LSA Exec ‘top picks’ from Leisure Studies: Ian Jones

In the first of our new series, which will see the LSA executive committee select their favourite papers from Leisure Studies, Ian Jones shares his choices. We hope that this new series will get members to revisit some classics or explore new readings. We would love for you to use the comments at the end of the blog to share your thoughts of these pieces or send you thoughts to us as a blog post in response digicoms@leisurestudies.org

Ian Jones
Bournemouth University

This is the first in a series of articles where members of the LSA Executive Committee choose their three favourite articles from Leisure Studies. Rather than choose them on any predetermined criteria, I have chosen mine purely on the basis of personal interest and enjoyment!

The first article is from 2003, written by Lesley Lawrence and entitled These are the voyages…’: Interaction in real and virtual space environments in leisure (Vol 22, 4, pp301-15). I have chosen this for several reasons. Firstly, it was one of the first papers I read that highlighted the potential of researching online communities, a potential that has, arguably, yet to be fully realised. Secondly, it deals with the sci-fi fan, an often derided figure, yet one worthy of greater attention within the leisure studies community. Finally, as with any good paper of its type, it told me a story, and raised a number of issues for further consideration. Our understanding of virtual leisure has increased significantly since its publication, but it remains one of my LS favourites.

The second chosen article focuses upon human-insect interactions, and some of the issues related to our relationship with insects, and the role of leisure within such relationships. Lemein’s 2013 paper entitled To bee or not to bee: whether ‘tis nobler to revere or to revile those six-legged creatures during one’s leisure (Vol 32, 2, 153-171) was, to me at least, a valuable reminder that the field is a lot broader than the fields of tourism, event management, cultural studies or (especially) sport. Some of the discussion here raised a number of issues that I found interesting, such as the often overlooked nuances of human-animal interaction, and had something a little ‘different’ that made it of interest.

Finally, I have chosen John Connell’s 2017 paper entitled Groundhopping: nostalgia, emotion and the small places of Football (Vol 36, 4, 553-564). Focusing on middle aged men following non-league football, it resonated with my own leisure, but was also a timely reminder to me that research focused at a ‘lower’ level (i.e. non-league football, the antithesis of bland premiership football) is often more interesting than research focused on the elite. It will be a shame if, in the UK at least, the Research Excellence Framework discourages this type of research, as it may be seen to lack broader ‘impact’.

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