Edited by Samuel Cameron
Chapter 3: Towards a Bourdieusian Economics of Leisure
Andrew B. Trigg INTRODUCTION An economic analysis of leisure has to position itself in relation to the neoclassical core of the economics paradigm, either as an extension or as a modification of its principles, or in contrast as an alternative perspective. In neoclassical economics, individuals draw on their exogenous preferences to maximize utility, making a key choice between income and leisure. Unemployment, for example, is interpreted as a voluntary choice of leisure over income from work, as is the non-participation of female workers in the labour market, or a preference for part-time work. The price mechanism is critical to such decisions, with wages per hour of employment representing the price of leisure. At its core, the neoclassical system consists of individual atoms choosing between outcomes that are feasible within a market price mechanism. Alternatives to the dominant neoclassical paradigm abound, both within economics itself and across the social sciences. They inevitably lack the coherence of the neoclassical system, with its choice-theoretic startingpoint. But an important opposing theme is the lack of choice available to people in a market-based system. In economics, symbolic of this alternative perspective has been the revival of the father of macroeconomics, John Maynard Keynes, in the wake of the global economic recession that started in 2008. People in their millions have been forced by systemic failure into involuntary unemployment, as was identified by Keynes in the 1930s. In the wider social sciences, structural approaches have focused on the constraints placed on people by society as a...
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