The Dialectics of Work and Leisure in Marx, Lukács, and Lefebvre

  • Paul Blackledge


Marx’s contribution to understanding capitalism as a historical form points beyond the simplistic opposition between work and leisure to explore these practices as novel forms characterised by historically specific contradictions. Extending insights from Marx and Lukács, Lefebvre in particular argues that leisure under conditions of capitalist alienation is best understood not as the free alternative to the necessity of work but as an aspect of broader alienated relations. This is not to suggest that Marx and Lefebvre dismissed leisure as mere alienation, for at their most active and critical leisure activities can point beyond leisure as a mere break from work to a broader critique of the totality of existing social relations. As Lefebvre points out, some leisure practices can thus contribute to a broader critique of alienated labour relations and point towards a more authentically human experience of the dialectic between necessity and freedom.


Marx Lefebvre Lukács Alienation Work Leisure 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Blackledge
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesLeeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK

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