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Nature of Work and Leisure

Nicola Marshall - St Patrick's College Sutherland

Outcomes
Work and the work ethic
Concept of leisure
Unpaid work
The interrelationship between work and leisure
The social and cultural importance of leisure
Relationship between education, work and leisure

Outcomes:

A student:

H2 analyses relationships within and between social and cultural groups

H3 accounts for cultural diversity

H5 evaluates the influence of power, authority, gender and technology on decision making and participation in society

H7 applies appropriate language and concepts associated with society and culture

Work and the work ethic

Work plays a major role in people’s lives. When you think of ‘work’ there are several definitions depending upon your own experiences and the society in which you live. In Western societies, paid employment is considered to be the most important type of work. Work is socially defined and needs to be understood in particular contexts. Work provides an individual with income, self-identity and status.

Questions and activities:

  1. Define work

  2. Research how industrialisation has changed people’s ways of thinking about work and non-work activities.

  3. Define the following concepts linked to industrialisation and capitalism:
    • capitalism,
    • capital,
    • private ownership of the means of production,
    • the division of labour,
    • alienation,
    • values and class.

  4. Research the various theories by Marx and Durkheim relating to work
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Concept of leisure

Leisure is also an important aspect of people’s lives. Leisure activities are those associated with the beach, outdoor living and sport and form an important part of an Australian identity.

Leisure can be defined, as time not spent working or meeting the necessaries of life. It is also linked to quality of life issues. There is a strong relationship between the type of work an individual does and the way they spend their leisure time.

Leisure has become a commodity to be purchased and this results in the exclusion of some groups in society. Market forces exclude the unemployed, the poor and the elderly from participation.

In early societies and even in industrial societies leisure was important.

Leisure can be divided in active and passive forms.

Questions:

  1. Research and place in table form leisure activities undertaken in ancient and medieval times:

      Ancient Egypt Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Middle ages to the 19th Century
    Group participation

           
    Passive activity

           
    Active activity

           

  2. What aspects of continuity and change are evident?
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Unpaid work

Many groups of people are involved in unpaid work. A householder (usually female) is involved in household activities related to raising children, cooking and cleaning. Household work is often marginalised. Two groups are mainly involved in unpaid work: adolescents and women. These activities are economically productive but no money is exchanged.

Questions:

  1. Make a list of work that is undertaken by the two groups listed above.

The interrelationship between work and leisure

The relationship between work and leisure and work is dependent upon quality of life issues and varies with each individual depending upon their choice of work. For some groups of people, leisure is an extension of their work activities. Leisure activities are related to job satisfaction and involvement in work. Work also provides the financial means with which to participate in leisure.

Questions:

  1. Research and find out the types of leisure activities the following people are likely to engage in: doctor, teacher, bricklayer, a coal miner, a long distance lorry driver, housewife, unemployed person, an adolescent, a retiree and a person in an aged care facility.
  2. What are the key factors that influence their choice of leisure activity?
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The social and cultural importance of leisure

Leisure time has changed due to the increasing secularisation of society. Key factors include: declining control of the church, the multicultural dimension of Australian society, increased geographical mobility, changing work patterns and the importance of the weekend. Individuals participate in leisure activities for the following reasons:

Relationship between education, work and leisure

Leisure activities engaged in by individuals are dependent on the work undertaken and level of education. Professional sports people engage in leisure activities and also receive monetary payments. For some people the skills they have also extend into a means of earning a living. Education institutions provide individuals with the necessary skills and the means to participate in meaningful employment. This in turn also influences the types of leisure activities undertaken and often provides status, control and a degree of choice about participation in leisure activities. The media is increasingly influencing leisure activities.

Questions:

  1. Leisure can be either active or passive. How can an amateur sports person gain monetary benefits from participating in a leisure activity?
  2. How does the level of education an individual attains influence their choice of leisure activity?
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