Compare and Contrast the Different Theories of Agency and Social Structure and How They Help Social Scientists to Understand Leisure

                      Leisure has been a difficult social world for social scientists to clearly define which has in turn made understandings of leisure debated. The most straight forward description would be that it is the ‘opposite of work.’ This however engages many other debates surrounding the value of work. A clear definition of leisure was proposed by French sociologist Joffre Dumazedier;
    “Leisure is activity- apart from the obligations of work, family and society- to which the individual turns a will, for either relaxation, diversion, or broadening his knowledge and his spontaneous social participation, the free excercis of his creative capacity”.
(as cited in chapter 4, Dumazdier, 1967, p.17)
Social scientists have been able to relate understandings of leisure by using the theory of agency and the theory of social structure, however the descriptions of leisure are variable entailing many different understandings. By discussing definitions of agency and social structure and the theories linked to them. We can then compare and contrast each concept in relation to leisure to see how they help produce understandings of leisure.

Defining Agency.
                              Agency is a concept used in social science that refers to a person’s ability to act on free will for the reasons of preference, interests, ability. The theories linked to agency are firstly ‘Rational choice theory’. Whereby an individual assesses the best outcome before exercising their choice and making a rational decision and in effect ‘maximizing their utility’. Secondly the theory of ‘individualisation’ where a choice is made because of how it makes us feel. Former UK athlete Sir Roger Bannister described his motivations for the leisure activity, running;
                                      “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it…….. The more restricted our society and work...