Leisure Conceptualizations in China and Canada

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:40
Oral Presentation
Jingjing GUI, University of Alberta, Canada
Gordon WALKER, University of Alberta, Canada
Howard HARSHAW, University of Alberta, Canada
Little is known about leisure in China, or how leisure experiences are similar and different between China and the West (Ito et al., 2014). The purpose of this study is to understand meanings of leisure and a leisure-like term in China—xiuxian—from lay people’s perspectives. In order not to impose Western perspectives (Iwasaki et al., 2007), we modified Ito and Walker’s (2014) Leisure Ten Statements Test such that participants provided 10 answers to each of the following questions: “What is leisure/xiuxian for you?” and “What is not leisure/xiuxian for you?” A convenience sample of 162 Euro-Canadian undergraduate students and 188 Mainland Chinese undergraduate students were surveyed. We coded 3,163 statements from Euro-Canadians and 3,550 statements from Mainland Chinese in total, both inductively and deductively (Neuendorf, 2017). A preliminary coding scheme, applicable to xiuxian, leisure, and their antitheses, consists of 23 themes. Ratios of each theme were calculated according to the frequency of themes as well as the order of statements. Preliminary results indicate that Mainland Chinese conceptualize xiuxian mainly as mass media (17.5%), emotion (8.7%), outdoor and traveling (8.7%), relatedness (8.4%), and sport and fitness activities (7.2%), whereas Euro-Canadians associate leisure with emotion (20.8%), mass media (12.0%), sport and fitness activities (11.9%), relatedness (10.8%), and outdoor and traveling (6.6%). In terms of leisure’s/xiuxian’s opposites, most frequent responses among Mainland Chinese were study and school (34.4%), time constraints (9.4%), emotion (8.2%), thwarted relatedness (7.9%), and thwarted autonomy (5.6%), whereas most frequent responses among Euro-Canadians were study and school (29.6%), emotion (12.7%), household work (11.0%), work (10.2%), and time constraints (6.7%). Our results suggest that there are more cultural similarities than differences regarding themes of leisure in China and Canada; however, the prevalence of the themes is slightly different between the two cultures. The potential for a universal leisure definition is discussed.