© 2019

Time, Freedom and the Self

The Cultural Construction of “Free” Time


  • Explores uniquely contemporary time-use practices impacted by commercialization, media use, and sociability

  • Focuses on Israel, with its well-documented combination of Western values of individualism, capitalism, and a traditional heritage of more collectivist, communal orientations

  • Sheds light on our understanding of how culture is used to direct actions and shape conceptions related to free time and the self


Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 1-8
  3. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 9-52
  4. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 53-69
  5. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 71-94
  6. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 133-159
  7. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 161-217
  8. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 219-276
  9. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 277-300
  10. Michelle Shir-Wise
    Pages 301-337
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 339-371

About this book


While abundant research has investigated time use, much less attention has been given to the cultural meanings attached to free time and what these may express with regard to conceptions of freedom and the self. In an attempt to fill this gap, Michelle Shir-Wise examines not only what people do in their free time, but also how they perceive, interpret and experience it, and in what way it relates to notions of happiness, freedom and the ideal self. Time, Freedom and the Self draws on contemporary theoretical debates concerning the relation between discourse, cultural repertoires, subjective meaning and agency, as well as literature around the sociology of leisure, to inform a unique interpretation of free time (“disciplined freedom”), developed in the light of in-depth questionnaires and interviews with middle-class, middle-aged participants in suburban Israel.


time-management freedom free time the self middle-class middle-age Israel commercialism media consumption productivity authenticity choice

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ResearcherRamat GanIsrael

About the authors

Michelle Shir-Wise (PhD, Bar-Ilan University, Israel) is an independent researcher exploring time use, the self, popular culture, freedom, class, gender, youth and ageism, particularly as they relate to middle-class suburban culture in Israel.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Time, Freedom and the Self
  • Book Subtitle The Cultural Construction of “Free” Time
  • Authors Michelle Shir-Wise
  • Series Title Leisure Studies in a Global Era
  • Series Abbreviated Title Leisure Studies in a Global Era
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-13840-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-13843-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-13841-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 371
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociology of Sport and Leisure
    Sociology of Work
    Self and Identity
    Sociology of Culture
    Cultural Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“The anthropology and sociology of time is a fast-growing subfield in its own right, asking fascinating questions about the meaning and use of time by different groups and cultures. Following in the tradition of qualitative sociology, Time, Freedom and the Self inquires about the notions of ‘freedom’ and ‘leisure’ as they are practiced by upper-middle class suburbanites. It is an important and original study showing that free time is far from free or empty. After reading this book, you will no longer think that free time is the result of the whims and creativity of actors; you will rather view it as a social time full of—and acted upon by—powerful sources.” (Eva Illouz, Directrice d’études, EHESS PARIS, France, and Professor of Sociology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)