• 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.

It's Still Leisure, Stupid1
It's still leisure, stupid

Back in the days when the Visionaries and Pragmatists occupied their respective positions of influence, the study of leisure appeared luxuriously straightforward. Leaving aside the business of whether leisure is best regarded as a state of mind, or a dynamic set of forms and practices, among academics, leisure was presented as a simple category: the sum total of what people do in their spare time. Since the necessity to submit to wage labour was held to be the prime restraint upon time-use in industrial civilization, Visionaries and Pragmatists tended to equate spare time with free time.

A simple, but erroneous stream of associations was set loose by this train of thought: less work equals more leisure; and more leisure ...

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