Emotions and Leisure: New Insights and Understandings
The purpose of this special issue is to draw attention to the social and political nature of emotions experienced within leisure, and encourage critical scholarship around the associated theoretical, methodological, and applied issues of emotions within contemporary leisure contexts. The emotions experienced within and invested into leisure are some of the main reasons for our engagement with leisure throughout our lives. Whether it is the relief and escapism of divulging in a hobby away from the pressures of everyday life, the irrational love and heartbreak involved with supporting a sports team, or the rollercoaster ride of thrill and shame when immersed in practices at the margins of what is socially and legally acceptable. The influence of emotions within leisure is inescapable, yet too frequently overlooked within leisure research; therefore, casting a critical eye over the contemporary development of emotional theory within a leisure context can provide fresh understandings regarding peoples’ engagements with leisurely activities and leisure time in modern day society.
Where emotions have been directly referred to within the wide world of leisure research, most commonly in relation to sport, there is typically an overreliance on psychological perspectives of emotion. However, more sociological understandings of emotions have been developed by a wide range of disciplines over the last century to enable emotions to be understood as embodied, relational, and culturally-specific, thus enabling scholars to position emotions as being as much a social experience as they are individual. While previous emotion research in leisure has considered areas such as consumer culture, meaning making, and resilience, there is a distinct lack of emotional focus which accounts for modern phenomena; for example, the proliferation of digital technologies, the rise of right-wing nationalist political movements, the increased volume of debates regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion within physical activities – how do contemporary issues such as these impact upon both emotions and leisure?
This special issue intends to spark a revival of emotional discussions (and discussions about emotions) in leisure by drawing from a wide range of contexts, theoretical perspectives, and methodological considerations. Further research can provide greater understandings about both the individual and social processes by which leisure can contribute to (or be a detriment to) more holistic understandings of emotions. Some of the potential areas to be considered for the special issue include (but are not restricted to):