Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Strengthening Members' Relationships through Cultural Activities in Museums

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Strengthening Members' Relationships through Cultural Activities in Museums

Article excerpt

Introduction

Leisure in the lives of the immigrants who have settled in Canada in the past 40 years is the subject of a growing body of literature. In Canada, immigrants and immigration are important because many cities and towns have experienced labor shortages due to declining fertility rates, an increasingly aging population, and a diminishing youth population (Li, 2008). Immigration has become a key strategy for workforce renewal. Since the 1970s, multiculturalism is the philosophy that guides Canadian government policy on immigration. It supports ethnic and cultural diversity and is intended to create diverse and economically sustainable communities throughout the country (Sandercock, 2009). The children of immigrants are of particular interest in Canada because they are part of a growing cohort of young people who were born in Canada to foreign born parents of diverse ethnic backgrounds. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a longitudinal, qualitative study of the leisure experience of children of immigrants.

The children, grandchildren, and later generation ethnic minorities are known to express varying degrees of interest and commitment to the cultural tradition of their immigrant ancestors. In some cases, people overtly adapt dominant group traits and behaviors and appear to let go of traditional cultural practices. Some adjustments in behavior are indicative of the attempts made by immigrants to be included in dominant social and community groups. In this paper, the term dominant group refers to the people of British and French ancestry who, until the 1960s, were the numerical majority in Canada (Satzewich, 1993). In the early to mid-twentieth century, Canadianization strategies were initiated to assimilate immigrants into the dominant society. Canadianization, which really meant Angloconformity, required all immigrants to adopt the English language and Protestant values and whenever possible to rid themselves of accents that were non-British (Burnet & Palmer, 1988). Adopting group norms when in public provided the opportunity for many people to gain social acceptance, which was much more feasible for white ethnic minority groups than non-whites. The term minority group member is used in this paper even though the authors recognize the problematic nature of the term since the majority of the people in the world are not white. Here it refers to people who do not identify as Caucasian.

Today's immigrants to Canada are not required to assimilate, and many of them retain important aspects of their ethnic identity, such as their religious practices, traditional clothing, and food. Biculturalism, however, refers to situations in which immigrants understand and participate in two cultural traditions (Stroink & Lalonde, 2009)- their own, as well as the cultural practices of Canada. Biculturalism characterizes the experience of immigrants who arrive in Canada from countries where cultural practices are different from those of Canadians.

Leisure in their country of origin may also be different than leisure in Canada. In many cases, these differences were found to enhance leisure by providing people with options and rich experiences (Tirone & Pedlar, 2005). However, differences in leisure practices are also known to lead to conflicts. For example, youth in North American immigrant families are often challenged as they attempt to access and enjoy leisure with their North American peers while balancing the Introduction

Museums have succeeded in mobilizing millions of people. In 2009, the Louvre was the most visited museum in the world, attracting 8.5 million visitors. The British Museum in London drew almost 5.6 million, the National Gallery of Art in Washington attracted 5 million, and the National Museum of El Prado in Madrid almost 3 million visitors (www.artsjournal.com; The Art Newspaper, 2009). In addition to regular museum visits, many people are also involved in complementary educational, cultural, and leisure activities organized by museums striving to reach a broader section of the public. …

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