LSA EXEC ‘top picks’ from Leisure Studies: Paula Danby

This month Paula Danby shares her picks from the Leisure Studies Journal. I think this new feature is showing the diversity of research that is happening within leisure studies but also the range of interests on your committee!

Paula Danby
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Happy New Year to all of you Leisure Studies Association members. Sitting here on a cold, snowy ‘winter wonderland’ kind of day, and in the aftermath of the festive seasonal celebrations, join me in sitting back and enjoying a nice hot cup of tea, whilst indulging in a few left over seasonal chocolates and revisit some of the Leisure Studies articles that I have chosen to celebrate. I found it a difficult call, in narrowing my selection down to three papers. Anyway, here we go… 

My first pick is a paper that is a blast from the past, but a one close to my heart and research interest as it focuses around our leisure interactions with non-human animals, which in this case, is associated with dogs. The paper is entitled: If it weren’t for my hobby, I’d have a life: dog sports, serious leisure, and boundary negotiations (Vol 21: 3-4) published in 2002 and written by Gillespie, Leffler and Lerner. I believe that many dog owners like myself can relate profoundly to the research findings in that non-humans play an instrumental role in humans’ lives particularly as a result of leisure activities, whereby human-animal interactions are common place and contribute to positive interspecies experiences and coexistence.

My second pick is an interesting paper, and relates to my interest in nature-based leisure and sporting activities through which I enjoy spending a great deal of recreational time. The paper entitled Embodiment and social environmental action in nature-based sport: spiritual spaces, (Vol 30:4) published in 2011, written by Barbara Humberstone, draws attention to the embodied experiences of physical activity in the natural world. The paper encapsulates the ways in which our senses and individual bodies engage with the natural environment. Although the findings resonate to water-based physical activities, they are reminiscent of my individual perceptions, awareness and connection with nature through horse riding leisure and recreational activities. Such sensations and embodied practices evidenced in the paper, are central to how I experience the world through human-equine interactions which evoke powerful physical and emotional connections with nature through multi-species encounters and mobility.

Lastly, my choice is a recent paper by Jungsu Rhu and Jinmoo Heo published in 2017, which identifies the relationships between leisure activity types and well-being in older adults. I wanted to end on this article as it reminds us of the positive psychological and physical health related impacts that leisure activities have upon peoples’ well-being. The findings reveal that social interaction and engagement in recreational settings are important contributors towards individual well-being and successful aging. An important factor worthy of consideration in today’s contemporary society and busy lifestyle I would say.

I hope you enjoy this selection highlighting some of the excellent work within the Leisure Studies journal, signifying that leisure participation undoubtedly plays an influential role in peoples’ lives contributing significantly to individual well-being.

Other news