Seminar “Rethinking the free time/work time divide”
The seminar is organized by CIMMA-IMAGER (UR 3958), a research group affiliated with Université Paris-Est Créteil, France.
The (online and/or on-site) bimonthly sessions will take place from October to December 2021.
Proposals (300-word abstract + short biography) should be submitted by May 3, 2021.
Participants will be notified in June 2021.
In a seminal article entitled “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism” (1967), the historian E. P. Thompson analyzed the evolution of the concept of time in British society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He demonstrated the importance of incorporating the question of time into the study of the transformations that took place in the organization of labor during industrialization. Subsequently, scholars have questioned the ways in which temporal norms in work contexts have changed over the past two centuries. For example, historians of labor have highlighted the role of trade unions in organizing the length of work hours since the end of the nineteenth century, while sociologists of labor have been particularly interested in definitions of “work” and the issue of measuring and managing the time that our contemporary societies devote to work.
Like others, E. P. Thompson also noted that the concept of time and its evolutions are issues that do not only concern work. The time devoted to hobbies, sports, holidays, entertainment, or tourism has become inherent to the study of free time. For example, social history has documented its institutionalization, as well as the practice of leisure and vacation in British or North American societies from the nineteenth century to the present day. Following in the tracks of Robert Stebbins, who coined the concept of “serious leisure,” some sociologists have renewed the theory of leisure practices.
Building on studies of volunteer work or “gray areas” of employment on the one hand, and of workers’ leisure practices on the other, this conference proposes to combine work time and free time in the English-speaking world in order to explore their various definitions, redefinitions and the ways in which they have interacted over the centuries. This means considering the ways in which these two temporalities have changed and hybridized each other, generating tensions or new forms of balance or complementarity. How has legislation in different countries regulated free time and labor time? To what extent have new practices of work and leisure blurred the boundaries between these two temporalities? How have different perceptions of the private and professional spheres changed the way people think about and experience work and leisure time?
For this seminar, we invite researchers in the various disciplines of the humanities and economic and social sciences to consider the following topics and approaches:
- Mapping the intersections of research on free time and work time.
- Philosophical approaches to work and leisure.
- Images and representations.
- Forms of work (craftwork, servile work, volunteer work, charity work, activism, “gray areas” of employment…).
- Social conflicts, mobilization, and labor rights.
- Gender and the organization of work.
- Recreational practices in the workplace.
- Boundaries, liminality, and intersections.
- Methodological and archival particularities.
Cindy S. Aron, Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States, New York, Oxford University Press, 1999.
Peter Bailey, Leisure and Class in Victorian England: Rational Recreation and the Contest for Control, 1830- 1885, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.
Peter Bailey, “Leisure, Culture, and the Historian: Reviewing the First Generation of Leisure Historiography in Britain”, Leisure Studies 8:2, 1989, 107-127.
Jean-Yves Boulin, Tiphaine de Rocquigny and Jean Viard. L’économie du temps libre (4/4). Le travail à l’assaut des loisirs. Entendez-vous l’éco? France culture, December 20, 2018. 58’.
Marie-Christine Bureau and Patrick Dieuaide, “Institutional Change and Transformations in Labour and Employment Standards: An Analysis of ‘Grey Zones’”, Transfer: European Review of Labor and Research, 24:3, August 2018, 261-277.
Hugh Cunningham, Time, Work and Leisure: Life Changes in England since 1700, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2014.
John Krinsky and Maud Simonet, “La servitude et le volontaire: les usages politiques du travail invisible dans les parcs de la ville de New York”, Sociétés contemporaines 2012/3 (n°87), 49-74.
Catriona M. Paratt, “Little Means or Time: Working-Class Women and Leisure in Late Victorian and Edwardian England”, The International Journal of the History of Sport 15:2, August 1998, 22-53.
Robert A. Stebbins, “Serious Leisure: A Conceptual Statement”, The Pacific Sociological Review 25:2, April 1982, 251-272.
Tim Strangleman, “Representations of Labour: Visual Sociology and Work”, Sociology Compass 2:5, 2008, 1491-1505.
E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism”, Past and Present 38, December 1967, 56-97.