Call for Papers | “Ethics and Leisure” | Special issue of Annals of Leisure Research


Guest editor: Brent Lovelock,


Leisure comprises a range of relatively commonly accepted pursuits including for example playing a game of golf, going shopping, or watching a movie. Some, however, would suggest that leisure has a darker side and includes such activities as serial killing, internet pornography, and sex tourism (Rojek 2000).  While such deviant leisure practices appear to violate criminal and non-criminal moral norms (Stebbins 1996), whether there is a “good versus bad leisure” (Mobily 1999: 187) is still unclear: this special issue will address this and other fundamental ethical questions facing leisure researchers, practitioners and participants.

While ethical explorations focusing on tourism as a leisure activity have begun to emerge within the literature (e.g. Fennell 2006; 2012; Lovelock and Lovelock 2013) to date this level of interest has not been paralleled within the leisure field where there has been “little concern for explicitly discussing the morality of leisure” (Clarke 1995: 209). This oversight is surprising, considering the classical view of the role of leisure in the habituation of virtue, as articulated in Aristotle’s Politics (List 2005).

To date, the main focus of ethics work in leisure studies has been limited to issues of equity (e.g. of access and participation) and professional development. The latter theme has arguably dominated, to the extent that leisure ethics has been most often discussed in terms of professionalism (Sylvester 2008).  McNamee and Brackenridge (1996: 4) refer to this as “ethics with a small ‘e’”, dominated by a descriptive ethics approach.  In the sporting field too, ethics has often been based upon a similar “narrow view of morality” that considers rules and rule-breaking, while failing to address more fundamental ethical issues (Lindfelt 2005: 41). Such issues may include the use of resources in leisure practice,  the origin of those resources, and how they are presented to the consumer: all of which involve ethical judgements (Rojek 2005: 19).

The ongoing omission of ethical considerations in contemporary models of leisure is a weakness that could be used to perpetuate leisure practices that are “illegal, immoral and contraindicative to human growth and development” (Ellis and Rossman 2008: 2). Consequently, there has been a growing call to consider leisure ethics with a capital “E”, a response to which would involve moral philosophy and an exploration of the role of leisure in how we ought to live our lives (McNamee and Brackenridge 1996: 4).

This special issue responds to the above calls, seeking contributions that address a range of ethical issues across the leisure field, from the macro ‘corporate’ issues alluded to by Rojek above, to the micro-moralities of individuals offering or engaging in specific leisure activities.  The goal of this special issue is to take stock of contemporary leisure ethics issues, and to advance the utilisation of normative and applied ethics approaches to these issues. For this reason, contributions of both an applied and theoretical nature are welcome.  Potential topics may include (among others):

    • Equity and access (e.g. racism, sexism, disability)
    • Deviant leisure
    • Deviant practices (e.g. cheating, sexual abuse, doping)
    • Animals and leisure
    • The ‘body-shape’ industry
    • Leisure ethics and gender
    • Leisure and exploitation (labour rights)
    • Leisure and the environment
    • Children and leisure
    • Leisure marketing
    • Philosophy and leisure
    • Leisure, freedom and power
    • Ethics and professionalism
    • Ethics and leisure policy
    • Ethics of sport

Important Dates for Authors

  • Submission of Abstracts: Please send proposed paper title and an abstract of no more than 250 words to the guest editor, Brent Lovelock ( no later than 1st June 2015. We will advise the outcome no later than 20th June 2015.
  • Submission of Full Paper: 1st November 2015 (further details to be advised upon confirmation of abstract acceptance).
  • Publication: Third issue of 2016 (approximately September)


  • Clarke, A. (1995) ‘Back to basics: the ethics of leisure‘, in G.McFee, W. Murphy and G.Whannel (eds) Leisure Cultures: Values, Genders, Lifestyles (LSA Publication No: 54). Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association, pp. 207-216.
  • Ellis, G.D. and Rossman, J.R. (2008) Creating Value for Participants through Experience Staging: Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in the Experience Industry. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 26(4): 1-20.
  • Fennell, D.A. (2006) Tourism Ethics. Clevedon, U.K., Channel View.
  • Fennell, D.A. (2012) Tourism and Animal Ethics. London, Routledge.
  • Lindfelt, M. (2005) Sport and ethics: How far can you go? World Leisure Journal 47(4): 41-50.
  • List, C.J.  (2005) The Virtues of Wild Leisure. Environmental Ethics 27(4): 355-373.
  • Lovelock, B.A. and Lovelock, K. (2013) The Ethics of Tourism: Critical and Applied Perspectives. London, Routledge.
  • McNamee, M. and Brackenridge, C. (1996) Ethics in Leisure – An Agenda for Research. Paper presented to the Leisure Studies Association 1996 Annual Conference, Wageningen International Conference Centre, The Netherlands.
  • Mobily, K. E. (1999) New horizons in models of practice in therapeutic recreation. Therapeutic
  • Recreation Journal, 23(3): 174-192.
  • Rojek, C. (2005) Leisure Theory: Principles and Practice. Basingstoke, Palgrave McMillan.
  • Rojek, C (2000) Leisure and Culture. Basingstoke and London, Macmillan.
  • Stebbins, R.A. (1996). Tolerable differences: Living with deviance. Toronto:McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Dr Brent Lovelock
Associate Professor, Department of Tourism, & Co-Director, Centre for Recreation Research
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Ph (03) 479-8069 or 479-8520 (sec.)

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