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A cross-cultural study of leisure among Mexicans in the state of Guerrero, Mexico and Mexican immigrants from Guerrero in the United States

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Title: A cross-cultural study of leisure among Mexicans in the state of Guerrero, Mexico and Mexican immigrants from Guerrero in the United States
Author(s): Acevedo, Juan C.
Advisor(s): Stodolska, Monika
Contributor(s): Stodolska, Monika
Department / Program: Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline: Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Mexico Leisure Cross-cultural study Immigration Meaning of Leisure Guerrero Chicago Juan C. Acevedo gender age life course
Abstract: The goal of this study was to (a) Examine the existence and the understanding of the concept of leisure among Mexicans from the state of Guerrero, Mexico and among Mexican immigrants from Guerrero, residing in Chicago, IL with specific emphasis on age, gender, and marital status; (b) Identify forces that shape the experience of leisure among Mexicans from the state of Guerrero and among Mexican immigrants from the state of Guerrero, residing in Chicago, IL; and (c) Identify changes in the understanding of the concept and the meaning of leisure, and in leisure behavior among Mexicans from Guerrero caused by immigration to the United States. In order to collect data for this study, 14 interviews with adult residents of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico and 10 interviews with adult first generation immigrants from Guerrero to Chicago, Illinois were conducted in 2008 and 2009. The findings of the study revealed that the understanding and the meaning of leisure, tiempo libre, among this population was largely similar to the Western notion of leisure, as it was considered to be a subset of time, free from obligations and compulsory activities. Leisure was also considered a state of being where the individual is free to participate in the activity, desires to participate in the activity, and strives to obtain positive outcomes from participation. The way the immigrants from Guerrero defined and understood leisure did not seem to change with immigration. The important role that family played in the lives of both people in Guerrero and Mexican immigrants in the U.S. had a major impact on their leisure activities. Leisure was planned mostly around the family and each member of the family had a pre-established role depending on his or her age and gender. Some of the activities done in the company of family members included family gatherings where the adults could talk with each other and where the children could interact during an unstructured play. In both locations family factors, economic conditions, social influences, religion, and safety were the major forces that shaped leisure behavior of the participants. The main differences between interviewees residing in Guerrero, Mexico and in Chicago, IL were related to the feeling of having more freedom and choices with regards to leisure activities and increased participation in structured leisure activities after immigration. On the other hand, long work hours, physically strenuous employment, and lack of knowledge of the available leisure options constrained leisure of Mexican immigrants in Chicago. Participants believed that although their incomes in the U.S. were higher than in Mexico, leisure activities were more expensive in the U.S. and, thus, money was a major constraint on leisure. Picnicking and family gatherings were among the most popular activities in both Mexico and the United States, yet they took a new dimension after immigration. Because many immigrants had come to the United States by themselves or with few friends or family members, leisure occasions were used to rebuild social networks. Children and adolescents also had more after school opportunities, which, in turn, allowed parents, and especially mothers, to have more free time for themselves. Women were able to participate in more individual leisure activities mainly because they believed American society was more open to gender equality. However, family roles still played a vital role in their personal lives and women were still expected to put family as their top priority.
Issue Date: 2010-01-06
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/14630
Rights Information: Copyright 2009 Juan C. Acevedo
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-01-06
Date Deposited: December 2
 

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