Leisure corrupted: An artist’s portrait of leisure in a changing society

Sevil Sönmez, Kim Shinew, Leane Marchese, Chris Veldkamp, G. W. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theoretical arguments that leisure is the basis of any culture are available. Yet, scarcity in the literature of serious consideration of leisure in non-Western societies demonstrates that the topic has been neglected. One possible explanation for the failure to achieve progress in cultural comparisons of leisure is the lack of data. At least three approaches permit this type of comparison. This paper focuses on a literary approach by investigating how East Africa’s most prominent creative writer, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, treats leisure in his most important English language novels. This analysis centers on two of his novels, A Grain of Wheat and Petals of Blood. The two novels are complex, intricate stories drawing heavily on Western philosophy and literature as well as African folklore. Although Ngugi suggests that leisure is the foundation of civilization, the fibre that makes the cloth of society, he portrays leisure distinctively in social terms likely to surprise those familiar with Western traditions of leisure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-276
Number of pages11
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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