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10 December 2021
Leisure, Inequalities, and the Global South
In the very first issue of the Leisure Studies Journal, published in 1982, Rosemary Deem exposed issues of inequalities in women access to leisure in UK. This opened the possibility to expose many inequalities in our field supporting the ‘fight’ of other excluded and vulnerable groups. Almost 40 years later and during the COVID-19 pandemic the world discovered that many, in lockdown in their houses, could not get access to their leisure activities. However, the narrative of ‘we are all in this together’ became a dishonest claim to hide the inequalities between the ‘stay at home’ of the wealthy and the ‘stay at home’ of the poor. Access to garden, private indoor spaces, internet, leisure gadgets and other leisure products became the symbol of the staggering leisure inequalities still relevant nowadays. Moreover, the current pandemic is having a negative impact on the Global South with increasing inequalities and impoverished communities (Buheji et al., 2020). Nevertheless, it is not new that poor communities have struggled to engage in quality leisure. In their extensive research about the development of leisure practices in US between 1965 and 2003, Sevilla et al. (2012) noticed a general increase in leisure time across educational groups but with a decline in the quality of leisure with highest impact on low educated adults. The possible explanation provided by the authors is on the greater decrease in the price of quality leisure for highly educated individuals compared to the price of leisure for low educated individuals over this period. Indeed, the issue of leisure and inequalities can be seen via multiple angles including gender, race, age, educational levels, and social and economic backgrounds.
Floyd and Mowatt (2013) and Pinckney et al (2018) focused on the issues of race and the leisure of Black people in America while Roberts (2004) approached the issue of social classes within leisure inequalities. In sum, research has been emerging more frequently about leisure inequalities even if predominately coming from developed countries and the Global North. In this sense, we call not only to tackle some of these inequalities on the production of leisure knowledge bur we invite other hidden and neglected voices to join the debate about leisure and inequalities. The voices from the Global South have not always been heard and do not feature often enough in the international literature.
Regarding leisure and inequalities in the Global South, we highlight a study developed by Uvinha et al. (2017) carried out with 2,400 people in Brazil. This research points out that in a Brazilian context the variables related to schooling, income and social class have a decisive influence in the way Brazilians use their leisure time. People with lower education and income levels participated in a limited number of leisure activities compared to those with higher levels who had access to and were able to experience a greater number of activities of a more diverse content/nature. In addition, it was identified that the increasing gap between social classes is a contributing factor in the rise of inequalities in leisure engagement among Brazilians. The authors concluded that the imbalances that exist between the representations and achievements of the Brazilian leisure should be the tackled by specific public policy actions aiming to reduce inequalities and increase social cohesion.
The World Leisure Congress held in Sao Paulo in 2018 was a step forward in this direction and addressed the main theme “Leisure Beyond Constraints” where the main barriers – physical, socioeconomic and symbolic – were discussed. Plenary sessions, lectures, workshops, debates and presentations aimed to identify, discuss and propose ways to overcome these obstacles, so everyone can enjoy and take full benefit of leisure in its different forms and manifestations. It was consensus that these barriers still exist and constrain the access of people to leisure, as well as the need to confront these obstacles in order to overcome them.
In this context, we consider relevant to align this CFP to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG is linked to the United Nation´s 2030 agenda as new drivers for promoting sustainability among stakeholders in developed and developing economies comprising 17 goals with direct link to the promotion of leisure, such as #3 Good Health and Well-Being, #4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality and #10 Reduced Inequalities, among others (UN, 2021). This document can provide the over-arching framework as a recognition that in order to end inequalities, poverty and deprivation we need strategies to improve health, education and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and protecting the natural environment. In reality, to end inequalities, poverty, and deprivation we need to better understand what the issues in the Global South are, how they manifest nowadays, but also how they have been developed historically.
The publication of the Agenda2030 and of the UN SDGs provided an opportunity to channel the efforts in tackling some of the key inequalities in the Global South. Among them, the SDG 5 focus on gender equality and the SDG 10 on reduction of inequalities and protection of those most vulnerable. In the paradoxical context of leisure as a factor for both equality and inequality, this special issues would like to contribute to the debate about multi-facetted characteristics of Leisure focusing on the excluded and vulnerable.
This Special Issue advances the discussion about leisure and inequalities presenting an opportunity for hidden voices to be heard. This Special Issue also aims to contribute to re-aligning the question of leisure as a right in contemporary society in its diverse perspectives, expanding the understanding of leisure as a time for personal re-signification as well as for social and community development. It welcomes contributions aligned with (but are not limited to) any or a number of the following themes:
- Leisure in the Global South
- Leisure, Inequalities and the Sustainable Development Goals
- Inequalities and Leisure Constraints
- Leisure for Reduction of Inequalities
- Digital Poverty
- Excluding Leisure Spaces
- Leisure and Vulnerable populations
- Leisure as a social transformation in the community
Looking to Publish your Research?
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- Abstract Deadline Friday 18th of June 2021 - Please submit your abstract (up to 250 word) via email to [email protected] and [email protected] - Please add 'Special Issue Leisure Studies' in the subject of your email.
- Feedback on Abstracts will be provided by the 9th of July
- Full Papers to be submitted by the 10th of December - Please select 'Leisure, Inequalities, and the Global South' when submitting your paper to ScholarOne
- Review of Papers will be provided by the 30th of March 2022
- Final Revised Papers should be submitted by the 1st of August 2022
The Special Issue will be published in October 2022
This Special Issue will accept Research Papers up to 8000 words (including tables, references, figure captions, footnotes, endnotes). We may also welcome a limited number of Research Notes for this journal should be between 4,000-5,000 words.
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