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Abstract

The welfare poor in America are classified into a "subterranean' strata not solely because of economic inequality but entrenched by racial ethnicity, age disadvantages, physical and psychological impairment, and broken family structures. While the misery and plight of the poor are often recognized in basic terms in which the survival necessity of food, clothing, health care, and shelter are real concerns, seemingly other less important cultural considerations are glossed over as trivia. Leisure participation continues to be neglected by researchers and because of this low priority, little or nothing is known of the leisure life style of the poor. Less still is known about how leisure or the absence of it affects the status of the poor. And of even greater interest are questions about lost autonomy, undifferentiation, and social isolation resulting from leisure patterns. Every one of these issues deserves further treatment but this research will be limited to probing the question of whether the poor have either a restrictive or multiple pattern of association in their leisure. The comparison is solely limited to testing the range of association among the poor and no comparisons are made either implicitly or explicitly on how higher status groups associate against the pattern of the poor. Before that task can be accomplished, it is necessary to determine exactly where the poor rank and the examination in some detail of that position in society may help to reveal how they associate in their leisure.

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