Call for Abstracts | “Publicly Engaged Sociology of Sport” | North American Society of the Sociology of Sport Annual Conference, November 2–5, 2016, Tampa Bay, Florida


On behalf of the 2016 Conference Committee (Beth Cavalier, Amanda Curtis, Algerian Hart, Brian Gearity, Matthew Hawzen, David Karen, Joshua Newman, Dale Sheptak, Maureen Smith, and Nancy Spencer), it is my pleasure to distribute the Call for Abstracts, which you can also find on the NASSS website. I am confident that you will agree the organizers have developed creative, thought-provoking, and timely sessions. As the conference organizer, I look forward to an engaging and meaningful conference. I appreciate all the session organizers who offered their time to create sessions. Thank you!

Please review the session descriptions on the NASSS website. Abstract authors are strongly encouraged to submit to one of the organized sessions. However, for authors who do not see their paper fitting in with one of the organized sessions, there is also the option to submit to an “open” session – for paper presentations or roundtables. Authors submitting to an “open” session are asked to indicate if they are willing to serve as an organizer and/ or moderator of a session. The conference organizer and committee will do their best to ensure abstracts find an appropriate home.

Due to time, space, and scheduling constraints, we ask that authors submit only one abstract as first author. Authors who wish to submit more than one abstract may do so provided they are not the first author on subsequent abstract submission(s). Abstract authors submitting to multiple sessions (and organizers of multiple sessions) should be prepared well in advance of the conference to have a collaborator or colleague present or moderate should there be a scheduling conflict.

In addition, the conference organizer will not be able to accommodate specific requests or preferences regarding time or date of a session or paper. As such, session organizers, moderators, and presenters/ authors are expected to be available for the duration of the time when conference sessions are scheduled.  Sessions begin in the morning on Thursday, November 3 (typically around 8 am) and end in the afternoon on Saturday, November 5 (typically around 5 pm). There will always be someone who is first, and someone who is last. Your understanding regarding the tremendous work that is involved in organizing the conference is much appreciated by the conference organizer and committee! All considerations will be made to schedule sessions in accordance with the topics of each session, so sessions do not compete with each other for those with similar academic interests. However, due to limited time and space, this sometimes may occur.

Conference Theme: Publicly Engaged Sociology of Sport

Inspired by recent momentous cultural events, the conference theme questions and considers the role of sport sociology and sport sociologists in public engagement. In the context of growing economic inequality, we see public money being siphoned into private stadiums within professional sport, corruption within international sporting organizations, and U.S. college coaches being the highest paid employees in state institutions within ‘amateur’ sport. In a time of continued and deadly racial violence, sport remains segregated and stratified in terms of sports, positions, and particularly in terms of positions of power. Even as girls and women demonstrate unflagging interest in sport in all levels and types, they are still recognized primarily for how they look rather than for what they can accomplish. We have witnessed marriage equality for all people in the United States and many places around the world, regardless of sexuality, yet ‘out’ gay male athletes remain rare in the highest levels of sport. We watch technology transform the athletic possibilities of those with a variety of physical impairments, at the same time that access to sport participation remains a barrier. Importantly, as we know, none of these brief examples work in isolation of the others. The clear, and also submerged, intersections offer fruitful examinations in much of the work that we do within our field. As Don Sabo (1995) noted in his NASSS presidential address, “Sport sociologists from the political left to the political right are embroiled by the politics of knowledge construction, and our myriad identities as theorists and researchers bring us closer to, or push us further from, the concerns and needs of community” (p. 248). Thus, what is our role beyond the study of sport? Who should be responsible for public engagement? How do we do it?


While much of our work becomes public through publication or presentation, how accessible is our work, both in terms of the language we use and where our work appears? How civically and politically engaged are we in our various publics? How much does our work inform public policies? Are our voices being heard through the media outlets from which most people gain their information? What are our moral obligations? As journalist Dave Zirin (2008) argued, in “Calling Sport Sociology off the Bench,” “The athletic industrial complex keeps throwing pitch after juicy pitch down the middle of the plate. It’s time for sports sociologists to get the bats off their shoulders and begin to shape debates within the sports world.”

In keeping with the conference theme, sessions may highlight examples of successful public engagement or areas where we might more fruitfully expand our reach. Examples of publicly engaged sociology of sport include many different approaches, such as: activism, sport for peace and development, social work, critical coaching, critical pedagogy, centers (e.g. for the sociological study of sport or for influencing public policy), engagement with the media, self authored media (e.g. blogging), and others. Session organizers are welcome to engage the theme in creative and innovative ways. This call will generate session topics for conference participants to choose from during the Call for Abstracts in April. Session organizers for included sessions are responsible for accepting or declining participants to their sessions.


Deadline for submission of abstracts to session organizers is June 30, 2016. Session organizers will notify authors of abstract acceptance by July 15, 2016. Session organizers will submit completed sessions (4–5 papers each) to the conference organizer, Theresa Walton-Fisette at, by July 15, 2016.


Abstracts should include the name, institutional affiliation, and email address of the author/s; a title (no more than 10 words); and a brief abstract (200 words maximum) that describes the presentation and ideally how the session fits into the conference theme. Please submit abstracts to the appropriate session organizer via the online submission system (do not send abstracts directly to session organizers via email). Follow this link for a list of session descriptions. To submit your abstract please do so via the online submission system. For open session abstract submissions, please submit abstracts to the Conference Committee Chair via the “OPEN” session options (last session listed in the drop down menu).

Tampa Bay +1

In partnership with the Diversity and Conference Climate Committee Chair, Dr. Algerian Hart, the 2016 Conference Committee is pleased to announce the continuation of the +1 program in Tampa Bay. The goal of this initiative is to expand the audience for the NASSS conference and to our community of scholars to those who have never attended the NASSS conference or who have not attended for some time. Members are encouraged to contact or bring a +1; this can be a colleague, student, peer, or friend who has never attended a NASSS conference. Invite your +1 to participate/submit/present at the conference. As you are considering submitting an abstract, we encourage you to distribute the announcements and Call for Abstracts to your networks, and send an invitation to submit an abstract to your +1.

Theresa Walton-Fisette, PhD
Associate Professor
President-Elect, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport & Conference Committee Chair
School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
264F Gym Annex, Kent State University
350 Midway Dr., Kent, OH 44266
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