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Sort order. Jul 04, Mind the Book rated it really liked it Shelves: work , sociology , society , uk , freedom , basic-income , alienation , joie-de-vivre , slow-movement , creativity. Efter en historisk tillbakablick med Marx, Marcuse m. Feb 28, Annasnova rated it really liked it.
It also felt like a revolutionary act because the most simplistic description of the contents of this book sound like a communist manifesto. What a great book! Solid research, sound arguments, accessible language - though it was a bit of a drag to get into thanks to the heavy theory. The central argument is a critique "'Normal' is a flexible category that is always ripe for reinvention"- David Fayne This was a nostalgic read because it reminded me of the sociology books I read at the university.
The central argument is a critique of the work-centred society that most of us live in. Where paid labour is valued the most, though the distribution of meaningful and well-paid jobs is unequal and a lot of necessary and meaningful work does not bring a wage; where the economic forces are driving us to spend more, effectively locking us even further into work that many find alienating; where systematic faults that cause unemployment and underemployment are framed as personal failures of individuals, and the unemployed person is stigmatised as a "slacker" who is "not doing anything".
Living in Finland, I feel that not all of the problems described in the book, which comes from the UK-centric view, apply. There is generally a healthier attitude to working hours, cities are built to encourage shared spaces, and there's a culture of spending time outdoors and enjoying activities that are truly relaxing and free of consumption.
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It's one of the only places in the world that's doing a real-life experiment with Universal Basic Income, after all. What if income would be decoupled from work, in such a way that everyone could benefit from a greater level of financial security? What if there were a range of ways to earn respect as a citizen, other than through the performance of paid work? And what if a growing abundance of free-time gave rise to a flourishing infrastructure of informal social networks and autonomously organised production?
I enjoy any book that forces us to rethink aspects of our lives we consider eternal. This is a beautifully clear and thought-provoking discussion and I would recommend anyone to read it. Jun 28, Miles rated it liked it. In , I embarked on a personal experiment in which I intentionally unplugged myself from traditional employment. I also think this book would have appealed more fully to my self than it does to my self. Inside that scope, it is an incisive and well-researched piece of cultural criticism dominated by lateth century and earlyst century Marxist theorists.
At the outset, Frayne is rightly preoccupied with identifying critical questions——ones that reveal the heart of his dispute with the modern concept of work: "What is so great about work that sees society constantly trying to create more of it? What is work for, and what else could we be doing in the future, were we no longer cornered into spending most of our time working? He is careful at several points not to discredit the positive aspects of work, but focuses on its negative effects on individuals and society as a whole.
Frayne makes good on his promise to explore the praxis of work resistance, although again the scope is quite limited. These people all appear to have resided in the United Kingdom, and Frayne offers no quantitative data to complement his qualitative analyses. Still, there is much to be gained from his summaries of the interviews and quotes from his subjects. The need to be employed was no longer accepted as a natural law or feature of human nature, but instead represented an object ripe for critical attention. With high spirits and a note of pride, people described a process of reflection on their stock notions and habits, a shedding of their roles, and a rediscovery of their lives as open to possibilities.
ISBN 13: 9781783601189
They spoke out against the prescriptive world of timetables, duties, routines and rules which threatened their ability to maintain an image of themselves as unique, deliberative and responsible people. They achieved catharsis as their sense of repression culminated in a bona fide change. The strongest of these is an increased desire for relaxation and creative independence. He also describes a variety of ways that stepping back from work can be accomplished, examining both moderate and radical approaches i.
They were reflecting on the relationship between well-being and commodity consumption, and discovering a new sense of mastery and rootedness in the world, as they developed their hitherto undiscovered capacities for self-reliance. Whilst it would be absolutely blinkered to deny that the escape to a slower pace of life is a practical impossibility for many people, who would not be able to survive economically, it is equally reckless to accept the idea that high-consumption lifestyles are the fixed norm to which everybody should aspire.
Frayne also presents an extremely lopsided interpretation of capitalism, refraining at any point from acknowledging its historical role in lifting billions out of abject poverty and improving the material well-being of millions beyond what even monarchs enjoyed just a few short centuries ago. These shortcomings render The Refusal of Work merely a good piece of nonfiction rather than a great one. No matter how hard a person tries to achieve self-actualisation through the adoption of a work role, he will always fail. Over time, standards that facilitate flourishing for a tiny minority end up being misapplied to entire workforces; I believe it is this pernicious dynamic that Frayne seeks to expose and subvert.
A range of people stand to benefit from the shift to a less work-centred society, and the desire for a more self-determined life does not belong to any single demographic. The desire to transcend a work-centred existence germinates wherever people sense a rift between their socially prescribed roles and their sense of self.
This is true whether these people are old or young, male or female, with or without families, working or not working, rich or poor. This could be even more powerful if combined with the rapidly-increasing global concern about climate change. Less work equals less consumption in most cases, so there is an overlapping interest for individuals and societies seeking to decrease their carbon footprint.
The Refusal of Work: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work …
What would such a movement look like? Indeed, perhaps one of the reasons democratic debate is currently in such a moribund state is that our busy lives leave us with so little time to study politics, collectively organise, or find out what is going on in our communities. The strength of democracy depends on people having the time to engage and participate in this process. The difference between the politics of time and the prescriptive utopias of the past is that the former does not seek to enrol people in some pre-planned utopian scheme, but to gradually free them from prescribed roles, furnishing them with the time to become politically active citizens…The hope is that an increasing amount of free-time will allow people to forge new relations of co-operation, communication and exchange, and thereby become participants in the construction of their own futures.
Dec 23, Samuel Hilton rated it it was amazing. May 22, Naiara rated it really liked it.
outer-edge-design.com/components/facebook/3246-cell-phone.php View 2 comments. Aug 12, Ellie rated it it was amazing. Succinct and accessible analysis of why work as the ordering principle in our society is deeply flawed. The author eloquently captures the taboo rejection of how we have constructed work and is somewhat inspiring in his narrative. A must read for anyone sick of the daily grind. Mar 22, Radiantflux rated it really liked it Shelves: economics , human-nature-and-culture , politics. I found this a fairly light, but interesting read questioning the underlying assumptions about the need for work as an economic, moral, and self-affirming activity within our society.
A significant part of the book is devoted to the analysis of interviews with unemployed or minimally employed people. While the interviews are interesting, they seem too limited in scope to allow much by way of deeper analysis. Overall, the book offers the reader a good starting point for framing 32nd book for Overall, the book offers the reader a good starting point for framing issues relating to work and it's importance to individuals and society.
Jun 26, Al Williams rated it it was amazing. A very interesting read and a mostly timely book. A challenge to society's dominant narrative that work is both good for us and necessary. Frayne makes the important distinction between work as an economic activity and tasks, that are performed creatively or in order to mutually support one another.
If you're disillusioned with your bullshit underpaid job, then you'll find much to ponder here. In a way, the refusal of work is a direct action of sorts but how do individuals survive outside the sy A very interesting read and a mostly timely book. In a way, the refusal of work is a direct action of sorts but how do individuals survive outside the system? Frayne has spent much time interviewing his subjects and finds that mutual support from other "idlers" is necessary as well as the inner belief necessary to take the initial step away from working full-time.
He reflects that many he interviews are constrained by their own perspectives on how society views them, as well as the force applied directly by society itself. Should be read by everyone, especially the workaholics and those that cling to their job for the status it brings them. Sep 17, Rebecca Worth rated it it was amazing. Being relatively new to discussions around the sociology of work, I found this book extremely well written. It is intelligently articulated, while remaining inclusive to a wider audience.
Frayne signposts arguments presented in an objective manner. Though I enjoyed the first four chapters, I found the theory laboursome and heavily referenced.
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This was balanced by Frayne's analysis of interviews in chapters five through seven. I most enjoyed chapter eight, in which we finally begin to see Frayne's Being relatively new to discussions around the sociology of work, I found this book extremely well written. I most enjoyed chapter eight, in which we finally begin to see Frayne's personal position, and are offered tangible, practical ways to join the conversation. Overall, really helpful as an introduction to the subject for my own research. Inspiring and passionate, was engaging for the most part though it is a shame it is somewhat biased, the research carried out here departs from an evident desire of what it wants to find Also it is constructed mainly around pieces from a bunch for previous works on the topic, which don't make this book very valuable by itself, more than as a compendium or summary, if maybe not comprehensive enough even if a bit repetitive , since leaves some questions in the air Modern capitalist society runs on paid work.
Yet for many of us, paid work is at best a frustrating experience. Some of us are burdened with too much work, while others fight the hard realities of precarious, low-paid, low-quality work amid persistent mass unemployment. So what if we rethought the whole system? Drawing on substantial empirical research into the lives of people who are actively resisting employment—either by reducing their work hours to the minimum or by giving up work altogether—Frayne delves into the reasons that people disconnect from work, the strategies they develop for coping with not working in a society that demands work, and, perhaps most interestingly, what they do with their free time.