Leisure, consumerism and active citizenship in the UK
Ravenscroft, N., (1994) Leisure, consumerism and active citizenship in the UK. Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 28/94. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp26.
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Since the first election victory of the Thatcher administration in 1979, Britain has witnessed a cultural transformation from the municipal socialism enshrined in the post-World War 2 development of the Welfare State to a form of post-industrial entrepreneurialism based largely on market rationality. This has had a profound effect on all aspects of civil life, not least the redefinition of the role of active leisure. Since the late 1950s the dominant policy for active leisure has been 'Sport For All', an assertion of a social right too important to be left to the market. The transformation has, therefore, signalled a shift from government support for active leisure as an element of citizen rights to the use of leisure to promote the government's interest in legitimating a new social order based not on rights but on means. Thus access to active living is no longer a societal goal for all, but a discretionary consumer good, the consumption of which signifies 'active' citizenship. It furthermore signifies differentiation from the growing mass of 'deviants' who are unwilling or unable to embrace this new construction of citizenship and are, therefore, increasingly denied access to active living and, hence, active citizenship.