For Fun and Profit

The Transformation of Leisure into Consumption

edited by Richard Butsch
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-0-87722-740-3
Publication: Jun 90

HC: $55.50
EAN: 978-0-87722-676-5
Publication: May 90

288 pages
6 x 9

Essays explore the transformation in leisure activity and its effects on class relations in American society


During the nineteenth century, leisure industries emerged to provide recreation and entertainment to Americans of all classes. By the 1920s, commercialized leisure was big business and today most Americans’ leisure activities are based upon some purchased commodity (e.g. theater tickets, sports and stereo equipment). Entertainment has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The essays collected here explore the transformation this wrought in leisure and analyze its effects on class relations in American society.

Table of Contents

1. Leisure and Hegemony in America – Richard Butsch
2. Pessimism vs. Populism: The Problematic Politics of Popular Culture – John Clarke
3. Pacifying American Theatrical Audiences, 1820- 1900 – Bruce McConachie
4. "Adopted by All the Leading Clubs": Sporting Goods and the Shaping of Leisure, 1800-1900 – Stephen Hardy
5. Commercial Leisure and the Woman Question – Kathy Peiss
6. Big Time, Small Time, All Around the Town: The Structure and Geography of New York Vaudeville in the Early Twentieth Century – Robert W. Snyder
7. The Movie Palace Comes to America’s Cities – Douglas Gomery
8. The United States Forest Service and the Post-War Commodification of Outdoor Recreation – L. Sue Greer
9. A Historical Comparison of Children’s Use of Leisure Time – Ellen Wartella and Sharon Mazzarella
10. "How Does it Feel When You’ve Got No Food?" The Past as Present in Popular Music – George Lipsitz
11. Home Video and Corporate Plans: Capital’s Limited Power to Manipulate Leisure – Richard Butsch

About the Author(s)

Richard Butsch is Professor of Sociology at Rider College in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.


In the Series

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    Critical Perspectives on the Past, edited by Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig, is concerned with the traditional and nontraditional ways in which historical ideas are formed. In its attentiveness to issues of race, class, and gender and to the role of human agency in shaping events, the series is as critical of traditional historical method as content. Emphasizing that history is itself an interpretation of material events, the series demonstrates that the historian's choices of subject, narrative technique, and documentation are politically as well as intellectually constructed.