1st Edition

Time, Leisure and Well-Being

ISBN 9781138666900
Published August 3, 2020 by Routledge
340 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

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


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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. He was also 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. He is author of: Social Research and Cultural Policy (1979); Work and Leisure in the Soviet Union (1980); World Leisure Participation (co-editor, 1996); The Effects of Time Use and Time Pressure on Child-Parent Relationships (2000); and Free Time and Leisure Participation: International Perspectives (co-editor, 2005).