THE INVENTION OF LEISURE Bewustwording van vrijetijd in de Republiek der Nederlanden
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This final thesis examines the extent to which there are already signs of awareness of Leisure in the early modern Republic and how they relate to the modern concept of Leisure as we know it today. According to most historians from the 19th and 20th century, including Foucault, Leisure only originated after the Industrial Revolution, when working time ,and therefore free time, was regulated. According to Burke, however, an awareness of the concept of Leisure has been emerging since the Middle Ages, but to find it, we must replace the word Leisure for other words that can describe the concept. We thus need to look for concepts that are contrary to work and are in the sense of filling in time when not working, of pastimes, of ways of dispelling boredom or of avoiding laziness. The awareness that Burke describes as 'the Invention of Leisure' manifests itself in various discourses that are conducted in the early modern era about leisure. By introducing leisure equivalents into the ngram viewer as keywords, I found several relevant discourses about leisure activities that may indicate Leisure's awareness as Burke identifies it. This study revealed two main definitions of Leisure in the early modern era, namely Leisure as 'useful ways to use free time' and Leisure as a 'spontaneous pastime'. If we compare these definitions of Leisure with the modern form of Leisure after the Industrial Revolution, in which most people have fixed working hours and access to fixed leisure time, Leisure in the early modern Republic is mainly reserved for the elites, who have much more free time to fulfill. For the lower classes, there is little free time available. However, there is a tendency among both clergy and humanists, upper and lower classes and, among both men and women to observe a greater awareness of leisure-time in the pursuit of more possibilities of fulfilling their free time.