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A Critical Look at the Culture of Work and a Re-evaluation of 'Free' Time.

Iowa Memorial Union - University of Iowa - Iowa City, Iowa
March 8 - 10, 1996

Our mothers and fathers thought that ours would be the century when the machine and technology freed human beings - freed us to live a life beyond "necessity" and work, in which our major concern would be "the question of freedom." People who lived at the turn of the last century fully expected that future generations would be better off not just in material goods, but in the goods of life - in abundant hours and days free from jobs and economic concerns.

But we who toil in the century's last decade dare not imagine such a thing. Instead of our work continuing to decline, as it did, steadily, for a hundred and fifty years before mid-century, it has expanded. Now more of our populations work, and more of us work longer hours than our mothers and fathers. Instead of proving to be "labor saving devices," our machines create more work for more of us to do! Instead of the "problem" of leisure, we face an array of problems caused by overwork; such as families that erode because we have no time to be at home, troubled and troubling young people who share little or no time with adults, anemic communities bled dry of time, their life's blood, and institutions that focus solely on teaching people how to work rather than how to live together freely. Even though ours has become the wealthiest nation in history, we languish in a time famine with no relief in sight. What happened?

This conference will bring together leading historians, economists, educators, labor leaders, and politicians to explore the phenomenon of work's expansion, the problems overwork has caused, and possible ways to address them.

The historical rise of the culture of work and the politics of work creation will be critically investigated. Alternative historical visions of active and democratic cultures based in time outside modern work and consumerism will be remembered. The recent, unfortunate results of work's ascendancy will be explored, including; the maldistribution of work (the widening division between the overworked with good jobs and the under-worked who are unemployed or marginally employed); the time-starvation of families; and the decay of communities and institutions outside work/consumption/mass amusements in what Jürgen Habermas calls the "collapse of the discussional."

Traditional, but neglected solutions and remedies, alternative to the prevailing faiths in perpetual economic growth and politics of eternal work creation, will be investigated, including; work redistribution (or work sharing); regeneration of what Cornel West called "democratic culture" in leisure, and volunteerism. Strategies to reclaim free public spaces "outside" work/consumerism/amusements, and recover "free activities" that return culture making and transmission to the communities will be proposed.

Our Time Famine: Conference Information

Iowa Memorial Union
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa

March 8 - 10, 1996


Friday, March 8
 4:00  -  5:30 pm       Registration
 5:45  -  6:00 pm       Welcome - Benjamin Hunnicutt, Ph.D.
 6:00  -  7:00 pm       The Historical Origins of the Culture of Work and
                               the Politics of Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - Benjamin Hunnicutt, Ph.D.
 7:00  -  8:00 pm       Time, Work, and Money:  Escaping the Cycle of Work
                               and Spend - Juliet Schor, Ph.D.
 8:00  -11:00 pm        Reception

Saturday, March 9
 7:30  -  8:15 am       Continental Breakfast and Registration
 8:30  -  9:30 am       Concurrent Sessions

Topic Area:     Economics

Session 1:      The Economics of Overwork, The Failures of Job Creation,
                     and The Maldistribution of Work - John Kenneth Galbraith, Ph.D. 
                     (videotape presentation)

Session 2:      The Basics: Money and Our Economic Life -
                     Jerome Segal, Ph.D.

 9:30  -10:30 am        Concurrent Sessions

Topic Area:     Labor Issues

Session 1:       Is Shorter Hours an Option for American Labor? - Jerry Tucker

Session 2:       To be announced

10:30 -10:45 am Break

10:45 -11:45 am        Concurrent Sessions

Topic Area:     Labor Issues/Consumerism

Session 1:      Shorter Hours and the Canadian Auto Workers - Basil "Buzz" Hargrove
Session 2:      How Much is Enough? - Vicki Robin

11:45 - 1:00 pm Lunch

  1:00 - 2:00 pm        Shorter Hours: A New Paradigm Beyond Sexual Politics - Betty Friedan
  2:15 - 3:15 pm        Concurrent Sessions

Topic Areas:    Women and the Family

Session 1:      Women: The New Providers - Ellen Galinsky
Session 2:      That Delicate Balance: Production and Reproduction in
                     Modern Society - Jennifer Glass, Ph.D.

Topic Area:     Education

Session 3:      Work, Leisure, and Higher Education - Richard MacNeil, Ph.D.

 3:15 -  3:30 pm        Break
 3:30 -  4:30 pm        Second Shift - Arlie Hochschild, Ph.D.
 4:30 -  6:00 pm        Recess
 6:00 -  8:00 pm        Banquet Dinner

The Future at Issue: Overwork or The End of Work - Which Will It Be? -
Jeremy Rifkin and Stanley Aronowitz, Ph. D.

Sunday, March 10

 7:30 -  8:15 am        Continental Breakfast
 8:30 -  9:30 am        Shorter Hours and Governmental Policy - Eugene McCarthy
 9:30 -10:30 am        Concurrent Sessions

Topic Area:     Practical Solutions

Session 1:      Shorter Work Times: A Canadian Perspective  - Bruce O'Hara
Session 2:      To be announced

10:30-10:45 am         Break
10:45-12:00 pm         Practical Steps for Moving Forward  - Round Table Discussion 
                               (Barbara Brandt, Betty Friedan, and others to be announced)

12:00-12:15 pm         Closing Remarks - Benjamin Hunnicutt, Ph.D.

Conference registration: $150 (regular) and $75 (student)

To register or obtain a confence brochure call: 1-800-551-9029.

Checks can be made payable to "The University of Iowa" and can be sent to:
        Center for Conferences and Institutes
        The University of Iowa
        249 Iowa Memorial Union
        Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1317



Aronowitz is professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of 10 books, including False Promises (1973), Working Class Hero, (1984), and Science as Power (Minnesota, 1988). His current book Jobless Future (1995), written with William DiFazio, is a stunning critique of America's movement toward a knowledge based, high-tech workplace.


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Founding president of the National Organization for Women and author of the groundbreaking 1963 book, The Feminist Mystique, Friedan has been one of the most visible leaders of the women's movement for more than 30 years. An activist, author and lecturer at universities worldwide, her most recent book, The Fountain of Age, was published in 1993.


Galbraith, considered one of the twentieth century's most influential economists, is the author of more than 30 books on a variety of economic topics, including the 1958 classic The Affluent Society and the 1967 bestseller The New Industrial State. His extensive career has included service as a government economists, presidential advisor, Ambassador to India and Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Now retired, he continues to lecture and write extensively on contemporary economic issues.


Galinsky is the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Families and Work Institute. This non-profit institute is a national center for policy research on issues of the changing workforce and changing family lives. Previously, she was on the faculty of Bank Street College of Education where she helped to develop the field of work and family life and directed numerous studies of work and family life, stress and productivity. Author of 14 books and more than 75 articles, Galinsky most recently received national attention as project director and principal investigator for the study Women: The New Providers (1995).


Glass has authored and contributed to more than 15 studies on the subject of gender, family and work. An associate professor of sociology at the University of Iowa she is an expert on work and family life integration issues whose work has been cited in such national publications as the Wall Street Journal and Working Woman magazine. Glass received her Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of Wisconsin, and taught at the University of Southern California and Notre Dame before coming to the UI in 1994.


Hargrove is president of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW). Prior to his appointment, he served as a CAW liaison between staff and local unions, working with representatives from the auto, aerospace, airline, fisheries, rail and agricultural industries. He currently represents the CAW on the Federal Council of the New Democratic Party and is a vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress.


Hochschild is best known for her 1989 book, The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. A study of 50 couples, The Second Shift revealed that in addition to maintaining careers, most women do about 75 percent of the housework and 80 percent of the childcare for their families. The book received glowing reviews and has been featured in Newsweek, the New York Times Book Review, Time and the Washington Post Book World. Hochschild is a professor of sociology and has been a member of the University of California Berkeley faculty since 1971.


O'Hara is the founder of Work Well, Canada's first center to facilitate better and more balanced ways to apportion work. For more than 10 years, he has helped a wide range of organizations, unions and individual workers to create work environments more suitable to the 1990s, including job sharing, flextime, permanent part-time, phased retirement and banked overtime. In 1993, he organized the Shorter Work Time Network of Canada, a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to stimulating a national debate on working times. The network now has chapters in cities across Canada.


Hunnicutt is a nationally-recognized authority on the culture of work in the U.S. and author of the 1988 book, Work Without End: Abandoning Shorter Hours for the Right to Work, which received excellent reviews in the New York Times Book Review and the Washington Post. A professor of leisure studies at the University of Iowa, his research focuses on the ways increasingly larger portions of modern life have been taken over by work since the 1930's, and how modern beliefs about work have corrupted the once commonplace notions of lifelong learning, civic participation, active leisure and play.


MacNeil is a professor of leisure studies at the University of Iowa and an expert on using recreational activities as therapy for older adults. He has lectured across the U.S. about therapeutic recreation and has written and contributed to more than 40 scholarly articles and books on the subject. His most recent book, Aging and Leisure: Vitality in Later Life, was published in 1992. MacNeil received his Ph.D. from the UI in 1979 and has been a faculty member since that time. In 1993, he was a co-recipient of the National Therapeutic Recreation Society's Professional Research Award.


Two-time Democratic presidential candidate, congressman, senator, anti- Vietnam war activist, educator, best-selling author and poet, McCarthy has been a popular figure in American discourse since the late 1960's. Known for his own brand of politics, devoutly liberal but also an advocate of smaller government, his ideas have been criticized as much as praised, but always noticed. He now resides in Sperryville, Va. and continues to lecture across the country and write.


President of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC, Rifkin is the author of the 1995 book, The End of Work, which suggests that in an increasingly automated world, the end of mass employment and the emergence of new ways to generate income are among the most pressing issues of the next several decades. Rifkin holds a B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from Tufts University.


Robin is President of the New Road Map Foundation and co-author of Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence. Called the prophet of "consumption-downsizers" by the New York Times, she is a leader in the national trend towards sustainable lifestyles. She is a member of the President's Council on Sustainable Development's Task Force on Population and Consumption and a founding member and Trustee of Sustainable Seattle.


Schor is author of the popular 1992 book, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, a critical look at the tendency of Americans to spend increasing amounts of time working at the expense of involvement in self-improvement, volunteer service and rest. The increase in work hours, she notes, has caused a myriad of social problems, including less time for children, fewer jobs, increased stress, and skewed ideas of "happiness." Schor is a senior lecturer on economics, head tutor of women's studies at Harvard and a research associate at the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations.


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Tucker, a widely regarded labor strategist, is currently Director of the New Directions Worker Education Center and the New Directions Education Fund. He is a former UAW International Union Executive Board member and, before that, a UAW staff member. In the 1980's he co-founded the UAW New Directions Movement and served as its national organizer from 1989 until 1993. In addition, for the past several years he has been an advisor to the A.E. Staley workers in Decatur, IL, a case that has received national attention.