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Title: New dimensions of time poverty : the influence of work and family constraints on discretionary time in the UK
Author: Chatzitheochari, Stella
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 3980
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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Discretionary time, that is, time not constrained by work activities that can be used at one's own discretion, is an important welfare resource, providing opportunities for social and political participation, rest, and recreation. Contrary to the optimism of earlier sociological literature that predicted a 'leisure revolution' driven by economic progress and technological automation in the workplace and the household, recent years have seen discretionary time becoming a key social policy concern, following numerous claims regarding the spread of a 'time famine' in Western societies (Hochschild 1997; Schor 1991). Providing access to the most accurate and detailed representative data on time allocation, time use surveys constitute a unique source of information for the study of discretionary time. However, the majority of existing time use analyses have focused on aggregate trends over time, and on the reconciliation of work and family responsibilities of working couples. Explicit investigations of the distribution and uses of discretionary time remain less common, despite the increasing diversity in working time and family circumstances in Western societies. This thesis rectifies this omission by examining temporal inequalities in contemporary Britain, with a focus on free time, leisure engagement, and sleep duration. Empirical analyses capitalise on the 2000 UK Time Use Survey, which is the most recent time use survey conducted in the country. Multivariate logistic regression techniques are applied to examine the influence of work and family on different temporal inequalities. A conceptually-grounded and gender-sensitive measurement of time poverty is advanced, documenting gender and class inequalities in the command of free time resources of British workers that were missed by previous measurement approaches. The research moves beyond the focus on time poverty's socio-economic correlates, and examines its associations with 'active' leisure and social participation, evidencing the validity of the proposed measurement, and showing that the value of free time varies according to whether it becomes available on a weekday or a weekend day. The thesis also provides the first examination of the association of short sleep with occupational and family circumstances, showing that gender differences in sleep are partly explained by men's stronger labour market engagement, and highlighting the influence of 'adverse' occupational circumstances on sleep patterns. Finally, an investigation of the relationship of free time with leisure participation for a sample of economically inactive people over 60 finds that the relinquishment of work roles has a gradual detrimental effect on men's leisure, and demonstrates that an increase in free time does not automatically coincide with higher participation. This thesis' contribution is both methodological and substantive: Measurement of temporal inequalities is improved, and novel categories in the study of work-life balance are introduced. Additionally, new insights concerning the influence of the temporal organization of the British labour market and of gender inequalities on non-work domains are generated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available