Skip to navigation – Site map

HomeCall for papersCall for papers - open“ The leisure park, a globalized ...

“ The leisure park, a globalized model of leisure/tourism? ”


Image 10000201000002A5000000C98FCF583E51B9DB27.png

Date of submission of abstracts (French or English): April 1, 2022

Date of submission of texts: July 1, 2022

Scheduled publication: 2023

Coordination of the issue: Sophie Didier, Gustave-Eiffel University, Lab'URBA

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland Paris (1992), the launch of this call for articles for the journal Téoros wishes to revisit, from a critical perspective, the "leisure park" object and its particular place in the dissemination of globalized modes of production, management, and practice of leisure/tourism, in order to question its ubiquitous global spread.

The leisure park object invariably refers to an enclosed space and therefore to a certain model of controlled environment, and this is particularly true of so-called "theme" parks produced around a narrative that structures the experience of visitors as much as the organization of the space. However, the leisure park remains an object with vague contours whose definition fluctuates according to the nature of the leisure/tourism facilities offered within its boundaries; in France, for example, the category includes large-scale animal parks sometimes associated with fairground attractions (Beauval, le Pal, Marineland d'Antibes, and the like); theme parks with an entertainment vocation (Disneyland Paris, Parc Astérix, etc.); theme parks with an educational vocation (Futuroscope, Vulcania, among others); and amusement parks (water parks, parks featuring rides, etc.). This diversity of meanings also reflects the systematic hybridization of models and techniques associated with the various leisure parks, under the influence in particular of theming techniques largely rehashing those of the Walt Disney Company.

These parks were pure products of the industrial revolution and urbanization of the end of the 19th century, and their origins are well known in the United States (Kasson, 1978; Csergo, 1995; Marling, 1997). Above all, their principle has been widely disseminated globally since the turn of the 21st century outside Europe and North America. This period has also seen the consolidation of European tourism companies that are very active in the sector, both nationally and internationally (Merlin Entertainments and Parques Reunidos, both of which operate in their home countries but also elsewhere, notably in Dubai). The global spread of amusement parks has in fact accompanied the rise of emerging countries on the tourism scene (Ghimire, 2013), as evidenced by the arrival of major Chinese tour operators in the global ranking of heavyweights in the amusement park sector (Chimelong, OCT Parks, and the like). In terms of worldwide attendance at theme parks, while the major "historic" U.S. parks (Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida) still dominate the rankings (even during the COVID period!), their Asian counterparts are now nipping at their heels. Similarly, in the water park category, the top spots in the world rankings in terms of attendance are held by parks in Brazil, Dubai, and China.

This raises the central question of the transfer and adaptation of the leisure park model to globalized urban societies. The transfer trend was already in the making in the 1990s with regard to the spread of the Walt Disney Company's parks, and the question of the subtle cultural adaptation carried out in these new Disneylands was part of the more general problem of cultural globalization (Raz, 1999). It echoed the French polemic of the 1980s, which described the Walt Disney Company as an "invader" and saw in the Disneyland Paris project a real threat of cultural "coca-colonization" of France (Cazes, 1988). Also, the question of cultural adaptation met with a strong critique of global standardization and anomie, exemplified through the concept of Disneylandization discussed by the anthropologists of modernity (Augé, 1992). The latter interpretation ultimately encountered an analysis that questioned more generally, with the development of theme parks, the advent of a new form of globalized capitalism associated with a sector of activity, leisure/tourism, in a form that was unprecedented in its kind and in the power of its operators (Zukin, 1991; The Project on Disney, 1995).

With the hindsight of thirty years, and the recent globalized spread of the above-mentioned model, we therefore expect this issue to take stock of the trivialization of the leisure park model, and of what this trivialization says about both the practices and the management of leisure/tourism associated with it.

Three main areas of reflection may be addressed by proposed contributions:

- The first, certainly the most worked on so far, relates to the connection of leisure parks, insular objects par excellence, with their host territories (Didier, 2000; Baron and Clavé, 2014; Picon-Lefebvre, 2015). This connection engages reflections in terms of local development and urban planning, but also of the redistribution of tourism benefits. This issue of redistribution is indeed increasingly raised since the turn of our century by social movements contesting park projects or their potential extensions. Here again, the Disney park vision eclipses all other perspectives, especially when the analysis relies on a strong critique of the Walt Disney Company's influence in local public affairs (Fogelsong, 1999; Didier, 2000). In the end, little is known about leisure parks with more local ambitions in their target markets and the way in which they participate in local planning, in Europe or elsewhere. Thus, in the context of emerging countries, we might expect contributions on the role of leisure parks in the urbanization of peripheral areas, as shown by the examples of Egypt (Cairo) and, more recently, Vietnam (Florin, 2005, Peyvel and Gibert, 2012).

- The second axis refers to the very structure of tourism/leisure-related companies acting as park operators or subcontractors for the production of attractions and services offered therein. In fact, park operators act within a field of specific constraints: due to their economic model requiring repeat visits, amusement parks are particularly required to renew the attractions offered to the public, and therefore to reinvest between 10 and 30% of their turnover in the renewal of their infrastructures (Bennet, 2018). By examining the amusement park as a sector of economic activity, we can measure the capture of this form of leisure/tourism by large globalized firms, as well as the technological dependence that can be exerted in this sector for the attractions most linked to technological progress, but also in the context of animal parks for the acquisition and management of animals. The vulnerability of the sector can be addressed here, particularly in relation to the recent COVID pandemic, but also concerning human resource issues, again highlighted with regard to the Walt Disney Company parks and the strike movements that regularly affect them.

- The third axis refers to a more anthropological reading of this spread and what it means in terms of the generalization of a taste for controlled environments. Thirty years after the establishment of Disneyland Paris, no one in France speaks out against Disney the invader, and amusement parks in general are an integral part of the landscape of French leisure practices: in any case, this is the finding of the recent book for the general public La France sous nos yeux. Économie, paysages, nouveaux modes de vie (France before our eyes: Economy, landscapes, new lifestyles, Fourquet and Cassely, 2021), which also reviews the success of the Beauval and Le Pal animal parks. From a methodological point of view, this shift also questions the ability of researchers to grasp the transformation of customer consumption patterns and its translation by leisure/tourism businesses. In the Global South, while it seems easy to establish a link between the rise of the urban middle classes and the spread of the leisure park model, there is no reason to assume a priori that practices will be standardized. The case of Cairo is again enlightening from this point of view, since it shows that the leisure parks associated with the peripheral urban production of compounds contribute to the provision of spaces of freedom for middle-class youth in relation to traditional urban public spaces (Florin, 2005). Conversely, however, for the Vietnamese case of privatized leisure compounds, Emmanuelle Peyvel and Marie Gibert (2012) speak of a form of control over the urbanity of the clientele, through the spatial and social ordering of city uses that these compounds represent. Other examples of this question of cultural appropriation of the model would therefore be welcome from this perspective.

See the bibliography at the end of the document.

Proposal conditions

Authors must send a manuscript written in French or in English, presented according to the rules of the journal, available at

The texts submitted, in Word format (no PDF), must be approximately 7,000 to 8,000 words long and must include:

the full names of all authors (maximum of three)

their main title and affiliation (only one affiliation)

their email and postal address

a summary of no more than 150 to 200 words in French and in English

identification of the discipline or disciplines of study

a list of keywords (maximum of five)

Téoros has an international readership. Authors are invited to take this reality into account in the presentation of their case studies in order to make them accessible to readers who are less familiar with the destination studied.


Authors are invited to provide three or four copyright-free, high-resolution (300 dpi) illustrations, indicating clearly the picture caption and the name of the photographer.

Originality of the study

Manuscripts submitted for publication in Téoros must make an original scientific contribution. Authors remain responsible for the content and opinions expressed as well as data correction and bibliographic references.

For more information:

Editorial Policy (french) :

Proposal guideline (french) :

The deadline to submit an abstract (in the language of the paper) is April 1, 2022

The deadline to submit a text is July 1, 2022

Text proposals must be sent to the journal at:

Kindly write “Tourism and parc” in the subject line.

Téoros, Journal of Tourism Research

The Téoros journal acknowledges the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Aid to Scholarly Journals program), Fonds de recherche du Québec Société et Culture (programme d’aide aux publications scientifiques) (Quebec research fund for society and culture) (scientific publications assistance program), School of Management of Université du Québec à Montréal, the Department of Urban Studies and Tourism.

Director: Dominic Lapointe, Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal

Co-editor in chief: Julia Csergo, Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal

Co-editor in chief: Romain ROULT, Professor, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières


Augé, Marc, 1992, Non-lieux : introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité, Paris, Seuil.

Baron, Nacima et Salvador Anton Clavé, 2014, « Leisure Parks: Components and Creators of the New Urban Landscapes? », Loisir et Société / Society and Leisure, vol. 37, no 1, p. 18-37.

Bennet, Arnaud, 2018, « Les sites et parcs de loisirs ne rencontrent pas de difficulté de financement particulière », Espaces, no 344, 4 p.

Cazes, Georges, 1988, « Les grands parcs de loisirs en France. Réflexions sur un nouveau champ de recherches », Travaux de l’Institut géographique de Reims, nos 73-74, p. 57-89.

Csergo, Julia, 1995, « Extension et mutation du loisir citadin, Paris XIXe siècle–début XXe siècle », dans Alain Corbin (dir.), L’avènement des loisirs : 1850-1960, Paris, Aubier, p. 121-168.

Didier, Sophie, 2000, Une île dans la ville ? Invention, négociation et mise en pratique du modèle Disney à Anaheim, Californie, 1950-2000, thèse de doctorat en géographie, Université Paris I.

Florin, Bénédicte, 2005, « Vivre en parallèle ? L’évolution des villes nouvelles du Grand Caire », Les Annales de la recherche urbaine, no 98, p. 97-105.

Fogelsong, Richard E., 1999, « Walt Disney World and Orlando: Deregulation as a Strategy for Tourism », dans Dennis R. Judd et Susan S. Fainstein (dir.), The Tourist City, New Haven, Yale University Press, p. 89-106.

Top of page
  • Logo UQAM | École des sciences de la gestion
  • DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • OpenEdition Journals
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search