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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Blurring the Boundaries between Leisure and Work: Professionals as Devotees in the Mind-Sport Bridge
Author(s): Russell, Zoe
Punch, Samantha
McIntosh, Ian
Keywords: Bridge
Devotee work
Issue Date: Mar-2022
Date Deposited: 28-Apr-2022
Citation: Russell Z, Punch S & McIntosh I (2022) Blurring the Boundaries between Leisure and Work: Professionals as Devotees in the Mind-Sport Bridge. International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure, 5 (1), pp. 13-32.
Abstract: Bridge is a partnership card game that has increasingly professionalized in recent years, particularly at ‘elite’ level. ‘Elite’ bridge players participate in a unique leisure world which hitherto has been understood as a form of serious leisure. However, due to professionalization there is the possibility to work as a professional bridge player thus blurring the boundaries between leisure and work. The paper is based on the lived experiences of professional bridge players and how they understand the, often ongoing, transition from playing bridge as a hobby to playing bridge for a job. Being a professional bridge player raises issues about moral evaluations of work, a work ethic and concerns over what a ‘proper job’ is. This paper explores these dynamics in relation to Stebbins concept of ‘devotee work’ and ideas of liminality, unpacking the tensions and ambiguities involved through the perspective of 52 elite bridge players. Findings from the qualitative interviews illustrate how playing bridge professionally is often experienced as being hugely positive, because of being paid to do something one is devoted to, but ambivalences and anxieties also emerge. In addition, the paper draws on the reflections of one author who is a bridge player and blurs the boundaries between work and leisure through the academic study of bridge. The findings show the contested nature of bridge as a profession set within broader notions of work, with positive and negative perceptions of the blurring of work-leisure boundaries.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s41978-021-00099-y
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
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