A Life of Weisure

momcellphoneInteresting new book out called Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety. The writer, Dalton Conley, is a sociologist. He explores the ubiquitous complaint "I'm overextended!" as we are all challenged by the need to be a worker, boss, parent, spouse, friend, and client, and all at the same time. Publisher's Weekly says, "Conley examines how technology has altered how Americans earn and spend money, playing out the behaviors characteristic of late capitalism, or simply an evolving economic system that, by attaching a price to virtually everything from child rearing to dating, has helped devalue people, the work they do and the material goods they desire." He sent an e-mail from his BlackBerry to the web page on Amazon that sells his book, while he was at his daughter's soccer game. These are some basic ideas that he captures (and names): "The economic red shift (anxiety caused by rising inequality at the top), the price culture (the spread of markets into every nook and cranny of daily life), convestment (investment + consumption), weisure (work + leisure), the portable workshop (what I am writing this on), intravidualism (an ethic of fragmented selves replacing the modern ethic of individualism), and, of course, the Elsewhere Society (the interpenetration of spheres of life that were once bounded fropm each other). All these terms were attempts 2 describe the gradual--yet fundamental--ways that life has changed..."

Sound familiar? What does your weisure look like?

In The NewsCynthia Riggs