Work & Leisure

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Society and Leisure – Research Essay
According to Stanley Parker (1983), work and leisure should be viewed as a totality, which suggests that it is important to understand the relationship between work and leisure. Discuss how factors such as work hours, changing work patterns, diversification of occupations, and increased occupational mobility might influence society’s leisure. What will the future workforce look like? Why is it important for leisure professionals to understand the relationship between work and leisure and changing work patterns?

Work and Leisure

Dr Stanley Parker views work and leisure as a totality, he believes them to be bound together. In Parker (1976) he writes ‘It is easy to think of leisure as the opposite of work, or to define it as time left over after work. But the relationship between these two spheres of life goes much deeper than that.’ Dr Parker continues to support his views by explaining that the distinctions made by some parties are not always made by the society at large, the comparison lies with other societies around the world as many differing trends and a vast array of features connect to leisure and work. The most important trend Parker demonstrates is the ways that work influences leisure, according to his 1976 study it is not as prominent anymore. He believes that as humans evolve and reshape society and its views, a very different influence being leisure together with work becomes increasingly more evident.

Central to Parker’s research, is work carried out by Robert Dubin in 1956. Dubin classified industrial working people into three different categories relating to work and leisure. Firstly the group of ‘priority of work,’ secondly ‘priority of leisure’ and thirdly ‘equality of work and leisure.’ He assumed that these three areas related to what he called the ‘central life interest.’ His study found that at a ratio of three to one, that work was not the most important and underlined it as stating it as not being the ‘central life interest’ of industrial workers (Parker 1976). Dubin’s work is relevant in accordance with Parker’s study as he too agrees with Parkers views on work and leisure. The above study gave Dubin the outcome that it was the beginning of integration between work and leisure as a totality and not as separate factions.

This research essay will focus on a number of factors pertinent to the relationship between work and leisure. It will also attempt to demonstrate the influence that work has on societies leisure. Parker clearly demonstrates his idea of work and leisure as a totality by ending a chapter in saying that he tends to discount the notion of a ‘society of leisure’, simply because, he sees a greater value in a ‘society with leisure.’ (Parker 1983)

Influences on work and leisure

Work hours

According to Dr Stanley Parker, the major contributing factors related to the effects on leisure pertaining to involved working hours, centers around the prescribed scheduling of specific employers. The scheduling and allocation of shifts or working hours can be described in effect as both detrimental and positive. Excessive amounts of working hours can negatively affect the want and desire to participate in leisure.

Another aspect that can attribute to this would be the content within the specific role of employment. It can be argued that a physically challenging occupation will exasperate energy levels, in turn affecting an individual’s desire to enjoy pleasurable leisure as their commitment to work may require them to rest and recuperate for the following day. (Veal 1983)

In both the above-mentioned ideas, fatigue is directly connected. Leisure can, as we know, be in passive forms but Dr Parker states that in manual occupations the fatigue levels are high enough to affect people’s desire not only directly after work but occasionally on the weekend as well.

Changing work patterns

A prime example of changing work patterns...
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