sport or team give meaning to their lives. Further, the behavior of sport spectators may be premised on the shared meanings they have created, such as being quiet (or not) when a member of the opposing basketball team is shooting free throws (Leonard, 1998). From Anthropology Finally, we explore a bit of what an anthropological lens might theorize about leisure behavior. Anthropologists try to holistically understand the complexity of human cultures, past and present, by drawing on knowledge from the social and biological sciences, as well as the humanities and physical sciences. This leads to primarily studying a particular place, problem, or phenomenon in detail over an extensive period of time. In explaining leisure, consequently, the anthropological lens is typically a cultural one, examining social patterns and practices across cultures. One aspect of such patterns and practices is ritual. Let’s conclude our theoretical journey by consid- ering a theory of leisure behavior based on the idea of ritual: anti-structure theory.
50 Pastimes: The Context of Contemporary Leisure Anti-structure theory. Proposed by Victor Turner, the idea is there are formal rituals that govern people’s behavior both inside and outside everyday life (Turner, 1969, 1982). To Turner, leisure is the ritual that takes us outside everyday life. It does this by being antagonistic to everyday expe- riences. That is, leisure behavior can be seen as “anti,” or opposite, structure. It is easy to see the usefulness of this theory in explaining vacations and me- dia-based forms of entertainment as these leisure situations have their own distinct realities for the express purpose of being removed from everyday routine. Research has also been carried out in the name of the anti-structure theory in sports. For exam- ple, Deegan (1989) studied the University of Nebraska football experience to confirm a great abundance of ritual events, inside the stadium and out. Two concepts help to extend our understanding of leisure as anti-structure. These are liminality and communitas. Coming from Latin, meaning threshold, Turner uses the term liminality to refer to the transition from the everyday to outside the everyday. It is in this liminal phase where a purer form of play occurs because it is free of societal norms and structures. Its transitional nature creates an environment conducive to fun (Turner, 1982, p. 40). Further, while people are in the liminal stage they tend to develop an intense comradeship with one another. Social distinctions that separated them before the ritual and that will separate them again after- ward, become irrelevant. Turner called this liminally produced so- cial relationship communitas , by which he meant a loosely struc- tured community of equal individuals. In thinking about the moshing research presented in Box 3.6, we can see how both limin- ality and communitas occur.
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