Serious Leisure and Amateurism

I’ve started reading Amateurs, Professional and Serious Leisure by Robert A. Stebbins (1992). I am curious about what I would call the “competitive cultural tourist”, a hypothesis I have that given a globe-trekking gamification mechanism through a social media website with mobile device support, the cultural tourist will become competitive with other cultural tourists. The distinction, then, between the amateur (my competitive cultural tourist) and the professional (e.g. historians, archaeologists) is important and the blurring of the lines is worth exploring.

A good example is the amateur astronomer. They often “compete” on a level footing with the professional astronomer and have contributed greatly to knowledge, with rewards such as having bodies or phenomenon in space named after them. It isn’t a perfect parallel to what I am researching, since museum exhibits have already been curated (to a certain extent – there could be further digital curation by the “amateur”), but it could be fertile ground in the amateur versus professional discussion.

Stebbins, R., 1992. Amateurs, Professionals and Serious Leisure. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, QC, CAN.

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