Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Annals of Leisure Research

For a Special Issue on

Human/multispecies conflict in sport & leisure

Abstract deadline
31 July 2024

Manuscript deadline
30 January 2025

Cover image - Annals of Leisure Research

Special Issue Editor(s)

Rebecca Olive, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University
[email protected]

Ben Cooke, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University
[email protected]

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Human/multispecies conflict in sport & leisure

We invite abstracts for proposed submissions to a special issue of Annals of Leisure Research.

Interest in the links between human-environmental health and wellbeing is growing. There is, rightly, much celebration about the therapeutic effects of time spent under trees, listening to bird song, immersed in water, and walking on grass and soil. A less examined aspect of leisure encounters are the conflicts that can occur in nature spaces, and the effects of these conflicts on how we come to think about human-nature relationships and our care for places (Olive, 2023; Wilson and Rose, 2019). Human/multispecies encounters do not always result in conflict, but the tensions that potential and real conflicts cause in sport and leisure practices continue to privilege human-centric thinking about relationships in and rights to “nature” (Hammerton & Ford, 2018). The conflicts that might arise between people and animals or plants are of specific interest, given their visible and tangible presence in nature-based leisure activities.

This topic builds on the Leisure Studies, special issue, ‘Multispecies leisure: human-animal interactions in leisure landscapes’ (Danby, Dashper & Finkel, 2019), in which the editors highlighted that ‘leisure studies has been slow to embrace the “animal turn” sweeping the wider social sciences and humanities, and to consider how leisure actions, experiences and landscapes are shaped through multispecies encounters between humans, other animals, birds and insects’ (p. 291). Danby, Dashper and Finkel also note the need for leisure studies research about multispecies encounters with ‘plants and the environment’ (p. 291). This echoes a wider call from disciplines like human geography and political ecology, where the “animal turn” in more-than-human scholarship has been more thoroughly embraced, but a lack of attention to plants has remained (Head et al. 2014; Cumpston et al. 2022).

In this Special Issue, we aim to expand the focus of existing discussions to consider human/multispecies encounters that are a source of conflict, and which challenge romanticised narratives of nature as a place of therapeutic encounter. Examples include: the presence of sharks and bears for surfers and hikers; the kangaroos, birds, sheep, and alligators that can reside on golf courses and disrupt play; the eradication or embrace of ‘weeds’ that don’t belong in private or public gardens; human violence against noisy, smelly flying foxes communities that live in urban suburbs; the insects and reptiles that infiltrate tents or sting us as we camp in forests; the ecosystem dis-services and allergy responses generated by pollen; the “roadkill” critters crushed by offroad vehicles or road-trippers; the trees that shape, but are impacted by, mountain bike riding; shorebirds that are threatened by dog walkers and 4WDs on beaches; seals that have been killed for keeping people away from boats and harbours; mismatches between plants that ‘belong’ in place and those that are suited to different forms of recreation (e.g. grass varieties, deciduous trees); birds that swoop or steal the food from patrons in cafes and restaurants; pike, eels and fish that nibble at and irritate river swimmers; sensory and children’s gardens and ‘dangerous’ plants; fences built by gardeners to protect their produce from rabbits, possums, birds, and foxes, or the various deterrents they use against insects; bacteria and viruses suspended in the water and air we absorb and breathe when outdoors.

While many of these encounters result in risk or injury for the critters and/or humans involved, sometimes they are simply the cause of inconvenience, irritation or disruption, or result in a change of how we do our leisure activities to accommodate animals and plants in their habitats. Such conflicts can be conceptually and ethically productive and can result in more responsible or ethical forms of leisure by people, and new ways of thinking about how animals, plants and interacting ecologies are part of our sport and leisure worlds.

This special issue aims to think with human/multispecies conflict to engage critical discussions of nature-based sport and leisure that relinquishes romanticism and instead explores human and non-human risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and uncertainties as possible encounters in ecologies. We invite contributions from scholars across fields who are exploring how we live with animals and plants that disrupt, or have the potential to disrupt, our leisure practices.

Possible areas of focus include:

  • Animal presence, encounter, uncertainty and risk in everyday life
  • Ecological effects of human rights to leisure (e.g. modification, death, flourishing)
  • Diverse worldviews and human/non-human leisure relationships
  • More-than-human theories of human/non-human conflict
  • Gardening or ‘land management' conflicts or re-imaginings created by plant mobilities
  • Issues and tensions around ‘re-wilding’ land, gardens, and water
  • Biodiversity and conservation in greenspaces for recreation (e.g. golf courses, public parks)
  • Green city agendas – tensions around ‘bringing nature in’ to spaces of passive/active leisure
  • More-than-human encounters through human leisure in bluespaces (e.g. oceans, rivers)
  • Accounting for animals and plants in urban planning for leisure, sport and recreation
  • Hunting, fishing, and shooting for leisure
  • Methodological issues, challenges and ethics related to human/non-human conflict
  • Settler-colonial politics of managing human/non-human conflict in leisure spaces
  • Enabling disability access and inclusion in more-than-human spaces
  • Managing, caring for or neglecting sports fields and facilities


Bowes, M., Keller, P., Rollins, R., & Gifford, R. (2015). Parks, dogs, and beaches: Human-wildlife conflict and the politics of place. In Domestic animals and leisure (pp. 146-171). London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Coble, T. G., Selin, S. W., & Erickson, B. B. (2003). Hiking alone: Understanding fear, negotiation strategies and leisure experience. Journal of Leisure Research35(1), 1-22.

Cumpston, Z., Fletcher M., Head, L. (2022). First knowledges plants: past, present and future. Sydney: Thames and Hudson.

Danby, P., Dashper, K., & Finkel, R. (2019). Multispecies leisure: Human-animal interactions in leisure landscapes. Leisure Studies38(3), 291-302.

Markuksela, V., & Valtonen, A. (2021). Dance with a fish?: Sensory human-nonhuman encounters in the waterscape of match fishing. In Multispecies Leisure: Human-Animal Interactions in Leisure Landscapes (pp. 63-76). Routledge.

Franklin, A. (1998). Naturalizing sports: hunting and angling in modern environments. International Review for the Sociology of Sport33(4), 355-366.

Hammerton Z, and Ford A (2018) Decolonising the waters: Interspecies encounters between sharks and humans. Animal Studies Journal 7(1): 270-303.

Head, L., Atchison, J., Phillips, C. & Buckingham, K. (2014). Vegetal politics: belonging, practices and places. Social & Cultural Geography, 15 (8), 861-870.

Jope, K. L., & Shelby, B. (1984). Hiker behavior and the outcome of interactions with grizzly bears. Leisure Sciences6(3), 257-270.

Olive, R. (2023). Swimming and surfing in ocean ecologies: Encounter and vulnerability in nature-based sport and physical activity. Leisure Studies42(5), 679-692.

Thomsen, J. M., Metcalf, E. C., Coe, K., & Ocañas, A. R. (2022). Thru-hikers’ attitudes about potential management actions for interactions with grizzly bears along the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism39, 100557.

Wilson, J., & Rose, J. (2021). A predator in the park: Mixed methods analysis of user preference for coyotes in urban parks. In Multispecies Leisure: Human-Animal Interactions in Leisure Landscapes (pp. 145-161). Routledge.

Submission Instructions

Expressions of interest, or questions can be submitted to the corresponding SI editors Rebecca Olive ([email protected]) or Ben Cooke ([email protected]).

Please include a title, 500 word abstract and all author details.

Original research manuscripts should be no more than 8000 words inclusive of abstract, endnotes, references, and figures. There is also an option for research notes, which are 3000 words. For details on style, formatting, and open access options, visit the Annals of Leisure Research journal guidelines (link below).

Publication schedule:

  • Call for papers launch: May 2024
  • Expression of interest due: 31 July 2024
  • Invitation to Submit: 30 August 2024
  • Full manuscript submission: 30 January 2025
  • First reviews to authors: April 2025
  • Resubmissions due: mid-2026

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article