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Leisure for All: Formulating Right to Leisure as a Radical Demand for Democratic Citizenship

A BSA Leisure and Recreation Study Group Event

3 December 2021
A virtual event using Zoom

Call for Papers

Sociology of leisure has been critically expanding its focus, both on a theoretical and an empirical level, on a variety of social and spatial inequalities in the last forty years. A short-lived Marxist critique of leisure in capitalist societies (Rojek, 2013), and the feminist critique of the traditional male-centric understanding of leisure (Dixey and Talbot, 1982; Deem, 1986; Green et al., 1990), which has become stronger and diversified (Henderson, 2013; Parry, 2020), have contributed to the critical stance of the subject field. In the last two decades, the long-time ignored inequalities experienced by LGBT+ groups, racial minorities, disabled citizens and citizens of the Global South have been introduced to the field. Additionally, the most contemporary issues such as the digitalisation of leisure (Schultz and McKeown, 2018), rising national populism and its relation to leisure (Thangaraj et. al., 2018; Clift and Tomlinson, 2021), and leisure precarity (Batchelor et. al., 2020) are yet to be examined thoroughly.

Whilst the contributions of critical leisure research are invaluable in terms of providing insights on how the complex and multifaceted social inequalities shape leisure spaces and experiences, the attention to leisure’s role in contributing to a democratic citizenship (Hemingway, 1999: 150), in transforming individual characterisation from ‘consumer’ to ‘active citizen’ (Glover, 2004), and its “constitution as a public, collective realm where discussions about society can take place” (Mair, 2002: 213) have been relatively limited. Urgent global issues, on the other hand, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and deepening global inequalities (notably, embedded and persisting forms of racism) within and across countries/regions, foreground the importance of “shifting priorities toward greater collective social responsibilities, mutual interdependencies, shared resources and collaborative approaches to social problems” (Lashua et. al., 2021: 8). Concurrently, theoretically and practically innovative ideas on a radically different socio-economic and political organisation are proposed for a better future, e.g. the discussions around the notion of ‘degrowth’ (D’Alisa et. al., 2015). Therefore, while it is profoundly important to examine and present how ‘we are NOT in this together’ (Mowatt, 2021), simultaneously, we need to ask questions like: How can leisure contribute to the extension of a more democratic citizenship? How does the right to leisure fit into a philosophical and political demand of a just (global) society? How can leisure be imagined in a utopian manner, and how can this imagination, in turn, contribute to the struggles for spaces and services for leisure in the future? How can we demand leisure as a ‘public good’ in the most radical and inclusive manner?

This one-day event aims to provide a chance for leisure scholars to come together, present their research and thoughts around the summarised issues and discuss the role of leisure in advancing a more democratic citizenship. The event welcomes contributions aligned with (though not necessarily limited to) any or a number of the following themes:

  • The notions of democratic citizenship
  • Means of social transformation (e.g. universal basic income)
  • (Urban) commons and leisure rights
  • Politics of scale
  • Critique from Global South
  • Precarity and leisure
  • Agency and decision-making

Submission Instructions

The event will take place on 3 December 2021 via the virtual platform Zoom.

Abstract Deadline: 15 October 2021 – Please submit your abstract by (up to 250 words) via email to gokbendemirbas@trakya.edu.tr or Mark.Turner@solent.ac.uk.

Registration

Registration for this event is now OPEN.

  • BSA Members: £15
  • Non-Members: £30

Outcomes

  • Extended international network(s) for the BSA Study Group
  • Special issue of a leading Leisure Research Journal