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Leisure Sciences

For a Special Issue on

The Fraying of Society

Abstract deadline
15 May 2023

Manuscript deadline
01 October 2023

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Justin Harmon, UNC Greensboro
[email protected]

Heather Mair, University of Waterloo
[email protected]

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The Fraying of Society

Leisure Sciences and Leisure/Loisir present the first inter-journal collaboration in the field of leisure studies in the form of a double special issue. Issue #1 will be published in Leisure Sciences and will focus on the “fraying of society.” Issue #2 will be published in Leisure/Loisir and focus on “rebuilding society.” The CfP for Issue #2 will come after abstracts have been submitted and reviewed, and invitations have been sent to authors for Issue #1.

The social nature of the human condition is always in a state of change, and Pinker’s (2018) big data compendium suggests that health, prosperity, peace, safety, and knowledge are on the rise globally. However, there are still individuals and movements actively working to dissolve civic institutions in the name of illiberal ideologies across the world. Occasionally, these movements pursue their agendas in ways that might be understood as leisure. Whether it be political, social, cultural, or economic, it seems that societies are fraying at the seams. Scholars in the field of leisure studies are uniquely suited to examine a variety of troubling phenomena to develop a better understanding of the role of leisure in our current state of discord.

Because of this, we believe there needs to be a continually evolving understanding of what leisure “is” to different people, especially in the behaviors, conditions, and affiliations that are seen as having deleterious effects on society. This will require a dialectic engagement with perspectives and ideologies that may be radically different from social norms. Mair (2002) called for a new conceptualization of civil leisure to explain the value of activism, public protest, and civic discourse to creating a more just society, and we renew that call to be applied more broadly and critically, focusing not only on how power is seized and used, but also on the conditions that make those forms of power possible (Rose et al., 2019). Some see their involvement in disruptive and unsociable activities as extensions of their identities, and necessary or inevitable to their plight and belief system. Our collective charge is to generate a better understanding why that is and how we can recalibrate an out-of-sync social order.

In sum, the first entry in this special double issue seeks to transcend disciplinary boundaries to renew critical inquiry to unpack what happens on the ‘fringes’ of society to understand our broader social tapestry and contestations thereof. This is a call to examine what ails us in the social sphere, and to do so through multiple paradigmatic lenses. We offer a chance to generate leisure-led insights into issues shaping civility and social relations across the globe.

We hope to have a diverse offering in both issues of not only topical focus, but types of submissions. In addition to empirical research, conceptual papers, short essays, and response papers (specifically for Issue #2 in response to papers in Issue #1) and non-traditional submissions (e.g., alternative histories, prognostic explorations, art-infused pieces) are welcome and encouraged. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Authoritarian, populist, and neofascist movements
  • Militias, separatist, and supremacist movements
  • Cultural desensitization to, and/or the glorification of, violence
  • Hooliganism (e.g., sports)
  • Cults and new religious movements
  • Alienation (e.g., social isolation)
  • Radicalization (e.g., religious, or political ideologies)
  • Homesteaders and doomsday preppers
  • Human traffickers, drug mules, and other exploitive behaviors
  • Deaths of despair and addiction (i.e., drug overdoses, alcoholism, suicide)
  • Domestic abuse, social pariahs, and Incels
  • Gun violence (e.g., gangs, mass shootings)
  • Police brutality
  • Political and/or social media-instigated conflict (e.g., “cancel culture,” scapegoating,cyberbullying)
  • Antihumanism (i.e., denial of a humanistic conception of life)
  • Dehumanization (i.e., denial of others’ humanity and rights)
  • Loss of trust or faith in the rule of law, institutions, and civil society
  • Demise of the perceived value of higher education (e.g., anti-intellectualism,underfunding or cutting of programs)
  • Post-truth and the dark side of postmodernism (e.g., loss of shared norms or beliefs)

Submission Instructions

Issue #1: The Fraying of Society (Leisure Sciences):
Call for Papers sent out February 13, 2023
Abstracts of 250 words by May 15, 2023
Send to both Justin Harmon: [email protected] and Heather Mair: [email protected]

Invitations by June 1, 2023

Full papers due by October 1, 2023, Published March 2024

Issue #2: Rebuilding Society (Leisure/Loisir):
Call for Papers sent out January 15, 2024
Abstracts of 250 words by March 15, 2024
Send to both Justin Harmon: [email protected] and Heather Mair: [email protected]

Invitations by April 1, 2024

Full papers due by July 15, 2024, Published January 2025

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