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Working at PlayA History of Vacations in the United States$
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Cindy S. Aron

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142341.001.0001

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(p.258) Epilogue
Working at Play

Cindy S. Aron

Oxford University Press

While technology has made it too easy to carry our work with us, it does not entirely explain why work intrudes into leisure. We could, after all, choose to leave our cell phones and laptops behind. That many do not speaks of the variety of ways in which leisure and labor remain connected. For some people, the demands of the job require that they make themselves available even while on vacation. While work that spills over into leisure was not a problem that our forbears faced, contemporary vacation habits in the United States nevertheless reveal the legacy of the 19th century—particularly its discomfort with and suspicion of leisure. Consider, for example, the relatively limited amount of time that Americans spend vacationing. Up until about ten years ago most companies allowed workers two weeks of paid vacation a year. Recently, vacation policies have liberalized somewhat. The tension between work and play with which American culture struggled in the 19th century and early 20th century has taken on some new guises, but flourishes still.

Keywords:   United States, vacationing, 19th century, leisure, work, paid vacation

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