Rational recreation and the creation of the model citizen, c. 1850–1914
in Leisure, citizenship and working-class men in Britain, 1850–1945
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This chapter investigates the impact that rational recreation had upon working-males' leisure, during a period in which there was a heightened awareness of citizenship with the dawning of a newly democratic age. The rational recreationalists' desire to create the model citizen through the reformation of working-class leisure habits stemmed from a number of factors. The origins of rational recreation lay in the instruction and improvement societies that were formed as an antidote to the emergence of working-class political agitation during the 1830s and 1840s. The Times's optimistic 1867 editorial which predicted that the working man would, with middle-class guidance, mature into a 'civilised' member of the community laid in ruins by the late 1880s. The Times reflected a growing pessimism in the British society, which was aggravated by both domestic and foreign affairs.


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