Critical Race Theory and Social Justice Perspectives on Whiteness, Difference(s) and (Anti)racism: A Fourth Wave of Race Research in Leisure Studies

By Arai, Susan; Kivel, B. Dana | Journal of Leisure Research, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Critical Race Theory and Social Justice Perspectives on Whiteness, Difference(s) and (Anti)racism: A Fourth Wave of Race Research in Leisure Studies


Arai, Susan, Kivel, B. Dana, Journal of Leisure Research


At the close of another decade on race and ethnicity research we are pleased to introduce this special issue on critical race theory and social justice perspectives on whiteness, difference(s) and (anti)racism in leisure studies. When we sent out the call for papers for this special issue of the Journal of Leisure Research (JLR), it seemed that leisure studies was entering more fully into a fourth wave of race research. At the 2008 George Butler Lecture, Mary McDonald's keynote address critiqued whiteness as it operates in the study and practice of leisure, noting the contribution of this critical perspective for understanding racism in leisure. This critique was subsequently published at the start of this year (JLR volume 41, issue 1). McDonald (2009) explained that whiteness constitutes "institutional discourses and exclusionary practices Seeking social, cultural, economic and psychic advantage for those bodies racially marked as white" (p. 9). Responses to McDonald's lecture were provided by Nina Roberts, Kim Shinew and Corey Johnson. To continue this dialogue we invited manuscripts that would address issues of social justice and antiracism, and shed light on emerging perspectives on whiteness. We invited responses to McDonald's (2009) paper that would raise questions and interrogate the production of identities and interactions within leisure that further ideologies of whiteness and de-center or marginalize people of color. We also sought insights into the use of emerging theoretical frameworks--whiteness, critical race theory--that in combination with shifting research paradigms might better address issues of race and social justice. Our hope was that the papers would take up issues of difference(s) including questions concerning how leisure affords a space for resistance and the mobilization of power in the lives of people of color, and how issues of racism intersect with other markers of identity--sexuality, gender, class and disability-to influence leisure experiences. Working within a social justice framework and with an eye on social change, we also hoped that the papers would also address issues of public policy, and/or managerial policies and practices that shape leisure spaces. We also challenged leisure scholars to consider the implications of race and racism for leisure spaces (i.e., spaces as racialized and/or segregated), leisure service provision and resources (who is privileged, how that influences the distribution of programs and types of services), policies, and research (how it reifies racial essentialism).

In total, we received 11 manuscripts in response to this call for papers. We were buoyed by the wealth of scholarship around race that is being conducted in leisure studies. It also takes a community to see a special issue move into print. We would like to thank everyone who assisted us with the peer review process including: Lisbeth Berbary, Drew Cavin, Fern Delamere, Rudy Dunlap, Beth Erickson, Brett Lashua, CoreyJohnson, Steve Lewis, Susan Hutchison, Harvey Lemelin, Heather Mair, Mary McDonald, Rasul Mowatt, Trent Newmeyer, Don Reid, Diane Samdahl, Erin Sharpe, Greg Shaw, Sue Shaw, Susan Tirone, Dawn Trussel, and Felice Yuen. Some of the reviewers are also authors, but we felt it was important to identify a mix of scholars for this special issue. The reviewers all possessed a particular area of expertise in relation to the manuscripts submitted, with some having a longer history in leisure studies and others contributing to the emergence of new voices. We would also like to thank Kim Shinew and the editorial board of JLR for their support of this special issue.

As we began to review previous research, we looked to Floyd (2007), who had reviewed the history of race in leisure studies and identified three distinct waves of research emerging in the 1970s, 1980s and late 1990s respectively. Floyd argued that we are anticipating a "fourth wave" of scholarship on race. In this special issue we contend that we are moving more fully into this fourth wave of race research in leisure studies. …

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