English title: Europeans' work and life – out of balance? An empirical test of assumptions from the “acceleration debate”

Author(s): Nadine M. Schöneck -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2015


Advanced modernity is regarded as an era of time obsession and people in modernized societies seem to live harried lives. Leading time sociologists like Hartmut Rosa adopt a modernization–critical stance and ascribe an accelerated pace of life and frequent time scarcity to socioeconomic and technological advancement. According to these protagonists of the “acceleration debate,” time becomes increasingly precious due to severely changed conditions of work and private life. Against this background it can be assumed that many people may suffer from an unsatisfactory work–life balance. This study uses individual-level data from the fifth round of the European Social Survey (fielded in 2010/11) as well as suitable country-level data capturing key features of advanced modernity to empirically test assumptions arising from the “acceleration debate.” Results from multilevel analyses of 23 European countries provide some confirmation of these assumptions. While most macro indicators for 2010 reflecting a certain stage of development are uninfluential, a country's degree of globalization matters, and moreover growth rates of crucial macro indicators signaling paces of development exert an impact on people's work–life balance in the assumed direction: In countries with accelerations in terms of economic development, coverage of households with internet access and numbers of new cars working people show a significantly greater inclination toward an unsatisfactory work–life balance. Aside from results at the country-level individual-level determinants and group-specific differences of work–life balance under different conditions of advanced modernity are presented. This study's two main findings—(1) paces of development matter more than stages of development and (2) assumptions arising from the “acceleration debate” receive some empirical support—are thoroughly reflected on and discussed.

Volume: 0

Issue: 0

From page no: 1

To page no: 37

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0961463X15577286

Journal: Time & Society

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