Recreation, Tourism and Sport Specialty Group Sessions

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Proposed RTS Sessions  - AAG Meeting, Tampa, Florida - 8-12 April, 2014


(1) The Due Dates for submitting abstracts to the RTS Session Chairs is earlier than the due dates listed on the AAG website.  This is to give the session chairs time to collect all the information they need to finalize their sessions.
(2) You must first Register for the conference, then Submit your abstract to the AAG. 

(3) After you submit your abstract to the AAG, you will need send your AAG/Conference PIN (also called an "ID Number") to the session organizer(s).  The Session Organizer will use your pin to place you in their paper session.

(4) The AAG limits you to one paper presentation and one panel participation. Alternatively you may participate in two panels with no paper presentation. You may be a discussant in an unlimited number of session.
(5) TIPS for preparing and presenting your paper and Six Minutes - a blog with tips for effective presentations


(1) Each paper or panel session may have up to two organizers, and may have only one chair.
(2) Each paper or panel session is 100 minutes long.
(3) Paper Sessions consist of 5 papers or 4 papers and a discussant. Each paper is expected to conform to the 20-minute time limit.
(4) Panel Sessions consist of 4-10 participants. Formal presentations are not to be part of panel sessions.
(5) If you have a discussant who is not submitting an abstract, they can forward you their PIN as long as they has registered for the meeting first. Please collect these PIN numbers from your presenters and discussants and proceed to submit your session as soon as possible.

Please read the full notes for session organizers.


Session organised by:
Kevin Hannam, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
Gareth Butler, Flinders University, Australia
Philip Xie, Bowling Green University, United States

In 2004 Mimi Sheller and John Urry published their edited collection Tourism Mobilities: Places to play: Places in play (Routledge). Their conceptualisation of tourism mobilities argued that it is not just that tourism is a form of mobility, but that different mobilities inform and are informed by tourism. This call for papers seeks to examine and review how work in Tourism Mobilities has developed in the past ten years. Tourism mobilities has been examined in a variety of contexts since then, particularly in the journal Mobilities (Hannam, Sheller and Urry, 2006). Work has examined transformations in tourism governance (Newmeyer, 2008), tourism and biopower (Ek and Hultman, 2008), digital photography (Larsen, 2008), urban beaches (Gale, 2009), sightseeing buses (Farias, 2010), snowboarding cultures (Thorpe, 2012) and the impact of the Icelandic ash cloud on tourism (Benediktsson, 2011). This call for papers seeks work that will examine recent developments in tourism mobilities research. In particular, papers are sought which focus on the connections between material, transportational and technological innovations and leisure, tourism and everyday life, as well as other future research directions for tourism mobilities research.

For additional information please email either Kevin Hannam at<> or Gareth Butler at<>

2. RESILIENT CITIES: HOW TO REBOUND FROM CRISIS? (broader session but could include some tourism interests)

Session Organisers: Dimitri Ioannides & Patrick Brouder

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005 and then Hurricane Sandy impacted the northeastern US (including New York City) in November of 2012 many people in the United States took note. Disasters such as these are not something that only affects faraway places. They can strike at the core of global metropolitan areas, wreaking widespread devastation. It is not, however, only sudden events, which cause crises. Much has been made of the global economic crisis of the last few years, which has negatively affected numerous communities, some of which were already battling chronic decline associated with deindustrialization. For instance, Detroit has declared bankruptcy following decades of economic and political crisis. Meanwhile, residents in Athens, the host of the 2004 Olympics, have been facing massive unemployment and rising rates of homelessness as the city seems to have gone into a nosedive.

In response there are instances where people in some urban areas react by seeking innovative approaches to reinvigorate their livelihoods. Under the banner of “resilience” there are communities that have sought to identify and strengthen bottom-up approaches to reduce their dependence, for instance, on fossil fuels by encouraging more food production within their borders and less dependence on imports.

This session seeks to bring together a group of researchers to tell stories of resilience in urban communities from around the world. The aim of the session is to be comprehensive, encompassing, for instance, the following topics:

If you are interested in participating in this session please send a draft of your abstract to or on or before the 28th of September 2013.



Joint sponsored session by the AAG Recreation, Tourism & Sport Specialty Group and IGU Commission on Geography of Tourism, Leisure and Global Change

Session organisers: Jarkko Saarinen, University of Oulu (Finland); C. Michael Hall, University of Canterbury (New Zealand); Alison Gill. Simon Fraser University (Canada) 

Wilderness conjures up meanings and images referring to wild, remote, rough, free, empty and untrammelled natural areas. These landscapes are often considered to represent the last parts of ‘true’ nature, untouched by the modern world. In many respect, however, this is no longer true: wilderness areas have been explored, mapped and converted into administrative (conservation) management units. In many cases they are also promoted as products or as sites of consumption, which is most clearly in evidence in connection with the tourism industry. Year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the first US Wilderness Act, which has been an internationally influential reference point and also an important element in setting the governance structures for the wild and the use of wilderness in tourism and recreation. This session aims to examine the important but, at times, problematic nature of the wilderness and tourism relationship in various jurisdictions by discussing the past, current and future interplay between tourism and wilderness management. 

If you are interested in participating in the session: in addition to registering your abstract for the conference on the AAG website, please submit a copy to Jarkko Saarinen ( and Michael Hall ( no later than 30th of September 2013.  


Session Organizers: Rudi Hartmann, University of Colorado Denver (U.S.),
Philip Stone (Institute for Dark Tourism Research, University of Central Lancashire (U.K.)

The session invites a review of scholarly efforts made in the study of tourism to sites where violence, tragedy and disaster occurred. The Dark Tourism/Thanatourism approach is one of the leading research directions in this relatively new field. Initially proposed by Foley & Lennon and Seaton, ‘dark tourism’ scholarship has been advanced considerably over the past years. Stone who defines dark tourism as “the act of touristic travel to sites of or sites associated with death, disaster and the seemingly macabre” has contributed to the further conceptual foundation of the dark tourism approach. In an introductory paper, Stone will give an assessment of Dark Tourism Scholarship.

Submissions to the session will address, but are not limited, to the following topics:

If you are interested in participating in the session, please send an abstract to Rudi Hartmann, University of Colorado Denver: by Oct 10, 2013.

Further information on the topic of “Dark tourism scholarship” (Philip Stone) see forthcoming special issue Dark Tourism – New research published on attractions of death and disaster in International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 7 NO. 3 2013, and for a review of “Dark tourism, thanatourism and dissonance in heritage tourism management: new directions in contemporary tourism research” Rudi Hartmann, Journal of Heritage Tourism, 2013


I am putting together a session on tourism theory and welcome papers on that theme for the annual meetings. Please forward ideas/short abstracts to me by October 10 at so that I can get an idea of what topics might be involved. This session is in lieu of the previously posted session on Alienation/Authenticity.

Daniel Knudsen
Indiana University


Rural and peripheral communities have been, and are still being, established as outposts of capitalism and prosper through primary industries such as agriculture, mining, forestry, and fishing. Many communities, however, are facing long term negative socioeconomic trends due to a combination of endogenous changes (e.g., ageing population) and exogenous pressures (e.g., economic restructuring). Thus, many communities are forced to look beyond their traditional staple industries for new sources of development.

Rural geographers have begun to reconceptualise development so that it is no longer about sectoral development per se but about “place-based” community development through various economic sectors. By identifying local assets and harnessing these to pursue community development goals a whole new set of possibilities for endogenous development is created.

This session invites papers addressing community development and its contribution to rural resilience. Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

If you are interested in participating in this session please send a draft of your abstract to on or before the 9th of October 2013.


Joint session sponsored by the AAG Recreation, Tourism & Sport Specialty Group, the AAG Development Geographies Specialty Group, and the IGU Commission on Geography of Tourism, Leisure and Global Change

Session organisers: Regina Scheyvens (Massey University) and Tim Coles (University of Exeter)

The contribution of corporate enterprises to a more sustainable world is invariably embedded within the rhetoric of corporate responsibility. In the tourism sector there are a number of motivating factors which are encouraging businesses such as hotels and tour operators to embed greater responsibility in their business practices, including pressure from shareholders, tourism watchdog groups, consumers, environmental organisations, and host country governments. In response, tourism businesses have inter alia implemented environmental sustainability measures, examined their procurement strategies and training schemes, and contributed to social development programmes. Ideally such initiatives should lead to greater benefits for the peoples and environments in which tourism businesses operate; however, doubts persist about whether outcomes match rhetoric while a number of critical concerns have been raised about the motives and outcomes for apparently acting more responsibility. 

This session aims to examine ways in which tourism businesses are actively seeking to contribute to sustainable development, to probe the effectiveness of CSR activities, and to evaluate the nature of the partnerships tourism businesses are engaging in with the state and/or communities. Papers submitted for this session might address some of the following questions:
• What factors are motivating the shift towards more responsible business practices?
• What environmental, social or economic initiatives are tourism companies supporting in the name of corporate responsibility?
• How do these initiatives vary across international markets or geographical spaces and why?
• How might we conceptualise a shift from profit-driven business to more socially-oriented business, in particular as it relates to the changing nature of the state and the involvement of local communities?
• What opportunities and risks are associated with businesses playing a stronger role in ‘social good’ functions, such as community development?
• What influences the ability of the private sector to fulfil a community development role?
• What roles can communities play in effectively negotiating with tourism businesses: that is, how do they exert agency when partnering with the private sector?

We would be especially interested in receiving proposals dealing with larger travel and tourism ‘corporates’, although research on SMEs is also welcome. We are also interested in research on businesses from other sectors of economic activity that use travel and tourism-related initiatives as means of articulating a more responsible approach to their business.

If you are interested in participating in the session: in addition to registering your abstract for the conference on the AAG website, please submit a copy to Regina Scheyvens (, cc to Tim Coles ( no later than 20th October 2013.

9. POLITICAL ECOLOGY AND TOURISM: Concepts, Constructs and Practices

Co-sponsored session with the Culture and Political Ecology (CAPE), Indigenous Peoples (IP), and Cultural Geography (CG) specialty groups.

Given the complexities of natural resource processes, there is a need to examine the relationship between humans and the environment with a historical, political, social, and economic context at different scales (i.e., community, local, national, regional, global) (Springate-Baginski and Blaikie 2007; Zimmerer and Bassett 2003). As an interdisciplinary field, political ecology offers an integrated understanding of the dynamics and complexities of participation in community-based resource management programs (Robbins 2004). Political ecology states that unequal power relations inform access, control and distribution of natural resources (Bryant and Bailey 1997; Peet and Watts 2004).

Political ecology has been a dominant discourse in international conservation literature which focusses on power, ownership, indigenous and local control of natural resources, access and management, and other relevant issues. This discourse has been mainly advanced by scholars of geography, anthropology, and sociology, among others. Political ecology is greatly relevant to tourism, particularly as it relates to ecotourism, protected area tourism, indigenous peoples, and similar other nature and community-oriented travel and tourism. However, with the exception of Stonich (1998) and edited collection by Gössling (2003), very few tourism scholars have used political ecology as a lens to examine tourism-centric natural resource management issues.

This session proposes to bring together researchers interested in political ecology and its application to tourism. In particular, we are looking for papers addressing issues of power, ownership, and policies that determine the ways in which tourism development decisions are made and implemented. Furthermore, we also seek papers documenting the complex array of relationships between tourism stakeholders, including indigenous communities, and multiple scales of potential conflict and compromises. Please send your abstracts to either Sanjay Nepal ( or to Jarkko Saarinen no later than  October 20, 2013. Other formal dead-lines: Registration for the conference via the AAG Annual Meeting online submission portal by the 23rd of October 2013 (the early bird fee); final versions of abstracts to the AAG system submitted by the 3rd of December 2013 (see:

Bryant RL, Bailey S (1997) Third world political ecology. Routledge, New York
Gössling, S. (2003) Tourism and development in tropical islands: Political ecology perspectives. Edwar Elgar, Glos, UK
Peet R, Watts M (2004) Liberation ecologies: Environment, development, social movements. Routledge, New York
Robbins P (2004) Political ecology: A critical introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, MaldenSpringate-Baginski O, Blaikie P (eds) (2007) Forests, people and power: The political ecology of reform in South Asia. Earthscan, London
Stonich SC (1998) Political ecology of tourism. Annals of Tourism Research 25: 25-54.
Zimmerer KS, Bassett TJ (2003) Political ecology: An integrative approach to geography and environment-development studies. Guilford Press, New York


It is difficult to overstate the importance of tourism for the Southern United States.  Tourism often ranks among the most important industries both in terms of employment and in tax revenues in many parts of the region. Yet it is also an important field of study as a socio-cultural field and as a site where environmental concerns play themselves out. This paper session seeks to broadly explore geographical perspectives on tourism as it exists (and has existed) in the South.

For the purposes of this session, we are defining "the South" broadly to include both the South as cultural region, and the Southeast encompassing Florida.

Topic ideas might include, but are certainly not limited to:

The session organizer is William (Billy) Terry in geography and history at Clemson University. Interested scholars should address inquires and expressions of interest to Dr Terry at, and plan to forward a copy of their AAG abstracts, along with the PIN provided by AAG, to him by November 1. This proposed session is part of a broader initiative of the Study of the American South Specialty Group to highlight scholarship on the South during the Tampa meeting.


Parks and public spaces play a key role in the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of cities. Yet, often parks are not functioning at their highest potential. The ability of these spaces to provide various benefits is highly dependent on their social, spatial, built, and ecological context. This session explores multiple dimensions of public space to enhance understanding of these complex human-environment systems and inform planning and policy aimed at maximizing the contribution of parks to the sustainability of a city or region.

If you wish to contribute to this session please contact Dorothy Ibes as soon as possible. Final deadline for abstract submissions December 3rd.

Dorothy C. Ibes, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Teaching & Research Fellow, Environmental Science & Policy, College of William & Mary, Email:


Outdoor recreation and adventure tourism has become a major driver for sustainable local economic development.  Planning outdoor recreation requires problem formulation, development of goals and objectives, inventory of amenities, development of alternatives, selection and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.  This session will focus on showcasing planning techniques applied to trekking, trails, campgrounds, and adventure tourism.

If this session fits your paper, please contact: Dave Lemberg, Western Michigan University,