Essays on Without Work, There Can Be No Leisure Literature review

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The paper "Without Work, There Can Be No Leisure " is an outstanding example of management literature review.   ‘ All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ according to an old English proverb. In a Business Day (2014) article, Obinna Emelike observes that there is a need to step-up one’ s work-leisure balance because “ life work without leisure is life without a balance” (p. 1). Work and leisure appear to be opposites of each other while actually they are complementary and essential for one to lead a rich and wholesome life.

However, with the globalization of economies, transformed business ethics and paradigms, the concept of leisure has changed as much as work itself. This essay shall discuss the various issues that revolve around work-leisure dichotomy and trace the origins of work-leisure dialogue from pre-historic times to the current day. In the process, the Protestant work-ethic its influence on the western work-culture, combined with the impacts of the industrial revolution, shall also be explained. The essay shall argue that, while in prehistoric periods, there was no separate time for work and leisure, in the current capitalist dominated world of economics, leisure has largely become a commodified product.

It lures people into consuming it and makes people work harder and longer, to sponsor their continued consumption of leisure products. In the end, neither is leisure enjoyed as leisure in the true sense nor does it benefit people as much as it should; therefore it may be more apt to say, “ there is more work, with little leisure” . Every individual has to find his/her own work-leisure balance in order to avoid the above and lead a fulfilled life. The word ‘ leisure’ comes from the Latin ‘ leisir’ which is the ‘ opportunity to do something’ and also ‘ time at one’ s disposal’ (Harper 2014).

Human beings have come a long way from the nomadic existence of their prehistoric past. They have transformed their living conditions into more conducive and comfortable environments through constant work and innovations, to reduce the burden of labour and enjoy leisure. In order to effectively understand the statement ‘ without work, there can be no leisure’ , one has to understand the evolution and definitions of leisure and work. Work in the form of hunting and gathering food, cover for bodies and shelter was essential to existence for pre-historic human beings.

Since threats to life ever-present in the form of predators, enemies, natural calamities and sometimes sheer starvation, work – though unorganized and non-commercial, occupied much of their time. Gender roles did not increase or decrease the amount of labour but did divide labour for the males and females of the species. Everyone had a role to play including children and domesticated animals, in the survival of the society as can be understood from anthropological research of hunter-gatherer tribes like the Waorani (Nomads of the Rainforest, 1984).

Leisure was enjoyed whenever they were together, even when they were involved in life-sustaining jobs like de-skinning hunted animals or preparing food of the members or teaching the children the skills of hunting and nuances of animal calls. For example, in the video showing the life of the Waorani tribes, children girls were encouraged to learn to make complicated patterns to weave hammocks, while boys are seen playing with spears imitating hunting techniques of elders (Nomads of the Rainforest, 1984).

Similarly, the native inhabitants of Australia, the Australian aborigines too had a developed concept of leisure and recreation, though it often overlapped with their work for survival. These natives “ only needed to spend about 4-5 hours per day working to ensure their survival. With such a large amount of leisure time available, they developed a rich and complex ritual life – language, customs, spirituality and the law – the heart of which was a connection to the land” (Aboriginal Heritage, 2014). In prehistoric times, therefore, the statement that ‘ without work, there is no leisure’ is simply not applicable.

Leisure and work overlapped each other even though activities of recreation evidently pointed to some free, disposable time, which emphasized kinship and cooperative activities.


Aboriginal Heritage 2014, Available from ‹›

Emelike, Obinna 2014, Taking Leisure Seriously in Business Day 19 October, 2014. Available from ‹›

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Harper, Douglas 2014, Leisure in Online Etymology Dictionary. Available from


Juniu, Susana 2000, Downshifting: Regaining the Essence of Leisure in Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 32, (1), Pp. 69-73.

Kaplan, Max 1975, Leisure: Theory and Practice. New York, John Wiley, p. 26.

Nomads of the Rainforest 1984, PBS Nova. Available from ‹›

Omay, Umut and Gur, Gultuvin Esma 2011, The Leisure Time Illusion: A Theoretical Analysis for the Reciprocal Connection Between Work and Leisure Time. Online article Available from ‹›

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Weber, M 1930 (1976), The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London:

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