Mapping Leisure and Life through the Ages in Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate Professor, Department of Social Planning, Tehran University


The leisure is a new phenomenon has emerged of the industrial revolution and socio-economic developments of the current world. How the people of a society spend their leisure times could in a large extent show the cultural characteristics and lifestyle of the community. The most important aspects of the lifestyle which emerged of urban development and modernity, is the mode of spending the leisure time. The leisure time is the product of growing urbanization and mechanization. In ancient Iran the leisure time was only for the wealthy and elite class. But gradually, it was generalized to lower and middle classes. The leisure time especially in lower and middle classes of society was spent in the home and with family. It was largely informal and to be passed to companion and dialog with relatives, friends and neighbors. But gradually, as the official definition of working time, particularly for medium to high social classes who were employed in the administrative system, working time apart from leisure time. So the leisure time has been valued and even officially protected by law in the form of paid and official leave. Separation of work and leisure time, the increasing use of vehicles that have provided the possibility of population mobility and mass media like press, radio, cinema and television in particular have caused to more importance of the leisure time. The Iranian society in transition from agriculture to the modern era, gradually are familiar with the leisure phenomenon and its features. In this paper studied situation leisure time in Iran. Since the regular statistical survey has not been conducted about the issue in Iran, the longitudinal study and comprehensive plans of different ages even different age groups, is not possible. In this article tried to demonstrate how different age groups spend the leisure time in Iran, based on available statistical data which mostly limited to the specific surveys have been conducted on a national scale in the past two decades. The age has significant effect on the level of individual participation in the leisure activities, but this effect varies depending on the individual characteristics and the type of activity. The Survey of youth attitudes and values shows that there is a significant different between the average of leisure time during the week for different age groups of young people. The young people spend their leisure, can change over the time. Some studies have shown that young people spend less time with their family although this case for girls is different. However in this field there is the significant difference between different age groups. The results of survey of measuring Iranian values and attitudes (2003) shows that the main activities in the leisure time are respectively the study, the use of media (audio, video and electronics) and the rest. The survey data also show a significant difference between the activities in different age groups. So that in the age group of 15 to 29 years the use of the media has the highest portion and the religious Affairs has the lowest portion. While in the age group of 30 to 49 years the study has the highest portion and the exercise has the lowest portion and for the age group of 50 years and older, the portion increased from the exercise to the resting. Iranian society is a young society and the leisure time is one of the major facing problems in this society. The young people experience more travel in comparison with the other age groups. Moreover, the results of researches which conducted at provincial scale show the significant difference between the travel destinations of young people and the older demographic groups. It seems that the modes of spending the leisure time will change in different generations. The change in the styles of spending the leisure time hasn’t been happened only in Iran's urban population. But also this change is seen in the rural community which now covers 40 percent of the population. The survey done on the rural community shows that changing in the social and economic base of the respondents leads to changing in the favorite leisure activities. So by the promotion of this base, the tendency to pilgrimage and excursions trips will increase. However Iranian society is a young society and the leisure time is one of the major facing problems in this society. We need to production more data within longitudinal systematic surveys .That can help that researchers presented more accurate and comprehensive analysis of situation leisure time in Iran.