Informal sport and leisure, urban space and social inequalities: Editors’ Introduction

Sarah Neal, Bonnie Pang, Keith Parry, Clare Rishbeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


While informal sport may appear to be a poor relation of formal sport, participation in informal sport is now more popular than organised club sport. The special issue provides an opportunity to showcase international leisure studies research which variously explores the meaning and implications of informal sport as a growing form of collective leisure activity and the wider social affordances–and strains–of collective leisure practices. The Editors’ Introduction focuses on the ways in which informal sport and leisure depend on sometimes hard-won public (parks, city squares, designed leisure spaces) and reused incidental urban space (e.g. post-industrial areas). It sets out the ways in which informal sport and leisure involves marginalised and precarious urban populations, gives rise to co-ethnic and ethnically diverse identifications, secures senses of belonging and citizenship, is gender and age ex/inclusive and is attractive to policy actors. It outlines how the articles collected in the special issue address what are still under-examined aspects of the informal sport phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLeisure Studies
Early online date11 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Andy Smith and the Leisure Studies Editorial Team for all their support in bringing this special issue together. We would like to thank Allan Cochrane for comments on an earlier version of this Introduction. While this special issue predated our funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, we would like to acknowledge this award (ES/W008343/1) for our current research project which builds on the themes discussed here. Finally, we would like to thank each of the contributors who have made the special issue possible.


  • cities
  • Informal sport
  • leisure practices
  • social inequalities
  • social life
  • urban public space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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