Time, Leisure and Well-Being: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Time, Leisure and Well-Being

1st Edition

By Jiri Zuzanek


360 pages

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Hardback: 9781138666900
pub: 2020-07-17
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The significance of work and leisure as elements of our social fabric have puzzled philosophers and social scientists for generations. This ambitious new study considers historical views of work and leisure alongside contemporary survey evidence about time-use and well-being.

Combining sophisticated theoretical analysis with empirical research, the book presents a contrarian argument that defines leisure as a serious and stimulating challenge rather than an unqualified benefit or good.

This is vital reading for anyone with an interest in the concept of time in the social sciences, work-life balance, organisational studies, or the history, philosophy or sociology of work and leisure.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Leisure, work and well-being: Through a historical lens

1. Leisure that never existed before: A historical perspective

2. Was Plato a friend or a foe of leisure?

3 Aristotle: Philosopher of leisure and happiness

4. Leisure in Ancient Rome: Otium and Panem et Circenses

5. Seneca: Philosopher of tranquillity and sadness

6. St. Augustine: Leisure and happiness in the Earthly City and the City of God

7. Thomas Aquinas: Vita activa or vita contemplativa?

8. From the Vale of tears to the Renaissance

9. Work and leisure in Thomas More’s Utopia

10. Montaigne’s Essays and Pascal’s Pensées: Of diversion and happiness

11. Enlightenment’s vision of work, leisure and the arts

12. Adam Smith: Capitalism with a human face?

13. The 19th century…Was there ever a Golden Age?

14. Alexis de Tocqueville: Why are Americans restless amidst prosperity?

15. Karl Marx: Between the ‘realm of freedom’ and ‘material necessity’

16. Emile Durkheim: Of labour, leisure, and anomie

17. Max Weber: Of work ethic, leisure, and disenchantment

18. Thorstein Veblen: From the ethics of work to conspicuous consumption

19. The 20th century: farewell to the "belle époque"

20. Johan Huizinga: Sub specie ludi

21. Pitirim Sorokin: At the crossroad of Ideational and Sensate cultures

22. Joseph Pieper: Apology for vita contemplativa

23. Hannah Arendt: Of ‘human condition

24. From the Middletown and Middletown in Transition to The Lonely Crowd

25. Leisure research yesterday and today: Quo Vadis?

Part II: Leisure, work and well-being: Changing the diopter

26. What happened to the society of leisure? Two scenarios

27. Work-leisure relationship: The ‘long arm of work’?

28. Leisure and social prestige: Keeping up with the Joneses?

29. The pros and cons of the ‘democratization of culture’

30. Of happiness, leisure and riches


About the Author

Jiri Zuzanek is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and formerly held appointments in the University of Lund, Sweden, Queen’s University, New York, and the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and was Research Director of UNESCO European Centre for Leisure and Education, Prague. He has researched and written extensively on the sociology of leisure and popular culture and time-use, time pressure, stress and health.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Leisure Studies

The modern world is one that holds an intense fascination with the activities we place under the heading ‘leisure’. Rather than simply being the opposite of ‘work’, ‘leisure’ today can be seen as a form of social and cultural life in which ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ intersect and mutually inform one another.

This series is a forum for agenda-setting research that examines our contemporary world of leisure. It places a strong emphasis not only on mapping current developments in individual and collective leisure activities, but also on challenging our understanding of these from different perspectives. Providing detailed empirical and theoretical accounts, this series explores the critical issues that underpin people’s leisure lives at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

While this series is devoted to leisure, many of its books touch on other subject fields, contributing to interdisciplinary studies and appealing to readers from across the social sciences and the humanities.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General