“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. The way of life is wonderful. It is by abandonment.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1951, Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson: first and second series complete in one volume, p.227
My interest in space, travel, and the everyday practices of people led me from a consideration of homes and tourism to a study of leisure and how performing specific leisure practices necessitates repetitive travel. Though terms such as ‘hobby’ have often been used to make light of its importance and seriousness, leisure is a widespread and complex arena of social involvement. By referring to leisure practices as ‘enthusiasms’, I acknowledge that people’s passion for everything from soccer to amateur dramatics is both significant, and contributes to the establishment of highly organized social practices with their own motivations, goals, objects, and skills. This passion can literally take people places – sparking travel within everyday spheres as well as more distant holidays. While abandoning oneself to leisure travel can be very fulfilling, it also has important consequences. I suggest that the relationship between travel and leisure practices has significant implications for how we understand consumption, social change and sustainability.
My PhD project at Lancaster University, which was supervised by John Urry and Elizabeth Shove, examined the relationship between social practices and the multiple mobilities of people, objects, images, and skills. Through a qualitative study of four leisure pursuits – Ashtanga yoga, leisure walking, birdwatching and patchwork quilting – I explored how the goals, skills, events and performances of these activities depend upon specialized patterns of travel. Using examples from these cases, I develop new concepts for addressing how social practices and mobilities are intertwined, and thereby contribute to discussions within theories of practice (Bourdieu, Schatzki, Reckwitz), the new mobilities paradigm (Sheller and Urry), anthropology (Ingold) and time-geography (Hägerstrand).
Commonwealth Scholarship Award (competitive international research funding) – £71,000 GBP
British Sociological Association Support Fund – £250 GBP
Lancaster University FASS PGR Conference Travel Fund – £250 GBP
William Ritchie Travel Fund Grant – £150 GBP
Lancaster University Department of Sociology Travel Grant – £250 GBP
Hui, A (2015). Moving with practices: the discontinuous, rhythmic and material mobilities of leisure. In O.B. Jensen (ed.), Mobilities: Volume IV Power, politics, and tourism (Critical Concepts in the Built Environment) (Chapter 81). London: Routledge. [This is a republished version of my 2013 article in Social and Cultural Geography]
Hui, A. (2014). Enthusiasm. In P. Adey, D. Bissell, K. Hannam, P. Merriman and M. Sheller (eds.) The Routledge handbook of Mobilities. London, Routledge, 172-182.
Hui, A. (2013). Moving with practices: the discontinuous, rhythmic and material mobilities of leisure, Social and Cultural Geography 14(8): 888-908. publisher’s site. [For those without institutional access, a limited number of copies can be downloaded for free, and this is the Hui 2013 SCG Author’s Accepted Version]
Hui, A. (2013). Practices, movement and circulation: implications for sustainability. In E. Shove and N. Spurling (eds.) Sustainable practices: social theory and climate change. London, Routledge, 89-102.
Hui, A. (2012). “Thing in motion, things in practices: how mobile practice networks facilitate the travel and use of leisure objects.” Journal of Consumer Culture 12(2): 195-215. publisher’s site; accepted version
Hui, A. (2011). Enthusiasts’ travel: mobilities and practices. Sociology. Lancaster, Lancaster University. PhD thesis.
Hui, A. (2008). Consuming spaces differently: tourism, people, memories, and ghosts. In B. Braasch (ed.), CTCC Research Papers: Major Concepts in Tourism Research – Memory (pp. 9-20). Leeds: Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change. published online
Hui, A (2012). Travelling communities: reflections on researching patchwork quilting. The Quilter (quarterly magazine of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles) No. 131, Summer, 20-21. publisher’s site; published version [This article appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of The Quilter, the membership magazine of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles: www.quiltersguild.org.uk.]
Hui, A (guest). (2009). Leisure Pleasure. Thinking Allowed, Laurie Taylor (host), BBC Radio 4. (17 June). available online
Hui, A. (2012). ‘Propelled by enthusiasm: Using the everyday leisure travel of bird watching and patchwork quilting to re-think patterns of contemporary mobility’, David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies Seminar, HKBU, Hong Kong (25 April).
Hui, A. (2011). ‘Enthusiasts’ travel: future mobilities, future practices’, 2nd New Zealand Mobilities Symposium: Mobilities and Neighbourhoods, Massey University, New Zealand, via video conference (15 July).
Hui, A. (2011). ‘Circulation and mobility: elements of quilting’, Cartographies of Innovation, Lancaster University, UK (28 June).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘Attributing and locating cultures of mobility: using theories of practice to frame new visions of travel, culture and change’, Cosmobilities Conference: Cultures of mobilities: everyday life, communication, and politics, Aalborg, Denmark (28 October).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘But how did the elements get here? The affect of technologies of circulation on practices’, European Association for the Study of Science and Technology Conference, University of Trento, Italy (3 September).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘Sustainable circulation: moving elements and practices towards a low carbon future’, Climate Change and Transitions in Practice Symposium, Lancaster University, UK (6 July).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘Travelling enthusiasts, or enthusiastic travel? Shifting perspectives on mobilities through a dialogue with theories of practice’, Lancaster Sociology Summer Conference, Lancaster University, UK (28 June).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘Following elements of leisure: the interrelated mobilities of things, people, and practices’, Centre for Mobilities Research Day, Lancaster University, UK (26 May).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘Innovative careers of leisure: novelty through the lens of practice theory’, Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, Washington DC, USA (15 April).
Hui, A. (2010). ‘Following elements of leisure: the interrelated mobilities of things, people, and practices’, British Sociological Association’s Annual Conference, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK (8 April).
Hui, A. (2009). ‘Crafting mobility careers: following the performance practices of enthusiasts’, Lancaster Sociology Summer Conference, Lancaster University, UK (1 July).
Hui, A. (2009). ‘Mobilizing practices: tracing the spatial footprints of enthusiasms’, British Sociological Association’s Annual Conference, Cardiff City Hall, UK (17 April).
Hui, A. (2008). ‘Imagining and composing histories: reuniting the isolated consumption and tourist practices of enthusiasts’, Lancaster Sociology Summer Conference, Lancaster University, UK (8 July).
Hui, A. (2008). ‘Consuming spaces differently: mobilities, enthusiasts, memories, and ghosts’, Centre for Mobilities Research Day, Lancaster University, UK (23 May).
Hui, A. (2008). ‘Consuming spaces differently: tourism, people, memories, and ghosts’, Major Concepts in Tourism Research: Memory workshop, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK (17 April).
Hui, A. (2008). ‘Producing to consume: experiences, tourists, and temporality’, Major Concepts in Tourism Research: Experience workshop, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK (13 March).