Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Sociology, MA

Committee Chair

Carini, Robert

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Christopher, Karen

Committee Member

Christopher, Karen

Committee Member

Austin, Mark

Author's Keywords

esports; leisure; recreation; electronic sports; leisure-based; sociology of leisure


This study analyzed the perspectives of leisure-based esports participants from a Facebook group dedicated to a popular fighting game as esports. This study used a grounded theoretical approach, and several orienting theories/concepts (Serious Leisure, Recreation Specialization, social worlds, and the performance ethic) were used to study socialization into – and through – leisure-based esports participation. Based on ten interviews conducted from September through October 2020, this study found that if individuals were introduced to esports from the performance ethic, they tended to be socialized into social themes associated with the activity and vice versa. Through esports, participants were taught thoughts, actions, and feelings applicable to, both the social world(s) of esports and their outside lives. Participants displayed the hallmarks of serious leisure, as well as stages of increased specialization in esports. This study suggests opportunities for future studies to explore leisure-based esports, meanings of participation for participants, and linkages to professional esports.