Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Free time, tourism and recreation: sociological reflections

Background and Aim. Reading the book by Wojciech J. Cynarski Czas wolny, turystyka i rekreacja w perspektywie socjologicznej (in English, Free time, tourism and recreation from the perspective of sociology) (2017) inspired us to analyse its content by referencing works published by adherents of a range of sociological subdisciplines, and other source materials.
Methods. The methodology of this article is based on a review of the subject literature and an analysis of texts available in the media discourse.
Results and Conclusion. Cynarski stresses the view that the universal needs of human nature include a rejection of authority and totalitarianism, and the unbridled desire to own and consume, which is a characteristic of capitalism. This forms part of the contemporary  critical theory that expands upon the Frankfurt school of thought. Millions of people worldwide take part in sporting events, religious events and pilgrimages that are important for tourism, and all of which are neo-tribal in their nature. The book uses the term “touristification” in the context of sports fans. Cynarski considers sport events to be rituals and as para-religious phenomena. He also presents his concept of postmodern woman, and compares three standard approaches to corporeality. Cynarski describes the current predominant postmodern culture as a consumption culture, where the ascetic ethic of work is replaced with the hedonistic ethic of consumption and the use of goods and services is required to achieve fulfilment in life. The radical relativism of postmodernism puts it in opposition the religious interpretations of reality. Thus, Cynarski’s decision to compare the three conflicting standards is both understandable and interesting. The book criticises the liberal postmodern school of thought concerning the human body and physical culture. Cynarski also notes and provides examples of, the effect of popular ideologies on the theories that are currently dominant in the sociology of physical culture. We may observe that the standards of the postmodern and consumption culture are being enforced. Any attempts at influencing, enforcing or dominating in the fields of science or in any other sphere of human activity should be rejected, and a space for the free exchange of opinions should always exist.