Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Leisure Sciences

For a Special Issue on

Leisure and the Performance of Masculinities

Abstract deadline
01 August 2024

Manuscript deadline
15 November 2024

Cover image - Leisure Sciences

Special Issue Editor(s)

Corey W. Johnson, North Carolina State University
[email protected]

Rudy Dunlap, Middle Tennessee State Unviversity
[email protected]

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Leisure and the Performance of Masculinities

Advocates of the anti-gender position (those who construe gender as an “ideology”) think they have to do away with gender—the field, the concept, the social reality—precisely because they will not read the scholarship on gender that they oppose, refusing, sometimes as a matter of principle, to engage in grounded forms of criticism. Their anti-intellectualism and distrust of the academy are, at the same time, a refusal to enter into public debate. What is dismissed as an “academic” procedure is required for informed deliberations in democracies. Informed public debate becomes impossible when some parties refuse to read the material under dispute. Reading is not just a pastime or luxury but a precondition of democratic life, one of the practices that keep debate and disagreement grounded, focused, and productive. (Butler, 2024, p. 22-23)

As suggested above, the anti-gender campaign is not merely another salvo in our ongoing culture wars. It is also not simply an attempt to vilify particular identities or to combat a specific civil rights campaign. In her latest, Who’s Afraid of Gender? Judith Butler (2024) makes it clear that the fundamental aim of the anti-gender project is the wholesale silencing of discussion, debate, and inquiry. According to its proponents, gender is to be erased from our public discourse because to talk about it is to acknowledge that its meaning is open for consideration tacitly. Not surprisingly, such a reactionary movement has taken shape in direct response to the democratization of inquiry into gendered experience. Introspection, discussion, and experimentation related to gender have left the confines of academia and other social institutions and propagated into the lives of individuals, such that expressions of gender are more varied than ever. Now that the question of gender is more accessible to the public at large, the anti-gender movement's attempts to silence discussion feels desperate, but also bone-chillingly dangerous.

In place of a vibrant public that actively explores its gendered experience, reactionaries offer newer incarnations of familiar forms of hegemonic masculinity. Instead of nuance and variety, they offer a simplistic, patriarchal ideology, at the center of which lies a masculine persona who promises to bring order back to public life. The Strongman (Inglehart & Norris, 2016; Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2017) is resurgent in politics and culture and a hegemonic ideal that purports to tame the chaos of our era by wielding power with impunity. The Strongman's return is showcased by politicians such as Trump, Bolsonaro, and Putin, but also appears in the form of athletes such as Antonio Brown and Dana White or in media personalities, such as Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan and the too numerous to name social media “influencers.” The Strongman's association with the anti-gender campaign is hardly incidental insofar as a reified, authoritarian version of masculinity is posed as the remedy to a plurality of masculinities. Decisive action is the Strongman's hallmark, and perhaps no activity is more antithetical to this persona than to question one's own experience of gender. 

If the endgame of the anti-gender crusade is authoritarian control of inquiry and discussion, the only reasonable response for us, as scholars and members of the public, is to redouble our commitment to the critical exploration of gendered experience, and here, masculinity in particular. Leisure is an integral context for such inquiry, given that its associations with notions of freedom and escape can easily obscure its role in reproducing all hegemonic ideologies. The present call follows from an established line of scholarship documenting masculinity's many manifestations in leisure spaces and practices. Many of these projects have explored masculine identity construction via media consumption and its intersection with other dimensions of identity, including race and sexuality (Dunlap & Johnson, 2013; Johnson & Dunlap, 2011; Kivel & Johnson, 2009; Kivel, Johnson & Scraton, 2009). Given its dynamism, media consumption will continue to be a rich context for inquiry, but researchers have also focused on leisure spaces and places, including bars and parks (Johnson & Samdahl, 2005; Rose & Johnson, 2017), and practices, ranging from male stripping (Baksh & Johnson, 2021), horseracing (Monterrubio, Dashper, Hernández-Espinosa, 2023), dancing (Siu, 2024), or even how masculinity influences the propensity to drown (Moran, 2011).

Where the anti-gender movement pursues an agenda of erasure, we offer the present call as an invitation to exploration, deliberation, and debate. And what can we learn differently about our affirming efforts to honor gender plurality?  A special issue focused on masculinity promises to extend our consideration of the many ways that masculinities shape our leisure experiences (and vice versa) while creating space for more nuanced descriptions of gendered performance. Crucially, contributions to this special issue will counter efforts to erase the democratized experience of gender in social life.

In light of these concerns, we invite submissions for a special issue of Leisure Sciences exploring the performance of masculinity in leisure, recreation, sport, tourism, and associated fields of inquiry. Empirical and conceptual inquiries are welcomed, as are submissions from various fields and disciplines, presented in both traditional and creative ways. Potential topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Plurality of masculine performances in leisure
  • Leisure as a context for male friendship
  • Sport as a stage for the performance of masculinities
  • The intersection of queerness and masculine performance in leisure
  • Media consumption and the possibilities of counter-hegemonic masculinities
  • The experience of brotherhood in leisure
  • Physicality and materiality of masculinity in leisure
  • Portrayal and consumption of masculine violence in leisure
  • Masculinity in both the natural and built environments.
  • Masculinity and Coding
  • Construction of hegemonic masculinity via social media and/or peer-to-peer online interaction

Submission Instructions

For full consideration for inclusion in the Special Issue, please submit a 500-word abstract by August 1, 2024. Please follow all submission guidelines for Leisure Sciences located here:

Authors should address inquiries and send abstracts to:

Corey W. Johnson, Ph.D.

Karla Henderson Distinguished Professor

Department of Park, Recreation, and Tourism Management

North Carolina State University

[email protected]


SI Timeline:


August 1, 2024 Deadline for 500-word abstract submission
August 15, 2024 Authors notified
November 15, 2024 Full manuscripts due
January 15, 2025 Initial reviews returned to authors
March 15, 2025 Final revisions due
Late 2025 Special issue release 

(accepted submissions published immediately online)

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article