For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Free Time

by Adorno, Theodor (2001)

Key Passage

even where the hold of the spell is relaxed, and people are at least subjectively convinced that they are acting of their own free will, this will itself is shaped by the very same forces which they are seeking to escape in their hours without work. The question which today would really do justice to the phenomenon of free time would befollowing: what becomes of free time, where productivity of labour continues to rise, under persisting conditions of unfreedom, that is, under relations of production into which people are born, and which prescribe the rules of human existence today just as they always have done? Free time has already expanded enormously in our day and age. And this expansion should increase still further, due to inventions in the fields of automation and atomic power, which have not yet been anywhere like fully exploited. If one were to try and answer the question without ideological preconceptions, one could not avoid the suspicion that ‘free time’ is tending toward its own opposite, and is becoming a parody of itself. Thus unfreedom is gradually annexing ‘free time’, and the majority of unfree people are as unaware of this process as they are of the unfreedom itself. (p.188)


Adorno, Leisure, Freedom, Hobbies


Adorno Citations, Leisure

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