Shouldn't Leisure Scholars Know Better? How the Work/Leisure Dictotomy Affects Policy and Culture for Academic Mothers

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This study was designed to understand the impact of university policy and departmental culture on academic mothers’ employment, family, and leisure experiences. Telephone interviews were conducted with 17 mothers employed as academics in the field of leisure and closely aligned disciplines to provide insight into the effects of parenting within academia, current corporate university culture, and work–life balance. Qualitative analysis, guided by post-structural feminist theory, revealed three major themes in the findings, which together suggest flawed administrative applications of the work/leisure dichotomy are negatively impacting mothers in academia. Rather than prolific researchers and proponents of leisure serving as exemplars to the academic community of success in employment, family, and leisure, this study’s findings suggest otherwise. As participants shared their struggles with unrealistic expectations, unsupportive colleagues, and conflicting workplace policies, this research instead supports a particularly critical review of leisure scholars and the employment policies of their academic departments.


Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services

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SCHOLE: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education