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Labour of Leisure: The Culture of Free Time

by Chris Rojek SAGE Publications Ltd
Pub Date:
Pbk 216 pages
AU$82.00 NZ$83.48
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Leisure has always been associated with freedom, choice and flexibility. The week-end 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 labour.

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, Rojek shows how leisure is inextricably linked to emotional labour 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.

Positioning Leisure
The Leisure Society Thesis and Its Consequences
Roadblocks to Free Time
Visionaries and Pragmatists
What Is Wrong with Leisure Studies?
Multiple Equilibria: A Balanced Approach
The State
It's Still Leisure, Stupid

As ever Rojek's spotlight on the world of leisure is so bright that it makes the rest of leisure studies fade to grey. He has also clearly developed a new talent for conceptual concision and clarity, as well as a capacity to express complex ideas in terms that even students can follow. This book should go down well with students and their tutors alikeTony Blackshaw
Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport and Leisure, Sheffield Hallam University

We all wish to be free, and know that others keep telling us that we are; sometimes we indeed feel free. Seldom, though, do we pause and think what all that means. Like in the case of so many other experiences, we start thinking about their meanings only when something goes wrong; we run to lock the stable after the horse has bolted. Most of the time freedom remains to most of us a mystery. Chris Rojek, the most insistent, systematic and knowledgeable student of the 'condition of being free', offers us a chance of repairing that. Having read The Labour of Leisure, we may learn what being free really means, how to practice the difficult art of freedom and what stops us from practicing it as we couldZygmunt Bauman
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Leeds

Rojek provides a much needed correction in understanding what leisure is--and is not--in the 21st Century. A welcome provocation concerning modern lifeGeoffrey Godbey
Pennsylvania State University

Chris Rojek is Professor of Sociology and Culture at Brunel University. In 2003 he was awarded the Allen V. Sapora Award for outstanding achievement in the field of leisure studies.