Voluntary action and leisure: an historical perspective 1830-1939
Snape, Robert (2015)


Since the early 19th century, instrumental voluntary intervention in leisure has been a prominent aspect of social reform. Despite this, leisure remains relatively neglected in the historiography of voluntary action. This article reviews the changing social meanings of leisure and voluntary
action between 1830 and 1939 and argues that leisure has been crucial to the development of the voluntary movement. While much intervention was repressive, leisure was also understood as a social good that could be promoted through voluntary action. After the First World War, leisure was seen
by the National Council of Social Service to be a prerequisite of a progressive society. It is argued that the historical relationships between voluntary action and leisure have the capacity to inform current policy in terms of state–voluntary partnership and ideas of the common good.

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