Research Committees


Published in ISA Bulletin number 32, year 1983
Prepared by Kurt Jonassohn ISA Executive Secretary 1974-1982


Some reports of the Committee state that during the Third World Congress of Sociology in Amsterdam (August 1956), Joffre Dumazedier suggested that a special committee be formed. The Committee (then sub-committee), was constituted in 1961 as Sub-Committee on Sociology of Leisure and Popular Culture.

Executive and members

The first president was Joffre Dumazedier (France) and the secretary since 1962 was Vito Ahtik (France). In 1961 there were 11 members of the Committee with participants from USA (3), France (2), Finland, Poland, Switzerland, UK, USSR, Yugoslavia (one from each). 

The following year there were 13 members, coming from France (3), USA (3), USSR (2), Denmark, Finland, Italy, Holland, USA/FRG (one from each).

At the VIIth World Congress of Sociology held in Varna (August 1970), a proposal was presented for the creation of an international center for research, analysis and diffusion of scientific documentation on leisure social sciences for researchers, teachers and individuals actively interested in the application of the research results - Centre International de Documentation du Loisir (CIDOL). 

In Varna, the Committee set up a four-member committee, COCIDOL, concerned with documentation on leisure, whose aim was to promote CIDOL by attracting interest in the project from as many countries as possible, by encouraging theoretical, methodological and technical studies on the relations between research and documentation. 

The nominees were: Joffre Dumazedier (France), Premysl Maydl (Czechoslovakia), Max Kaplan (USA) and Marc Laplante (Canada).

At the same time, a board was chosen for the term 1970-1974: Joffre Dumazedier (France), president and delegate to the Research Council; Marc Laplante (Canada), secretary and alternate to the Research Council.

A 1972 report disclosed that the Committee had about 50 members from 18 countries, and that the structural changes effectuated would allow the Committee to accept within six months associated members representing all human and social sciences.

An enlarged new board was elected during the World Congress of Sociology held in Toronto, August 1974: Phillip Bosserman (USA), president and delegate to the Research Council; Gilles Pronovost (Canada), secretary; members: Francis Albert (Rumania), Michel Bassand (Switzerland), V.L. Bolgov (USSR), Joffre Dumazedier (France), Blanka Filipcova (Czechoslovakia), Gyorgy Fukasz (Hungary), France Govaerts (Belgium), Maria M. Guidi (Brazil), Claire Guinchat (France), Max Kaplan (USA), Gunther Manz (GDR), Premysl Maydl (Czechoslovakia), Rolf Meyersohn (USA), Miro Mihovilovic (Yugoslavia), Anna Olszewska (Poland), Stanley Parker (UK), V.D. Patrushev (USSR), Miklavz Prosenc (FRG), Herald Swedner (Sweden), Akira Tsujimura (Japan). President Bosserman resigned in April 1976, and Max Kaplan was elected at the meeting of the Committee held in Brussels(Belgium), April 5, 1976. Anna Olszewska (Poland) and France Govaerts (Belgium) were elected vice-presidents. 

About 20 members of the Committee were present at the meeting.

A list of 6 participating institutes and centers was presented in 1976:

  • Equipe de Sociologie du Loisir et des Modelles Culturels, France (director: Joffre Dumazedier)
  • The Leisure Centre, University of Hamburg, FRG (director: Miklavz Prosenc)
  • The Leisure Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Lund, Sweden (director: Harald Swedner)
  • European Centre for Leisure and Education, Czechoslovakia (director: Premysl Madyl)
  • Section on Leisure and Culture, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland (director: Anna Olszewska)
  • Leisure Studies Program, University Studies Program, University of South Florida, USA (director: Max Kaplan).

Four sub-committees were functioning in 1976: Program, Research, Publications and Documentation.

In August 1976, 101 members from 19 countries were reported to belong to the Committee: USA (50), Canada (13), France (6), FRG (5), Belgium, UK (4 each), Japan (3), Australia, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia (2 each), Austria, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, GDR, Holland, Israel, New Zealand, Switzerland (1 each).

Another membership report of June 1977, reports 75 members from 14 countries: USA (28),
Canada (20), France (6), UK (4), Belgium, FRG, Japan (3 each), Czechoslovakia (2), Australia, Austria, Suriname, Yugoslavia, Poland (1 each).

One year later, in 1978, the Committee had 84 members from 12 countries: Canada (32), USA (31), France (5), FRG (4), Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, UK (2 each), Australia, Brazil, Yugoslavia, Poland (1 each).

A new board was elected in Uppsala (August 1978) during the IXth World Congress of Sociology: Anna Olszewska (Poland), president; Phillip Bosserman (USA) and Stanley Parker (UK), vice-presidents; Blanka Filipcova (Czechoslovakia), executive secretary; members: Gyorgy Fukasz (Hungary), France Goverts (Belgium), Claire Guinchat (France), Elery Hamilton-Smith (Australia), Thomas Kando (USA), Max Kaplan (USA), John Kelley (USA), Gunter Manz (GDR), Miro Mihovilovic (Yugoslavia), Vacilij Patrushev (USSR), Renato Requixa (Brazil), Menahem Rosner (Israel), Nicole Samuel (France), R. Schmit-Scherzer (FRG), Michael Smith (UK), Ivan Vitanyi (Hungary), Jiri Zuzanek (Canada). At the same meeting Joffre Dumazedier was nominated as Honorary Member of the Committee.

Two working groups were formed in Belgium, April 1979: "The Study of the Social Times" and "Leisure Policy and Planning, and the Relevance of Sociological Research".

Three other working groups were founded in the following year: "The Way of Life and Leisure", "Leisure, Tourism, Environment", and "Problems of Weekend".

At the Xth World Congress of Sociology in Mexico City, August 1982, a new board was elected: Joffre Dumazedier, honorary member since 1976; Anna Olszewska, president; Teus J. Kamphorst, executive secretary; Nicole Samuel, Gilles Pronovost and Jiri Zuzanek, vice-presidents; Michael Smith and Yvan Vitanyi, members at large; members: Philip Bosserman, Thomas L. Burton, Louis Octavio de Lima Camargo, Blanca Filipcova, Gyorgy Fucasz, Geoffrey Godbey, France Govaerts, Alberto Gomez Juarez, Thomas Kando, Max Kaplan, John Kelly, Christian Lalive d'Epinay, Miro A. Mihovilovic, Stanley Parker, Renato Requixa, J. C. Simhedri, R. Wilson.


The first official meeting of the group took place during the Vth World Congress of Sociology, held in Washington D.C. (September 1962). 12 papers appear on the list of submitted papers (see: TRANSACTIONS OF THE FIFTH WORLD CONGRESS OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol. IV).

At the Sixth World Congress of Sociology held in Evian (September 1966), 13 papers were presented.

During the last years of the sixties, the Committee promoted the establishment of permanent institutes or groups of research in Europe, North and South America. The result of these efforts are briefly summarized:

  • In 1968, with the aid of UNESCO, a European Center of Leisure and Education was established. The first number of the journal of the Center, SOCIETY AND LEISURE, was published with the collaboration of the Committee.
  • In 1969 the Universities of South Florida and Boston instituted the "Institute for Studies of Leisure", with the active participation of Max Kaplan, member of the Research Committee.
  • In South America, the Committee found a new basis for collaboration in the staff of the University of Quito (Ecuador). After 1966, the Centro Internacional de Estudios de Periodismo de la América Latina (CIESPAL) of the University extended its work to the study of the cultural development associated with the leisure time of the population. A secondary analysis of the results of the empirical research was planned with the collaboration of the Committee.

Other meetings:

  • Paris, October 1968
  • Montreal, January 1969
  • Cologne, March 1969: Seminar on Sociology of Leisure
  • Tampa-Boston, May 1969: Seminar on Technology, Human Values and Leisure
  • Prague, May 1969: Seminar on Society and Leisure
  • Paris, June 1969.

The program for the World Congress in Varna (September 1970) included the following sessions:
Session 1: Report on the international comparative study of leisure development in 7 countries – CIDOL project (7 participants)
Session 2: Leisure in pre-industrial societies (7 participants)
Session 3: Leisure and industrial societies (6 participants)
Session 4: Leisure and post-industrial societies (5 participants).

Prague, May 1971: Seminar on "Society and Leisure".

A CIDOL (Centre International de Documentation du Loisir) meeting of collaborators and researchers was organized in November 1971 in Paris, with the backing of the Council of Europe. Organisations from 10 different countries took part in the meeting. Following the meeting, the work has been continued in two directions:

  • Technical: completion of the first bilingual THESAURUS ON CULTURE AND LEISURE carried out by an international team of sociologists;
  • Administrative: financial support was obtained from the Universities of Hamburg and Lund. An initial network was established with 5 countries participating: France, Czechoslovakia, FRG, Sweden, and the USA.

In addition, definite contacts were made in February 1973 with the Information Retrieval System for the Sociology of Sport and Leisure (SIRLS) of the University of Waterloo (Canada) directed by Gerald Kenyon.

October 1972. Week of study organized in collaboration with the International Centre of Social Gerontology and with ECLE of Prague, dedicated to a comparative survey of the development of Leisure in 7 societies, concentrating particularly on comparative methods and data analysis.

A meeting during October 1973 in Hamburg, FRG, was a culminating point for the work done so far on comparative surveys.

May 1974. The meeting and seminar in Jablonna (Poland). This meeting had two purposes:

  1. The preparation for the World Congress in Toronto
  2. The discussion of problems pertaining to the comparative surveys of the Committee (30-45 participants).

The program of the sessions of the Committee during the World Congress in Toronto (August 1974) was as follows:

  • Session 1: Leisure and changes in space and time (11 papers)
  • Session 2: Leisure and changes in the life cycle from youth to old age - new intra- and inter-generational cultural models (10 papers)
  • Session 3: Sport and leisure in the evolution of industrial societies. Joint sessions with the Research Committee on Sociology of Sport. Part 1 (3 contributors), Part 11 (5 contributors, 4 related papers, 1 session summary)
  • Session 4: Leisure and changes in life cycle according to different social systems (11 contributors).

The Research Committee participated in the Third International Conference on Leisure and Education, in Salgotarjan (Hungary), August 1977. It was cosponsored by the Hungarian Institute for Culture and the Association for the Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge, with the specific subtheme "Mode of Life and Culture". 

Different sections were: Mode of life and general problems of culture; Mode of life and cultural communities; Mode of life and cultural institutions; Mode of life and the contents and sources of culture.

The IXth World Congress of Sociology, Uppsala (August 1978) included the following Committee program:

  • Session 1: Broad issues: leisure and social development (5 papers)
  • Session 2: National case studies: leisure and social development (5 papers)
  • Session 3: Detailed patterns and leisure research (5 papers)
  • Session 4: Tourism: a major form of leisure impact on social development (4 papers)
  • Session 5: National policy for leisure (5 papers)
  • Session 6: Personality development and social development: a leisure case (4 papers).

The number of participants: 30-75.

  Toronto (1974) Uppsala (1978)
USA 9 8
France 6 2
Canada 2 5
Poland 4 2
Great Britain 1 3
USSR 3 1
Czechoslovakia 2 1
Finland 2 0
FRG 2 0
Iran 2 0
Belgium 1 1
Brazil 1 1
Bulgaria 1 1
Hungary 1 1
Yugoslavia 1 1
Australia 0 1
India 1 0
New Zealand 1 0
Sweden 1 0
France/Belgium 1 0
France/Canada 1 0
Total number: 43 28

Activities of the Research Committee's sub-committees at the International Colloquium on Popular Culture in the XXth Century, held in Trois-Rivieres, Québec (Canada), on April 23-25, 1980 were:

  • International Seminar on "Heterogeneity of the Social Times and Specificity of the Leisure Time" (sub-committee on Study of The Social Times). 4 papers were presented and one more submitted.
  • International Seminar on "The Relevancy of Sociological Research with Respect to Leisure Policies" (sub-committee on Time Research and Leisure Policies). 4 papers were presented.

In Paris, October 1981, on the occasion of the Committee's meeting, a seminar was organized with cooperation of the Equipe de Sociologie du Loisirs CNRS, entitled: "New problems of the relation between free time vis-a-vis working time and education: change of values?" (about 40 participants).

In Brussels, April 1982, on the occasion of the 4th World Congress Van Clé, the Committee organized a session "Free time and leisure: theory and sociological research".

At the Xth World Congress of Sociology in Mexico City, the Committee organized 12 sessions: 

Session 1. Trends of development in the sociology of leisure (3 papers)
Session: 2. Problems of leisure in Latin America (4 papers)
Session 3. Methodological problems of research in the sociology of leisure (10 papers)
Session 4. Sociological theory and social practice within the field of leisure (10 papers)
Session 5. The sociology of popular culture and mass-culture (15 papers)
Session 6. Leisure and the family (4 papers)
Session 7. Leisure and education (6 papers)
Session 8. Business meeting
Session 9. Voluntary services and organizations in sport and leisure (5 papers)
Session 10. Time budgets and leisure studies (5 papers)
Session 11. Leisure and tourism (7 papers)
Session 12. Work and leisure (12 papers)
Session 5,6,7,9,10 and 12 were organized jointly with other Research Committees. The number of participants of the sessions: 10-55.

Cooperation with other organizations

For several years the Committee has cooperated with the Van Clé Foundation, Belgium. The Committee members participated in the preliminary works of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Van Clé World Congresses. At the 4th Van Clé Congress in 1982 (Brussels), the members of the Committee participated actively as the authors of papers or as chairmen of sessions.

Since 1980 the collaboration of the Committee with WLRA (World Leisure and Recreation Association – New York) has greatly increased. Many members of the Committee joined the Research Commission appointed by WLRA.


In 1962, the Committee was interested in continuing the series of BULLETINS of the International Group of Leisure Social Sciences, interrupted in 1961 (Nº X), edited by the Centre d'Etudes Sociologiques de Paris. BULLETIN Nº XI, published at the end of 1965, provided detailed information on Leisure Sociology from the 5th and 6th World Congresses of Sociology. 

There was also a bibliography of works included on this subject. We do not know when this BULLETIN ceased to be published.

The review SOCIETY AND LEISURE, edited from 1968 to 1976 by the European Centre for Leisure and Education (ECLE), Prague, was issued every 3 months with the assistance of the Committee. For example, Committee members contributed to the national bibliographic series on leisure published by ECLE: in 1972 about Great Britain (by S. Parker) and in 1973 about France and Yugoslavia. In total, 9 bibliographies were published, the latest on Holland in 1977. 

When ECLE stopped the publication of SOCIETY AND LEISURE, moving its work into adult education research, the Committee decided to continue publication of the review under its responsibility, with the help of UNESCO. 

Since then the new bilingual review LOISIR ET SOCIETE/SOCIETY AND LEISURE has been printed by the Presses de l'Université du Québec. The numbers published so far are:?

  • Vol. 1:
    Nº1 (April 1978) - The society of leisure: something real moving towards a public policy.
    Nº2 (November 1978) - Social development (Uppsala Congress papers)
  • Vol. 2:
    Nº1 (April 1979) - Trends in Canadian leisure research.
    Nº2 (November 1979) - Aging, retirement, leisure.
  • Vol. 3:
    Nº1 (April 1980) - Leisure and cultural changes.
    Nº2 (November 1980) - The state of leisure studies in the USA.
  • Vol. 4:
    Nº1 (April 1981) - Popular culture, mass culture (selection of papers presented at the international colloquium on Popular Culture, April 1980).
    Nº2 (November 1981) - Public administration of leisure studies.
  • Vol. 5:
    Nº1: Animation and professional culture.
    Nº2: Time and society.
  • Vol. 6:
    Nº1: A socio-cultural perspective of leisure.
    Nº2: Leisure, contemporary social scientific approaches.
  • Vol. 7 Nº1: Psychology of leisure (forthcoming)

Every issue contains one to three non-thematic papers and some book reviews.
Editors: Gilles Pronovost and Max d'Amours.

There was also some assistance given by the Committee to THE REVIEW OF THE CENTRE FOR THE STUDIES OF LEISURE, edited at the University of South Florida, Tampa, USA (1971).

The Newsletter of the Committee LEISURE NEWSLETTER started to be published in 1972 at the Tampa Center, edited by Max Kaplan, and issued quarterly. When Gilles Pronovost was elected secretary of the Committee, the University of Québec at Trois-Rivières (Canada) began to duplicate and distribute this official organ of the Committee.

Since 1976 the LEISURE NEWSLETTER has been deeply indebted to the financial support of the Government of Canada, Department of National Health and Welfare, Fitness and Amateur Sport Division, Recreation.

It was decided at the Xth World Congress of Sociology (Mexico, 1982) that LEISURE NEWSLETTER will be published in the future by the new executive secretary of the Committee, Teus J. Kamphorat, Department of Sociology of Leisure, Sociological Institute, University of Utrecht, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands. The latest issues are:

  • Vol. X, Nº 1, Winter 1983 and Vol. X, Nº 2, Spring 1983 (a special issue on leisure research in Hungary).


  • Ricardo Bauers, "The Sociology of Leisure Time", in: TRANSACTIONS OF THE FOURTH WORLD CONGRESS OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol. II, 1959.
  • TRANSACTIONS OF THE FOURTH WORLD CONGRESS OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol. III, Section II : "The Application of Sociological Knowledge of Leisure" (Session chairman: R. Bauer, rapporteur: M. Joffre Dumazedier). Contains 5 abstracts and the discussion summary.
  • TRANSACTIONS OF THE FIFTH WORLD CONGRESS OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol. IV. Contains 1 paper and a report on the discussion.
  • TRANSACTIONS OF THE SIXTH WORLD CONGRESS OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol. IV. Contains 2 papers presented at the Congress.
  • M.J. Dumazedier et Claire Guinchat, "La sociologie du loisir. Tendances actuelles de la recherche et bibliographie (1945-1965)", in: CURRENT SOCIOLOGY, Vol. XVI, Nº 1, 1968.
  • Phillip Bosserman and Louis Kutoher, "Leisure and the coming post-industrial society", in: Margaret S. Archer (ed.), CURRENT RESEARCH IN SOCIOLOGY, published on the occasion of the 8th World Congress of Sociology, 1974.
  • John R. Kelly, "Sociological Perspectives and Leisure Research", in: Margaret S. Archer (ed.), "Problems of Current Sociological Research", CURRENT SOCIOLOGY, Vol. XXII, Nos. 1/3 (1974).
  •  Anna Olszewska, "Information about the activities of the Research Committee on Leisure", NEWSLETTER Vol. VII, Nº3, October 1979.
  • Anna Olszewska, Gilles Pronovost, "Current Problems and Perspectives in the Sociology of Leisure", in: T. Bottomore, S. Nowak, M. Sokolowska (eds.), SOCIOLOGY. THE STATE OF THE ART, Sage, 1982.
  • Anna Olszewaka, "Information about the activities of the Research Committee on the Sociology of Leisure, 1978-1982", in: LEISURE NEWSLETTER, Vol. X, Nº 1, Utrecht 1983.
  • The Research Committee published a book with the reports of the sessions held in Varna (VIIth World Congress). The ISA Secretariat has no information on this publication.