Call for Contributions | “Science and Sport” | Special issue of Sport in Society

Guest editors:

Bosse Carlsson, Malmö University
Kutte Jönsson, Malmö University
Kalle  Jonasson, Linnæus University


? This special issue of Sport in Society will deal with the interrelationship of science and sport. Intuitively, one might place them on a scale of utility, where science probably would be understood as the more serious and useful of the two, which would leave sport at the gratuitous and frivolous end of the scale. Such normative prejudices will be challenged in the proposed issue. The different ways in which they interact, share characteristics, and constitute each other will be scrutinised throughout the different contributions of original articles.

The tests whether sport science is to be regarded as ‘scientific’, in relation to characteristics, relevance and position, might lead to a problematic diagnosis, as well as an optimistic cure. For instance, the problems of instrumentalism, normativity and relativism appear to shadow the discipline’s potential. At the same time, the importance and the impact of the subject could place sport science in a favourable position, in relation to science. The discipline, due to its subject, could amalgamate natural science and social science, in light of Latour’s request. In addition, sport could work as a social laboratory for social science in general.

In this respect, the following special issue will originate from a previous special issue in Sport in Society, ‘Position and Relevance of Sport Science’ (17 (9) 2014). The current special issue will, accordingly, take its point of departure in the relation of sport and science. But, in comparison to the emphasis on meta-theoretical discussions, the reasoning in this issue will take a different direction.

Sport philosophers have regularly pointed to a common trait in science and sport: testing. There is an interesting analogy between the trials of experimental science and of sport competitions. Both revolve around uncertainty, and therefore all components must be known and meticulously calibrated. A Latourian reading could extend this reasoning: while experiments aim to purify natural essences from human interference, sport aims to purify human essences from non-human components. Another approach has to do with sport and sporting performances that may transcend the limitations of science. Sport is not only about measurable performances. So, how can one measure the joy many obviously feel when performing sports or watching sports?

The relation of sport and science will be investigated in different perspectives. These are, for instance:

    • The rationalisation and the quantification process. Evaluating and grading. The logic of exclusion and inclusion.
    • Sport as a ‘social laboratory’.
    • The test as an instrumental logic and rationality in society.
    • Professional careers and competitive balance in science as well as in sport. Formal rules and codes of honours to authenticate fairness. In addition, various forms of ‘cheating’.
    • The impact of science on sports vs. the impact of sports on science.

Deadline for the submission of abstracts/outlines (500 words) will be June 1, 2016, with our decision at the end of August 2016. The final article (6-8000 words) should be delivered in May 1, 2017.

Contact and submissions:

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