Prof. Jonathan Long awarded ‘Honorary Lifetime Member’ of the LSA


Tom Fletcher, Chair of the LSA:

Over the Summer, Jonathan Long posted a message on the LSA Jiscmail informing us of his retirement from Leeds Beckett and his subsequent decision to end his membership of the LSA after some forty years of continuous membership. Upon reading this, I immediately sent an email to Spencer Swain, our Secretary asking him to add an item to the agenda of the next meeting of the Executive. That item was ‘Honorary Lifetime Membership’.

Unsurprisingly, at the Exec meeting in September, it was unanimously agreed that LSA would like to award Jonathan with honorary lifetime membership for both his fantastic contribution to the field and Association. In the Association’s history, it has not tended to make these awards as often as it perhaps ought to have. During my time as Chair, I hope that we will be able to better recognise the contribution of our colleagues by making more awards like this.

It is a privilege for me especially to be able to make this offer to Jonathan as he has been influential on my own career; both in terms of providing me with opportunities (I remember him Chairing the panel for my PhD entry interview for instance) and shaping the way I think and do things. I think the latter is a compliment. We hope Jonathan will continue to be involved in the activities of the LSA long into a well-deserved (and I’ll bet, very busy) retirement.

A few words from Professor Long:

December 1976 saw me and colleagues from the Tourism and recreation Research Unit driving down the M6 to Birmingham for my first Leisure Studies Association Conference at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies.  A couple of years later I was on the Executive for my first stint and one of the editors of the LSA Newsletter, before we shifted gear and re-branded it the LSA Quarterly.  In 1981 I became a founding member of the Editorial Board of Leisure Studies, which quickly became recognised as a credible journal and has gone from three to six issues a year.

In the early days of my involvement with the LSA there were many more leisure professionals and policymakers who were members and came to our conferences than is the case today.  I think their departure is something to be regretted.  Over the same timespan the research approaches and theoretical positions have shifted too.  The (post-)positivist surveys and modelling were gradually usurped by critical studies informed first by Marxism and then feminism before postmodernist approaches had their day.

LSA exchanges at conferences and in print inevitably played their part in shaping my own thinking and research directions as I changed from a fresh-faced youth to a gnarled veteran.  The image below, from a copy of the LSA Newsletter in 1979 with its rogues’ gallery of editors (JL on the left with Tony Veal, John Haworth and Stan Parker), shows part of that spectrum.  While the LSA has given much attention to class and gender over the years, and ethnicity to a lesser extent, it could perhaps have paid more attention to ageing.  Maybe somebody will revisit the Rapoports’ Leisure and the Family Life Cycle in light of what we know now about leisure’s place in society.

As I was getting rid of some small percentage of the material from my office I found something I had written about the LSA conference held in Leeds in 2004:

Some of the papers at the conference were presented by young people (well, young to me).  That this should happen is vital to the future of the field.  That it happens successfully is attributable in no small part to the friendly, supportive atmosphere that the LSA has developed over a generation.

Fortunately the LSA continues to be successful in regenerating itself.

Jon Long


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