Call for Papers | “Understanding bluespaces: Sport, bodies, well-being, and the sea” | Special Issue of Journal of Sport and Social Issue. Call ends 31 August, 2018


  • Belinda Wheaton (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
  • Rebecca Olive (The University of Queensland, Australia)

While oceans and seas have long-been examined as spaces of historical, scientific and economic significance, there has been a growing socio-cultural interest in bluespace across a wide range of (inter)disciplinary areas. The term, bluespace, is commonly used to refer to ocean and fresh-water spaces (e.g. rivers and lakes), in contrast to green spaces which can be described as terrestrial spaces mostly covered in vegetation including parks, fields, and forest. Reflecting long-standing traditions of the seaside and coastlines as lifestyle and leisure destinations (e.g. thalassotherapy), bluespaces are promoted as beneficial for health and wellbeing (e.g. Bell, Phoenix & Wheeler, 2015), and it is to this oceanic focus that this Special Issue seeks to contribute.

When it comes to ‘sports’, which we conceptualise, loosely to include physical culture and leisure, interest in oceanic bluespaces has emerged through diverse recreational, commercial and governance practices, including (but certainly not limited to) fishing, surf sports, sailing, ocean and wild swimming, beach-combing, surf rescues, tourism, and diving (Anderson & Peters, 2016; Brown & Humberstone, 2015; Steinberg and Peters, 2015). Significantly, a growing number of projects explore experiences of physical activities and cultures in oceans not only through Western notions of health but through diverse cultural ways of knowing and being (Burdsey, 2016; Ingersoll, 2016; Wheaton, 2013). This research has challenged notions of oceans as ‘placeless’, highlighting that how we experience, access and manage bluespaces is no less specific to place than urban or green spaces, and is linked to, and embedded in history, community and identity.

In this Special Issue, we seek to explore the role of sport, physical activities and leisure in understanding oceanic bluespaces as fluid and yet emplaced in local/global politics, and playing a key role in how we understand, experience, access, and develop relationships to the sea and ocean, as well as to self, others and communities – human and more-than-human. To do so, we aim to bring together a conversation across multiple disciplinary areas of work on bluespaces, which may span local, national and transnational contexts, and are manifest across diverse recreational and commercial practices. The policy and practical applications of blue space range from environmental politics, planning and community development to public health and leisure/recreation management; we encourage papers that interrogate such applications, including the cultural politics and policy implications of access to, or exclusion from bluespaces.

Possible topics include:
  • Global and localised intersections of identity with bluespaces
  • Sensory experiences of bluespaces
  • Examinations of environmental, health and recreational politics, policy and governance
  • The use of bluespaces for livelihood
  • Oceanic forms of theory
  • Decentralise human experiences of bluespaces (postmaterialism and the Anthropocene)
  • The politics of access and belonging
  • Postcolonial politics of bluespace, place and identity
  • Bluespace experiences of women and LGBTIQ+ people
  • Bluespace communities
  • Critiquing romanticised notions of the sea (e.g. explore the anger, pollution, mismanagement and localism).
  • Researching Bluespace – questions of method and methodologies and the potential of new and creative methodologies.

All questions and correspondence to Belinda Wheaton: or Rebecca Olive:

Publication schedule
  • Call for papers: July 2018
  • Expression of interest due: 31 August 2018
  • Invitation to submit: September 2018
  • Full manuscript submission deadline: January 2019
  • Manuscripts returned to authors post review 1: March 2019
  • Revision process final drafts: 31 July 2019

Submission details: Papers should be no longer than 8,000 words. For details on style and formatting, please see the journal guidelines:

Anderson, J., & Peters, K. (Eds.). (2014). Water worlds: Human geographies of the ocean. London: Ashgate.
Bell, Phoenix, Lovell, & Wheeler. (2015). Seeking everyday wellbeing: The coast as a therapeutic landscape. Soc Sci Med., 142 (Oct), 56-67.
Brown, M., & Humberstone, B. (Eds.). (2015). Seascapes: Shaped by the sea. London: Ashgate.
Burdsey, D. (2016). Race, place and the seaside: Postcards from the edge. London: Springer.
Ingersoll, K. A. (2016). Waves of Knowing: A Seascape Epistemology. Durham: Duke University Press.
Steinberg, P., & Peters, K. (2015). Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33(2), 247-264
Wheaton, B. (2013). The cultural politics of lifestyle sports. Routledge.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.