Labor, Leisure, and Well-Being from a Historical and Empirical Perspective

Friday, 20 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Jiri ZUZANEK, University of Waterloo, Canada
Alexander GRAHAM, University of Waterloo, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, Canada
Relationships between individual happiness, societal well-being and the use of time, labour, and leisure, have attracted the attention of philosophers and writers since the times of Antiquity. In the first part of the paper, relationships between the role assigned to work and leisure, and subjective as well as societal well-being will be examined from a historical perspective. The views of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Montaigne, Pascal, Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Weber and selected authors of the 20th century will be commented upon. In the second part of the paper, time-use data from the 1986 to 2010 Canadian General Social Surveys and the Experience sampling surveys (ESM), conducted between 1985 and 2003 by the Research Group on Leisure and Cultural Development at the University of Waterloo, will be used to empirically test propositions about the relationships between work, leisure, and well-being advanced by the authors, commented upon in the historical part of the paper. Correlations of time allocated to paid work and leisure with subjective well-being and importance attributed to performed activities will be examined in an attempt to demonstrate that the relationships between labour, leisure and well-being are not “unilineal” and the well-being borderline runs not between labor and leisure, but within them. When analyzing relationships between time-use and its experiential connotations, the type of work, subgroups of leisure activities, age, gender, occupational status, and education will be used as control variables. Since the ESM surveys contains data for the freedom of choice in selecting performed activities and the amount of personal control over the situation, these variables will also be controlled for.