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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Leisure Research

For a Special Issue on
Identifying and Cultivating Optimal Experience: A tribute to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Abstract deadline
09 September 2022

Manuscript deadline
15 May 2023

Cover image - Journal of Leisure Research

Special Issue Editor(s)

Douglas Kleiber, University of Georgia
[email protected]

Teresa Freire, University of Minho
[email protected]

Gary Ellis, Texas A&M University
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Identifying and Cultivating Optimal Experience: A tribute to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This special issue of JLR will be addressed to the subject of optimal experience, as a tribute to the late Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi used the words “optimal experience” primarily to discuss the subject of “flow” as a prototype of the experience of enjoyment (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 1988). His work was pioneering, yielding extensive knowledge about flow and contingencies that bring it about. Flow captured the interest of scholars in an expansive array of disciplines and managers in an equally expansive array of industries.

But Csikszentmihalyi (1975, 1993, 1996, 1997; Csikszentmihalyi & Richberg-Halton, 1981) would appreciate the case for other subjective experiences for which leisure may be appropriated and designed, as long as a case could be made for their beneficial effects on the individual and on society. Thus, in addition to papers on flow, we invite manuscripts advancing understanding of such experiences as awe, relaxation, engagement, absorption, immersion, mindfulness, elation, aesthetic experience, ecstasy, self-affirmation, voluntary and involuntary attention, fast-and-slow thinking, meaningfulness, peak-and-end moments, and moments of rapture (e.g., Freire, 2013; Hadden et al, 2020; Jennett et al, 2008; Kaplan, 1995; Kahneman, 2011; Kleiber, 2000; Langer, 2014; Maslow, 1962; Piff et al., 2015; Pine & Gilmore, 2020; Reeve, 2013; Reybrouck et al., 2018; Shiota et al., 2003; Tilden, 1957; Von Visger et al., 2021) occurring in leisure settings.

We also invite papers from diverse national contexts and populations, and papers representing the burgeoning literature on experience design (cf. Duerden, 2022; Ellis et al., 2020; Pine & Gilmore, 2020; Rossman & Duerden, 2019). All forms of papers are welcome—empirical, theoretical, methodological—on the above or related topics including, but not limited to:

- Intrapersonal constraints to optimal experience in leisure settings such as self-consciousness, fear, outrage, shame, guilt, frustration, embarrassment, humiliation, disappointment, isolation, apathy, and situational helplessness and how managing these experiences effectively can serve as growth and learning opportunities.
- ‘Shared flow’ (cf. Csikszentmihalyi, 1980) as a source of collective enjoyment, social solidarity, and social capital (see also Kleiber, 2020) including ensemble and team contexts.
- Systematic, meta-analytic, or comprehensive literature reviews on key topics related to flow and optimal experience in the context of leisure. -- Critical commentary on the relevance of research on optimal experience to the wider field of leisure, parks, recreation, tourism, and sports studies.
- Non-Western and cross-cultural studies on flow and optimal experience.
- Optimal experience in diverse populations (e.g., with respect to gender, race and ethnicity, social class, disability, sexuality, age, religion) in the context of leisure.

Submission Instructions

Timeline and Review Process
If you are interested in submitting a paper, e-mail a one-page abstract of your paper to Dr. Douglas Kleiber at [email protected]. If you don’t receive a confirmation from Dr. Kleiber, be sure to re-send your abstract. Contact Dr. Kleiber ([email protected]) for cited sources

Abstracts of 500 words must include a title and appropriate subheadings (e.g., Introduction, Methods, Findings, Discussion/Conclusions). Abstracts reporting conceptual and theoretical discussions should also have an effective set of subheadings. Use double space, 12-point font, Times Roman, and one-inch (2.54 cm) margins on sides, top and bottom. You should submit the files as a Word for Windows document. Abstracts should have a cover page that includes authors’ names, affiliations and contact information.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the special issue guest editors. They will be considered with respect to appropriateness and quality. Authors of the top 10-12 abstracts will be invited to submit full manuscripts. Those authors will be notified by mid-November, 2022 if they have been invited to submit a full paper for the special issue.

The deadline for the submission of full papers will be May 15, 2023. The papers will undergo a standard blind peer-review process. The maximum length of the manuscripts will be 9,000 words (not including the abstract or tables/figures), unless the need for an extended length is clear (e.g., highly advanced statistics that require elaboration or complex interpretive studies). Papers will be published online as they are accepted, and the print issue of the special issue will be published in mid-2024.

Questions regarding the special issue should be directed to Dr. Douglas Kleiber at [email protected] .

Summary of Timeline
May 1, 2022 Opening Call for Papers
September 9, 2022 Abstracts due
November 15, 2022 Full Papers Invited
May 15, 2023 Submission of Full Papers by Authors
July, 2024 Papers published in JLR in print*
*Papers will be published on-line as they are accepted

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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