Spirituality, Organization and Neoliberalism
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Spirituality, Organization and Neoliberalism

Understanding Lived Experiences

Edited by Emma Bell, Sorin Gog, Anca Simionca and Scott Taylor

This book brings together analyses from across the social sciences to develop an interdisciplinary approach to understanding spiritualities and neoliberalism. It traces the lived experience of social actors as they engage with new and alternative spiritualities in neoliberal contexts. The purpose of the book is to provide specific insights into how neo-liberalism is resisted, contested or reproduced through a transformative ethic of spiritual self-realization.
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Chapter 8: Religion after work: Christianity, morality, and serious leisure

Ibrahim Abraham


Through extended retirement, unemployment or underemployment, expanding joblessness is changing the traditional hierarchical balance between work and earned leisure. This chapter explores the implications of such changes in the context of established religious and moral systems, particularly Protestant Christianity, which has been connected to conventional capitalist ideologies of work since Max Weber’s ‘Protestant Ethic’ thesis. Focusing on the concept of ‘serious leisure’, in which an individual makes a systematic commitment to a leisure pursuit, this chapter uses the case study of church-facilitated youth-focused action sports projects in South Africa to explore the ethical challenges of a leisure-driven life. Embodying an autotelic approach to life, emphasizing commitment to one’s own actions, emotions and outcomes, serious leisure can promote a form of neoliberal self-governance. Through its autotelic ethic, serious leisure may be more capable of fulfilling the ideological values of work promoted by earlier Protestant and secular ‘bourgeois’ work ethics, such as authenticity.

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