• 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.

Roadblocks to Free Time
Roadblocks to free time

Just as individuals are positioned by history in relation to scarce resources, so too are fields of study. For most of the twentieth century the Academy regarded Leisure Studies to be a peripheral field of study. The resources allocated to students in the field were scant. Originally, those who aspired to dedicate themselves to the investigation of leisure as a vocation were typically labelled as mavericks, oddballs or more commonly, simply insignificant academics (Tomlinson 2006). They battled against the widespread condescension that leisure is insignificant and the lofty liberal principle that what takes place in leisure is a matter for private conscience providing it does not interfere with the liberty of others. The students they attracted tended to ...

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