Work and Leisure as a Totality: Stanley Parker's Perspective

Society and Leisure – Research Essay According to Stanley Parker (1983), work and leisure should be viewed as a totality, which suggests that it is important to understand the relationship between work and leisure.

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Discuss how factors such as work hours, changing work patterns, diversification of occupations, and increased occupational mobility might influence society’s leisure. What will the future workforce look like? Why is it important for leisure professionals to understand the relationship between work and leisure and changing work patterns? Work and Leisure

Dr Stanley Parker views work and leisure as a totality, he believes them to be bound together.

In Parker (1976) he writes ‘It is easy to think of leisure as the opposite of work, or to define it as time left over after work. But the relationship between these two spheres of life goes much deeper than that. ’ Dr Parker continues to support his views by explaining that the distinctions made by some parties are not always made by the society at large, the comparison lies with other societies around the world as many differing trends and a vast array of features connect to leisure and work.

The most important trend Parker demonstrates is the ways that work influences leisure, according to his 1976 study it is not as prominent anymore. He believes that as humans evolve and reshape society and its views, a very different influence being leisure together with work becomes increasingly more evident. Central to Parker’s research, is work carried out by Robert Dubin in 1956. Dubin classified industrial working people into three different categories relating to work and leisure.

Firstly the group of ‘priority of work,’ secondly ‘priority of leisure’ and thirdly ‘equality of work and leisure. ’ He assumed that these three areas related to what he called the ‘central life interest. ’ His study found that at a ratio of three to one, that work was not the most important and underlined it as stating it as not being the ‘central life interest’ of industrial workers (Parker 1976). Dubin’s work is relevant in accordance with Parker’s study as he too agrees with Parkers views on work and leisure. The above study gave Dubin the outcome that it as the beginning of integration between work and leisure as a totality and not as separate factions. This research essay will focus on a number of factors pertinent to the relationship between work and leisure. It will also attempt to demonstrate the influence that work has on societies leisure. Parker clearly demonstrates his idea of work and leisure as a totality by ending a chapter in saying that he tends to discount the notion of a ‘society of leisure’, simply because, he sees a greater value in a ‘society with leisure. ’ (Parker 1983)

Influences on work and leisure Work hours According to Dr Stanley Parker, the major contributing factors related to the effects on leisure pertaining to involved working hours, centers around the prescribed scheduling of specific employers. The scheduling and allocation of shifts or working hours can be described in effect as both detrimental and positive. Excessive amounts of working hours can negatively affect the want and desire to participate in leisure. Another aspect that can attribute to this would be the content within the specific role of employment.

It can be argued that a physically challenging occupation will exasperate energy levels, in turn affecting an individual’s desire to enjoy pleasurable leisure as their commitment to work may require them to rest and recuperate for the following day. (Veal 1983) In both the above-mentioned ideas, fatigue is directly connected. Leisure can, as we know, be in passive forms but Dr Parker states that in manual occupations the fatigue levels are high enough to affect people’s desire not only directly after work but occasionally on the weekend as well.

Changing work patterns A prime example of changing work patterns can be associated with shift work. The irregularity of these work conditions and patterns do affect leisure participation harmfully. Most individuals rely upon routines in order to maintain a sense of normalcy. The effects of rotating shift work on these specific members of society, and their leisure activities, tend to produce less active leisure pursuits and generally conform to simple and passive leisure around the home.

The adjoining repercussions of shift work also relate to the availability of social leisure. Shift workers often find that their own social circles and friends are not able to find the relevant time to enjoy leisure together as the limited opportunities present themselves only rarely. This lack and unavailability of familiar social circles may also contribute to the worker’s low interest in enjoying leisure outside the home and therefore affects the general populations leisure aspirations in society as a whole.

Diversification of occupations The most obvious form of diversification directly involved to work, is the persistent rise of occupational areas in the leisure industry. These industries include occupational situations such as entertainment providers, sports and gambling facilities, holiday amenities, even hospitality in the nightclub or bar sense. All these employment areas and many more contain some sort of leisure element.

The working population now have a greater choice of occupation than they would have had fifty years ago, but the work related and time commitment is much greater also. The significance of this change may be regarded as small on an individual basis, but when the trend of modern day society and the youth pursuit of employment with greater leisure possibilities is taken into account, it indicates a change in attitude to work and leisure. This idea demonstrates that leisure is no longer perceived to be a luxury but more a commodity.

The diversification of employment and expansion into leisure based occupations enables individuals to maintain high levels of employment and commitment to employers as well as their leisure. Whilst not directly participating in leisure these employment opportunities give society a greater choice in career paths and permit them to work in leisurely atmospheres. (Parker 1983) Occupational mobility The mobility of occupations conjoins with diversification as the occupations involved both face the paradox of societies leisure being their own work.

These leisure based occupations enable employees to move easily between different work forces within the leisure industry. This easy movement between career paths facilitates the never-ending prospect of choice. Positively, societies public are also given the opportunity to practice or maintain a regular form of leisure at a time that suits their rotating schedules. What will the future workforce look like? According to Stanley Parker and many other studies that support his philosophies, the future workforce will be, if not already, a ‘workforce of leisure. Parker though, prefers to regard the future more specifically as a ‘workforce with leisure,’ as he believes it to be of more importance than simply work and leisure and more as the way of the future. The plethora of leisure-involved occupations already discussed only covers a mere fraction of the growth areas in which leisure has begun to take over. This is not to suggest that leisure is the direct beneficiary of a decline in work values and involvement, but an evolution in ways of thinking and need (Parker 1983).

An example of this theory in contemporary society’s terms would include the involvement of sports such as golf and tennis at executive levels. The increase of participation and inclusion at the high business end demonstrates how society has embraced leisure in the workforce. Parker (1983), simply concludes that his belief of totality in regards to work and leisure revolves around the idea that the change in outlook from societies view point indicates a larger concentration on an equality based importance of work and leisure.

No longer will we work to live, but work and enjoy leisure to live. References 1. Parker, S. (1976). The sociology of leisure. London: Allen and Unwin Ltd. 2. Veal, A, J. (1983). Using sports centres – A Review of user studies of British sports centers. London: Sports Council. 3. Parker, S. (1983). Leisure and work. London: Boston, Allen and Unwin Ltd. 4. Parker, S. (Ed). (1982). Leisure, work and family. Mexico: World Congress of Sociology.

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Work and Leisure as a Totality: Stanley Parker's Perspective. (2017, Dec 24). Retrieved from

Work and Leisure as a Totality: Stanley Parker's Perspective
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