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Call for Chapters: Children’s Leisure in Cross-cultural Perspective

Editor: Utsa Mukherjee, University of Southampton, UK

Abstract deadline: 12 July 2021

Proposals for chapters are invited for this forthcoming edited collection, which will be presented to Palgrave Macmillan for publication as part of their Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series. This book is aimed at inaugurating a new frontier of research within leisure studies; one that does not simply report findings about children’s everyday leisure but fosters a holistic understanding of children’s leisure from a cross-cultural perspective. It is underpinned by a commitment to a critical understanding of children’s leisure, built on a sustained dialogue between the two interdisciplinary fields of childhood studies and leisure studies. Such a conceptual collaboration between the two fields is particularly needed since existing studies on children’s leisure are either conducted by leisure researchers or by scholars working within childhood studies, with little cross-pollination of ideas or insights between the two blocks of literature. Moreover, leisure theory has historically been adult-centric and based in the Global North. Consequently, children’s lived experiences of leisure have remained marginal to theory building exercises within leisure studies since its inception. As the call for decolonizing leisure studies grows, this edited volume will champion a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary agenda that does not privilege Global North childhoods but acknowledges the multiplicity of lived childhoods across the globe and their inter-connections. Drawing attention to children’s leisure – across multiple genres such as organized leisure, sports, family-based leisure and digital leisure – and doing so from a holistic and comparative perspective has the potential to drive a new wave of research that speaks simultaneously to leisure studies and childhood studies, and contributes to key debates around leisure inequalities, children’s agency and social change.

We welcome scholars to think about children’s leisure geographies and experiences as situation social phenomenon and embed their analysis in wider considerations around the meanings and histories of leisure within their relevant social context. Contributors are particularly encouraged to consider how their empirical insights into children’s leisure and childhood leisure cultures can illuminate broader questions around leisure, consumption, power, social change, child-adult relations and children’s social status at both local and global scales. Engagement with both leisure theories and concepts from childhood studies is strongly encouraged. Whilst children’s leisure is often viewed through the lens of child development and wellbeing, we are interested in more critical and historicized understanding of what leisure in general and children’s leisure in particular means in a given context? What sets of social relations and power dynamics are produced within children’s leisure spaces? How do children make sense of, create meaning around and negotiate leisure geographies and concomitant power relations? How are global capital and consumer markets shaping children’s leisure cultures? What role does leisure play in children’s participation and
everyday citizenship practices? How are leisure spaces mobilised by children as sites of resistance?

We are keen to receive contributions from across Social Sciences and Humanities that focus on childhoods in the Global South as well as minoritized, indigenous and marginalized childhoods in the Global North. Chapters might revolve around, but by no means restrict themselves to, the following thematic areas:

  • Children’s leisure and social inequalities
  • Leisure-based parenting/grandparenting practices
  • Children’s leisure and global capital
  • Children’s right to leisure
  • Gendering and children’s leisure
  • Race, (post)colonialism, and children’s leisure
  • Comparative study of children’s leisure cultures
  • Children’s leisure and social justice
  • Leisure, participation, and children’s lived citizenship
  • Leisure and children’s personal relationships
  • Meanings of play and changing play cultures
  • Leisure industries and provisions for children’s leisure services
  • Disability and leisure
  • Digital leisure
  • Post-human approaches to children’s leisure
  • Leisure and child-animal relations
  • Embodiment, body work and children’s leisure
  • State policy, education, and children’s leisure
  • COVID-19 pandemic and children’s leisure


Submission of abstract of no more than 300 words alongside short author bio to Utsa Mukherjee (u.mukherjee@soton.ac.uk) by 12th July 2021
Notification of acceptance by 2nd August 2021
Submission of full chapter of 8,000 words (including references) by 1st March 2022


Please direct all informal queries about the proposed edited collection to the editor Utsa Mukherjee (u.mukherjee@soton.ac.uk).

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

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