Its Rise, Fall, and Potential Rebirth
Intellectual history of leisure and the use of that history to grapple with its potential future.
Leisure is a genealogy of the concept of leisure, from its peak in the classical age to its inversion and fall in modern liberalism. The goal of this genealogy is to analyze models of leisure and to inquire into the potential future shape of it. In that process, Jacob T. Snyder asks: what was leisure in its peak form in the classical age? In such a form, how was leisure understood to be connected to human flourishing? Then, what happened to leisure? What was the argument for work that won over the West? What must be rejected, or lost, about work if leisure is to be reanimated? In asking and answering these questions, Snyder argues that political reform, such as limiting work weeks, is insufficient to make us leisured. Leisure demands more, including a new understanding of what makes us happy and thriving creatures.
Jacob T. Snyder is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of West Alabama.
"Leisure is a thorough, accessible, and important study, charting the history of an important concept in the history of political thought. Snyder contributes to both the field of political theory and our (liberal democratic) understanding of the relationship between work and leisure. The topic is certainly timely, and his highly readable text may be appreciated by any thoughtful person."—Steven Pittz, author of Recovering the Liberal Spirit: Nietzsche, Individuality and Spiritual Freedom