the Editors

Heather Mair is an associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. She has published research on a variety of topics. She is co-author (with Donald G. Reid and E. Wanda George) of Rural Tourism Development: Localism and Cultural Change.

Susan M. Arai is an associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. Her research examines concepts such as social inclusion/social exclusion, therapeutic relationships, empowerment, mindfulness, and health.

Donald G. Reid is a professor in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. Other books by Reid include Work and Leisure in the 21st Century: From Production to Citizenship, and Tourism, Globalization and Development; Responsible Tourism Planning.

With Contributions By:  Susan M. Arai, Heather Maier, Donald G. Reid, Don Dawson, Janna Taylor, Wendy Frisby, Leigh Golden, Leah Katerberg, Sherry L. Dupuis, Rishia Burke, Susan Tirone, Darla Fortune, Alison Pedlar, Felice Yuen, Dawn Trussel, Karen M. Fox, and Brett D. Lashua 

Praise for Decentering Work

Highlights important social issues and policies that marginalize large segments of the population and negatively affect citizens’ opportunities to experience recreation and leisure . . . relevant for practitioners and researchers in community recreation and leisure services [and]… people who work in public policy and social service organizations.

—Laura L. Payne, Journal of Leisure Research 

Table of Contents


Susan M. Arai, Heather Mair, and Donald G. Ried

Part One: Leisure and Social Policy

Leisure and Social Policy

Don Dawson

Addressing Inadequate Leisure Access Politics Through Citizen Engagement

Janna Taylor and Wendy Frizby

Part Two: Leisure and Alternative Policy Frameworks for Health and Social Development

Removing the Scar: Social Solidarity and Leisure Policy
Donald G. Reid, B. Leigh Golden, and Leah Katerberg

Improving the Lives of Persons with Dementia and Their Families through Enhanced Social Policies, Leisure Policy, and Practice
Sherry L. Dupuis

Poverty and Leisure as Social Determinants of Health: The Politics of Oppression and Transformation in Social Policy
Susan M. Arai and Rishia Burke

Part Three: Social Policy from the Perspective of the Margins

Multiculturalism and Leisure Policy: Enhancing the Delivery of Leisure Services and Supports for Immigrants and Minority Canadians
Susan Tirone

Leisure and Social Development in the Context of Women who Offend
Darla Fortune, Alison Pedlar, and Felice Yuen

Restoring Our Collective Obligation: Exploring Opportunities for Addressing Homelessness and Social Housing
Heather Mair and Dawn Trussell

Hold Gently People Who Create Space on the Margins: Urban Aboriginal–Canadian Young People and Hip–Hop Rythems of "Leisures"
Karen M Fox and Brett D. Lashua

Conclusions: Excersising our "Leisure Imagination"
Heather Mair, Noald G. Reid and Susan M. Arai