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By Robert A. Stebbins (auth.)

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Extra resources for Careers in Serious Leisure: From Dabbler to Devotee in Search of Fulfillment

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Thus the boundaries separating these stages are imprecise, for Starting a Fulfillment Career 41 as the condition of continuity suggests, the participant passes largely imperceptibly from one to the next. The beginning lasts as long as is necessary for interest in the activity to take root. Development begins when the interest has taken root and its pursuit becomes more or less routine and systematic. Serious leisure participants advance to the establishment stage once they have moved beyond the requirement of having to learn the basics of their activity.

Conclusions My aim in this chapter has been to paint a broad portrait of today’s leisure activities and, in this way, move well beyond their image in the popular mind as being wholly casual. In discussing the fulfillment careers, it is critical to know which kinds of leisure (and work) lend themselves to this kind of passage through life and which do not. Still, the leisure domain is complex, for – as noted earlier – casual and project-based leisure do sometimes figure in the initial steps of a fulfillment career in a serious pursuit.

Dabbling So far as the study of leisure is concerned, ‘dabbler’ first appeared as a scientific concept in 1979 (Stebbins, 1979, pp. 20, 30). Then, as now, dabbling has been conceived of as a kind of play, which starting with my conceptualization, was classified as one type of casual leisure (Stebbins, 1982; 1997). The amateur–professional–public system of relationships, introduced in my 1979 book, placed the dabbler as part of the public of the other two, as someone who is from time to time amused while trying to emulate performance of a given art, sport, 28 Starting a Fulfillment Career 29 or entertainment activity.

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