Paid work is absolutely central to the culture and politics of capitalist societies, yet today’s work-centred world is becoming increasingly hostile to the human need for autonomy, spontaneity and community. The grim reality of a society in which some are overworked, whilst others are condemned to intermittent work and unemployment, is progressively more difficult to tolerate. In this thought-provoking book, David Frayne questions the central place of work in mainstream political visions of the future, laying bare the ways in which economic demands colonise our lives and priorities. Drawing on his original research into the lives of people who are actively resisting nine-to-five employment, Frayne asks what motivates these people to disconnect from work, whether or not their resistance is futile, and whether they might have the capacity to inspire an alternative form of development, based on a reduction and social redistribution of work. A crucial dissection of the work-centred nature of modern society and emerging resistance to it, The Refusal of Work is a bold call for a more humane and sustainable vision of social progress.
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The Refusal of Work argues that the time has come to challenge the political and cultural centrality of paid work, taking its inspiration from a range of people who have already dared to live without jobs.
‘This is the most engaging and comprehensive book I’ve ever read about how work dominates our lives. It is insightful and inspiring and should be read by everyone who goes to work every day, if they can find the time.’ Sharon Beder, author of Selling the Work Ethic ‘A humane reassessment of the ethics of work which will appeal to anyone who has wondered whether the job they are fighting so hard to get, or to hold on to, really is worth the struggle. At its heart lies the provocative and sometimes poignant accounts of those individuals who may be showing the way towards an engagement with work which is better for all of us.’ Ralph Fevre, author of The Demoralization of Western Culture and Trouble at Work
David Frayne is a sociology teacher and social researcher, based at Cardiff University. His research interests are wide-ranging, but his main areas are social activism, consumer culture, the sociology of happiness, and radical perspectives on work. David is the author of several articles and has also written a chapter on critiques of work for the SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment. Twitter: @theworkdogma