For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Free Time

by Adorno, Theodor (2001)

Key Passage

The question concerning free time, what people do with it and what opportunities could eventually evolve from it, must not be posed as an abstract generalisation. Incidentally the expression ‘free time’ or ‘spare time’ originated only recently – its precursor, the term ‘leisure’ (Muβe) denoted the privilege of an unconstrained, comfortable life-style, hence something qualitatively different and far more auspicious – and it indicates a specific difference, that of time which is neither free nor spare, which is occupied by work, and which moreover one could  designate as heteronomous. Free time is shackled to its opposite. Indeed the oppositional relation in which it stands imbues free time with certain essential characteristics. What is more, and far moreimportantly, free time depends on the totality of social conditions, which continues to hold people under its spell. Neither in their work nor in their consciousness do people dispose of genuine freedom over themselves.  (p.187)


Adorno, Leisure, Freedom, Hobbies


Adorno Citations, Leisure

Links to Reference



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