• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Leisure has always been associated with freedom, choice, and flexibility. The weekend and vacations were celebrated as ‘time off’. In his compelling new book, Chris Rojek turns this shibboleth on its head to demonstrate how leisure has become a form of labor.

Modern men and women are required to be competent, relevant, and credible, not only in the work place but with their mates, children, parents, and communities. The requisite empathy for others, socially acceptable values and correct forms of self-presentation demand work. Much of this work is concentrated in non-work activity, compromising traditional connections between leisure and freedom. Ranging widely from an analysis of the inflated aspirations of the leisure society thesis to the culture of deception that permeates leisure choice, the author shows how leisure is inextricably linked to emotional labor and intelligence. It is now a school for life.

In challenging the orthodox understandings of freedom and free time, The Labour of Leisure sets out an indispensable new approach to the meaning of leisure.

The Leisure Society Thesis and its Consequences
The leisure society thesis and its consequences

Between the mid 1960s and mid 1970s, the leisure society thesis was a boon in the important matter of forcing people to take leisure seriously. After the restructuring of the global economy following the OPEC oil crisis of 1973, it became a blight. Globalization and the deregulation, delayering and out-sourcing of labour markets in the West obliged renewed thinking on leisure and work.1 The 1970s witnessed the massive casualization of labour in the West (Schor 1992). Part-time and fixed-term labour contracts became commonplace, with the result that traditional rights to occupational welfare and holiday entitlements were reformulated. In addition, globalization transferred large chunks of manufacturing industry to the emerging world. Nowadays the ...

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