CfP Mobile Lives: Migration, Migrants and Meaningful Leisure

Special Issue Call for Papers for the Journal Leisure Studies:

Mobile Lives: Migration, Migrants and Meaningful Leisure

Editors: Diana Mata-Codesal (University of Deusto-UNAM), Esther Peperkam (University of Breda) & Nina Clara Tiesler (University of Lisbon)


Migrants are frequently perceived through the conceptual lens of their mobility and work-related activities. In this special issue we want to draw attention to another important dimension of migrants’ lives: their leisure activities. So far, scholars have paid little attention to migrants’ leisure (as rare exceptions see for instance, Juniu, 2000; Liu Farrer, 2004; Stodolska and Almeida Santos, 2006). On the other hand, in contemporary societies leisure has become the domain of intensive identity work (Rojek, 2009) and constitutes a potential space for leading a meaningful life (Blackshaw, 2010). Migrants are not an exception. The meaningfulness of leisure for migrants goes beyond issues of coping and adapting. It also involves issues of self-realization and self-expression. Topics like making a living in a new social environment, coping with discrimination, and adapting to a new circumstances have received prominent attention in the study of migration. However, when migrants’ leisure is studied, it is usually from an instrumental perspective, i.e. how leisure can contribute to coping and adapting to a new environment. As we would like to argue, leisure has much broader significance and should be studied in its own right. It is a realm where emotional closeness (or distance) to people from the host society can be crafted. It is also the sphere to look for continuities and changes in migrants’ lives. This special issue will look at the ways in which migrants’ leisure activities (e.g. leisure travelling, sports, hobbies, gastronomy and other forms of consumption) contribute to their identity and help them to render their changing worlds meaningful. We can also expect that the precariousness of the situation of many migrants brings out the importance of leisure for leading meaningful lives even more than for non-migrants, providing even stronger arguments for the positive contributions of leisure to human life.

The aim of this special issue is to encourage critical discussions on the role of leisure in migrants’ lives. In this special issue of Leisure Studies we aim to include theoretically and methodologically diverse articles on the topic and include a brief introduction by the three guest editors. Short reviews are also invited.

The topics covered in this special issue could include the following, although the list is not exhaustive:

  • Continuity and change in leisure practices between migrants’ origin and destination places
  • The role of social networks in the choice of migrants’ leisure activities
  • Leisure and gender in migratory contexts
  • Conceptualizations of the collisions between work and leisure in migrancy
  • The spatial and temporal framework of migrants’ leisure activities
  • Leisure and identity
  • Leisure and memory
  • Politicization of leisure in diasporic settings
  • Constraints faced by – and empowerment of – migrants through certain leisure activities
  • The role of leisure for migrant youth (e.g. sport)
  • Cultural encounters in leisure: aspects of segregation, interculturality, and shifting gender perceptions
  • Transnational leisure pursuits; leisure commodities as social remittances

We welcome contributions from any discipline and covering any geographical scope and migrant group.



Blackshaw, T. (2010) Leisure. New York: Routledge.

Coleman, S. & T. Kohn (eds.) (2007), The Discipline of Leisure: Embodying Cultures of ‘Recreation’. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Juniu, S. (2000) ‘The Impact of Immigration: Leisure Experience in the Lives of South American Immigrants’, Journal of Leisure Research 32(3): pp.358-381.

Liu Farrer, G. (2004) ‘The Chinese Social Dance Party in Tokyo. Identity and Status in an Immigrant Leisure Subculture’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 33(6): pp.651-674.

Rojek, C. (2009) The Labour of Leisure. The Culture of Free time. London: Sage.

Stodolska, M., and Almeida Santos, C. (2006) ‘Transnationalism and Leisure. Mexican Temporary Migrants in the US’, Journal of Leisure Research 38(2): pp.143-167.

Tiesler, N.C. & J.N. Coelho (eds.) (2008) Globalized Football: Nations and Migration, the City and the Dream. London, New York: Routledge.

Tiesler, N.C. & N. Bergano (2012) ‘Cultural attachments among Portuguese in Germany: Football and cuisine as platforms for international encounters’ (in Portuguese), Etnográfica, XVI (1): 117-142.