Who Negotiates The Relationship Between Leisure and Quality Of Life?

Monday, July 14, 2014: 7:30 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Vikki MCCALL , University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom
Increasing user’s quality of life has become a central outcome for many leisure services. In the UK, policy expectations encouraging leisure services to improve user’s quality of life have been explicitly pushed since 1999. Drawing on interdisciplinary empirical research in the fields of social policy, leisure and cultural studies, this paper presents an analytical approach to analysing the relationship between leisure and quality of life. This paper draws on evidence from the cultural sector to highlight the potential impact of leisure workers on user’s outcomes and compares UK policy to the experiences of those delivering services on the ground-level. The negotiation between policy and practice is particularly interesting due to the increasing policy shift taking place towards a more collaborative style of governance. This raises the question of who is central to the process of increasing individual’s quality of life through leisure activities: users, workers or the state. In exploring this question, this paper provides new empirical evidence that leisure workers are key agents in negotiating the relationship between leisure and quality of life.  Through utilising their discretion, ground-level workers can deliver activities that impact individual’s quality of life on multiple levels.  On the other hand, workers are restrained by managerial, structural and hierarchical limitations. The paper concludes that only by exploring the relationships between users and ground-level workers can insight be gained to the relationship between leisure services and quality of life.