The Social Construction of the Moral Values of Activity


  • Kenneth Mobily University of Iowa



activity, work, play, morals, disability


The history of the moral values of activity is traced from the inception of activity as an intervention in institutions, through the construction of work and play as valued activities. Much of the latter’s moral signature is attributable to the advocacy of Joseph Lee, Luther Gulick, and others who were instrumental in portraying play as a worthy alternative to work for those who could not work. Contemporary insights into the human predilection to be active show a positive correlation with the design of the nervous system—a so-called neurogenic motive. Theoretical implications for an activity perspective on TR draw on intrinsic motivation attributes, the concept of Flow, the competing responses hypothesis, and Widmer and Ellis’ Good Life Model to illustrate the intersection between the social construction of value and a bio-psychological basis for activity. Practical implications are designed around the TR process and developing a helping relationship with the participant.Subscribe to TRJ

Author Biography

Kenneth Mobily, University of Iowa

Kenneth E. Mobily is a Professor with the Department of Health and Human Physiology, Leisure Studies Program





Regular Papers