Call for Papers | “Feminist Physical Cultural Studies” | Special issue of Leisure Sciences | Ends 2017-08-01

Deadline: 1 August 2017

Guest editors Simone Fullagar, Emma Rich, Adele Pavlidis and Cathy van Ingen.

This special issue invites contributions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, methodological and theoretical approaches that pursue feminist questions about the gendered formation of physical cultures (leisure, sport, the arts, tourism, well-being and related embodied practices).  The emerging post-disciplinary area of ‘physical cultural studies’ is opening up critical and hopeful dialogue about the social, political, economic, historical, geographic and cultural contexts of embodied movement (with collections such as the special issue of Sociology of Sport Journal, 2011, The Routledge Handbook of Physical Cultural Studies, 2017, various international conference activities and research group affiliations).  Within these debates feminists have called for critical approaches that engage more deeply with gendered forms of embodied movement and the onto-epistemological basis of theory-methodology (to contest the normative subject as young, white, Western,  masculine, middle class, heterosexual, able bodied) (Adams et al, 2016; Friedman & van Ingen, 2011;  Francombe-Webb & Silk, 2015; Fullagar, 2017; Pavlidis & Olive, 2014; Pavlidis & Fullagar, 2014; Pringle & Falcous, 2016; Rich and Sandlin, 2017; Thorpe, 2014).  With the changing global political landscape and ever present threats to gender equity, social justice and diversity, there is an even more pressing need for creative feminist approaches that theorize, research and live out the ‘personal as political’ in different ways (Johnson and Parry, 2014; van Ingen, 2016).

Recognizing the considerable contribution of feminist theory to understanding the complexity of embodied movement, this special issue explores the possibilities of ‘doing’ feminist physical cultural studies as a generative knowledge practice (Braidotti, 2013).  Durham, Cooper and Morris (2013) speaking of the Crunk Feminist Collective, advocate a ‘percussive feminism’ where the tensions between political and cultural projects like hip-hop and black feminism are both disruptive and generative. They suggest that, ‘Percussive feminism allows for the creativity that ensues from placing modes or objects of inquiry together that might not traditionally fit, hip hop and feminism being only the most obvious example’ (2013: 724).  The disruptive possibilities of a feminist physical cultural studies sensibility offers a politics of multiplicity rather than dualistic thinking (masculine/feminine, mind/body, reason/emotion, culture/nature, work/leisure etc), becoming rather than boundedness, and creative articulations rather than essentialising re-presentations of gender difference.  As Butler (2014:8) posits, ‘the body is less an entity than a relation, and it cannot be fully dissociated from the infrastructural and environmental conditions of its living’. These concerns prompt us to ask, how is our gendered embodiment entangled with class, sexuality, ethnicity/race, disability, age, culture, religion through particular spaces and institutional contexts? And how can we continue to mobilize a visceral feminist politics of imagination (Pitts-Taylor, 2015; Latimer & Skeggs, 2011) to unsettle, reveal and create ways to think otherwise about gender responsive practices, policies, pedagogies, organizations and forms of knowledge?

Drawing from literatures across leisure, media, sport, physical activity, health, tourism and pedagogy, we position the performativity of gender as a central concern for thinking through the entanglement of physical and digital cultures, the flows and techniques of power as well as resistant formations of identity and difference. We invite conceptual and empirically oriented papers that explore a range of questions, such as,

    • how are our cultural experiences of physicality ‘gendered’ in the context of changing leisure practices, social formations and relations of power?
    • how do physical cultures work as performative sites that reiterate, and contest, normative notions of gendered personhood for women, transgender, gender fluid and masculine subjects?
    • how are gender relations refused and transformed through everyday experiences, feminist knowledges, re-presentations and ontologies of gendered embodiment?
    • how does a feminist PCS sensibility inform the theoretical articulations of ‘leisure’?
    • how are gender relations embodied and assembled through digital leisure cultures?
    • how can feminist physical cultural studies contribute to broader agendas about equity and inclusion in sport and leisure?
    • how does engagement in feminist physical cultural studies foster critical public pedagogy, community engagement and activist endeavours?

Please address any questions to one of the co-editors:

Deadline for submission of papers: 1 August 2017

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