• 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.

Visionaries and Pragmatists
Visionaries and pragmatists

To maintain that the roots of the academic study of leisure are somewhat dense and tangled is an understatement. The modern question of leisure did not simply spring from the mouths of industrial nineteenth-century workers craving more freedom, or from utopian visionaries bent upon dreaming of a better world. It was posed practically by doctors of medicine troubled by the social and physical effects of urban over-crowding; it harried judges, the police and social workers who struggled with solutions to urban crime and the socialization of model citizens; it worried clergy who viewed secular forms of leisure as threatening the religious community and the work ethic; it vexed educators who struggled to construct a relevant curriculum for what we now ...

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