• 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.

What is Wrong with Leisure Studies?
What is wrong with leisure studies?

Fred Coalter (1999) makes a useful distinction between Leisure Studies, which is the tradition of investigating leisure that has emerged from the UK, and Leisure Sciences, which is the corresponding US tradition. Leisure Studies is not ruled by a scientific paradigm but rather makes a virtue of a multi-paradigmatic approach to investigation. Data are not treated as unqualified, but as social in origin. This translates into a stronger interest in how power influences leisure participation and experience. The external conduct of individuals in free time is treated not simply as a matter of personal choice but also as the manifestation of how they are positioned in relation to class, gender, race, religion and status. ...

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