Call | Sociology of Sport

Call for Papers | Sociology of Sport


João Sedas Nunes (FCSH-UNL)

Rahul Kumar (FEUC)

Daniel Seabra (UFP)

Since the late nineteenth century, sport became one of the most powerful markers of social identity and community representation. As a privileged terrain for the establishment of differences and boundaries between groups, for the affirmation of belonging and solidarity and for social and political mobilization, sport is an exceptional laboratory to analyse the transformations in power relations, in organisational models, in normative structures and in the subjectivation processes that mark the experiences of contemporary societies. This is largely the result of the constant tension between the principles of autonomy and heteronomy that have structured modern sport since its inception. It is not surprising, therefore, that the historical constitution of institutions, hierarchies and values specific to the sports field has never prevented it from being also a field in which the most diverse political and ideological programs have been projected and tested.

The Sociology of Sports Section of the Portuguese Sociological Association invites contributions that address sports practices, organizations and ideologies in dialog with the congress theme: «Heated identities: differences, belonging and populism in an effervescent world». Papers can focus on the historical changes of sports worlds from a wide range of objects: from the sphere of officially framed sports practices to the diffuse models of communication that reveal the sportivization of the social, that is to say the extension of the moral grammars and normative basis of different sports worlds to new social domains. We aim to identify and locate the transformative forces that shape contemporary and historical sports worlds in five major dimensions:

  1. The field of sports practices (the social distribution of sports practices, its cultural meanings, sports practice regulation models, etc.);
  2. The spaces of sport (The health club, the stadium, the home, etc.).
  3. The agents of sport (athletes, managers, fans, journalists, police, youtubers, etc.)
  4. Sports organizations and institutions (clubs, media, state, etc.)
  5. Sports cultures (fan cultures, professional cultures, the culturalization of sports, etc.)

The call is open to communications from all fields of the social sciences and humanities, but also from other non-academic institutions linked to the world of sport (eg. museums, market research, media, data analysis). We are particularly interested in research that seeks to interpret the processes of autonomous and heteronomic transformations of the sports world and in surveying the social forms that articulate the contemporary mutations of the sports field with: a) the production of inequalities (race, gender, class); b) the construction of identities (localism, regionalism, nationalism); c) political ideologies (how are political struggles played out in the sports field and what are the specific political stakes of sports); and, d) organizational reconfigurations (at state level, commodification, third sector, etc) in the context of a general decline of the institutional program.

Looking beyond the sociology of sport is a necessary step towards a more complete understanding of the contribution that this specific research field can make to contemporary methodological and theoretical debates in the social sciences. At the same time, this gesture may contribute to a clearer comprehension of the specificities of the sociology of sport . The challenges presented by the current political situation, but also the contemporary research landscape, make the articulation between sports as a social institution and other institutions of different social worlds, a particularly pressing and critical matter.

Proposals may be submitted in different forms: (a) classic individual or collective communication; b) panels that include, besides communications (a minimum of three and a maximum of four), a moderator and a debate facilitator; c) roundtables (with special emphasis on theoretical and methodological debates); d) discussion sessions of less conventional empirical objects and materials (polemics, films, photographs, soundscapes, etc). Posters and visual documents will be accepted as well short films or videos focused on research projects and interventions. These proposals, notwithstanding the differences between academic and non-academic contexts, should be formulated considering a theoretical framework, objectives, methodologies used, diagnosis, results and conclusions.

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