The Role of Leisure in the Reproduction of Inequalities: Puerto Rico Case Study

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Laura L ORTIZ-NEGRÓN , Centro Investigaciones Sociales, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, University of Puerto Rico, PR
Anayra O. SANTORY-JORGE , University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Rio Piedras, PR
In the contemporary context of enduring economic crisis the concepts of poverty, inequality, inequity, and exclusion claim great discursive visibility and relevance in both, the academia and the media. The global reorganization of capital has intensified capitalism's increasing trend of labor force exclusion and the possibility of a jobless future for younger generations and displaced workers. This is not the only phenomenon that threatens quality of life and social polarization in societies particularly hit by the economic crisis. Leisure practices and rituals have changed in this economic climate. After a brief analysis of the structures of inequality in Puerto Rico, relying on key socioeconomic indicators, recent government policies, enduring colonial-political arrangements, evidence of an increasing deterioration of the public arena and our participants’ testimonies on their consumer and leisure styles,  we will like to argue that (1) the nature and meanings ascribed to leisure by Puerto Ricans have an impact on the reproduction of economic and social inequalities and (2) some of the activities that are identified as leisure constitute an important part of the strategies deployed by the disadvantage to lessen and neutralize the personal effects of social and economic inequality. Our conclussions  will be supported by state of the art quantitative and qualitative research conducted by the Grupo de Estudios del Trabajo (GET) from the University of Puerto Rico during 2013. We will discuss our preliminary findings (a) on time allocation for leisure, (b) the most common activities taken as such and (c) the meanings ascribed to them.