Research Topic

Liminality and the Third Space of Sport, Leisure and Events

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic explores the role of liminality as a concept by which to examine contemporary experiences (and spaces) across sport, leisure and events. The realms separate from normal routines and practices, where people – temporarily – transition through the threshold from everyday life into “liminal spaces”: attractive places that provide a space between the known and the unknown. Liminal venues can afford unique opportunities for exercising autonomy and freedom from normative regulation in the relationships formed with leisure spaces. Previous work has explored the privacy they offer from sanction or limitations, and the sense of belonging they can offer to others who share in the leisure experience. Their position on the margins means that practices are omitted from normative management structures, planning, and governance which is part of their appeal yet renders them difficult to capture through research.

Festivals and events may also be experienced as liminal spaces for the sharing of world views and for spontaneous forms of communitas. The temporary nature of events encourages a distance from routines and practices of everyday life that can be transformational and it has been argued that event experiences should be carefully designed to enhance the liminality of the setting and help participants to disengage from their daily life. Liminality therefore offers an important lens in the context of increasing privatisation and commodification of public spaces through the use of events.

Liminal spaces are often boundary spaces, experienced not just as a setting but as a dynamic entity through which relationships are renegotiated, expressed and performed. In this Research Topic, we invite contributors to explore liminality to further understandings of the geographies of sport, leisure and events in relation to the following themes:

• Wellbeing and liminality
• Commodification and liminal spaces
• Identity and liminality
• Liminality and third place
• The politics and governance of liminal space
• Human nature relations and liminal sport, leisure, events
• Carnivals, festivals and liminality
• Transgressive leisure and edgework
• Quasi public spaces


Keywords: liminality, communitas, liminal space, public space, events


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

This Research Topic explores the role of liminality as a concept by which to examine contemporary experiences (and spaces) across sport, leisure and events. The realms separate from normal routines and practices, where people – temporarily – transition through the threshold from everyday life into “liminal spaces”: attractive places that provide a space between the known and the unknown. Liminal venues can afford unique opportunities for exercising autonomy and freedom from normative regulation in the relationships formed with leisure spaces. Previous work has explored the privacy they offer from sanction or limitations, and the sense of belonging they can offer to others who share in the leisure experience. Their position on the margins means that practices are omitted from normative management structures, planning, and governance which is part of their appeal yet renders them difficult to capture through research.

Festivals and events may also be experienced as liminal spaces for the sharing of world views and for spontaneous forms of communitas. The temporary nature of events encourages a distance from routines and practices of everyday life that can be transformational and it has been argued that event experiences should be carefully designed to enhance the liminality of the setting and help participants to disengage from their daily life. Liminality therefore offers an important lens in the context of increasing privatisation and commodification of public spaces through the use of events.

Liminal spaces are often boundary spaces, experienced not just as a setting but as a dynamic entity through which relationships are renegotiated, expressed and performed. In this Research Topic, we invite contributors to explore liminality to further understandings of the geographies of sport, leisure and events in relation to the following themes:

• Wellbeing and liminality
• Commodification and liminal spaces
• Identity and liminality
• Liminality and third place
• The politics and governance of liminal space
• Human nature relations and liminal sport, leisure, events
• Carnivals, festivals and liminality
• Transgressive leisure and edgework
• Quasi public spaces


Keywords: liminality, communitas, liminal space, public space, events


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

28 January 2020 Abstract
28 May 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

28 January 2020 Abstract
28 May 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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