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Synopsis

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.

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.

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