Call for Papers | 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association | Research Network ’Society and Sports’ | August 29–September 1 2017, Athens, Greece


Panteion University is the oldest University of Social and Political Sciences in Greece, founded in 1927. This is the first, historic building of the University.

Sport plays a central role in contemporary societies and thus continues to fire the socio- logical imagination. Sport has a long history of uniting people, of overcoming differences, of teaching norms and values while participating in teams and in clubs, of inspiring es- pecially young people to set goals and follow their dreams, and older people to remain physically active. At the same time, sport is said to divide; to celebrate differences; to exclude those that are less fit or less successful in sports; to elicit aggression and corrup- tion; and to commercialize and turn into cheap entertainment, rather than act as a pillar to civil society.

These are the key issues that are central to RN28, Society and Sports. What role does sport play in contemporary societies? How has that role developed over the past dec- ades, as capitalism has conquered the world, as solidarities have started to shift and as new forms of violence have come to the fore? In these turbulent times, can sport act as a binding and liberating force, or is that too much to ask of sports? Equally, how easily can sports be incorporated into the global health agenda set out to tackle a perceived obesity epidemic? To what extent is sport open and inclusive? Do all citizens around the world have equal opportunities to take part in sport (in whatever capacity)? Or does sport ex- clude as well? Have policies been successful in reaching sport for all, and in supporting a healthy system of sport clubs, physical education, and sport facilities?

In our sessions, we will discuss the role of sport in promoting health and stimulating integration and cohesion, and questions whether sport can and/or should be used in- strumentally in strategies of social engineering. Sport is central to contemporary society; our sessions are critical spaces to consider how and why.

  • RN28_a: Society and Sports (General Session)
  • RN28_b: Sport-participation: Facts, theories and challenges
  • RN28_c: Sport-clubs: An integral part of society?
  • RN28_d: It takes a club: The pedagogics of youth-sport reconsidered
  • RN28_e: Signing up: On volunteering in an individualized society
  • RN28_f: Sport and social capital: The social significance of sports
  • RN28_g: Elite-sports: Fostering inclusivity or exclusivity?
  • RN28_h: Sport and digital cultures: New ways of spectating and playing
  • RN28_i: Sport and social theory: Sociological thinking applied and revisited
  • RN28_j: Contemporary Sport: Crises, critiques and transformations
  • RN05_RN28: Consuming sports: On the multibillion industry of sport events (Joint Session with RN05 Sociology of Consumption)
    Sports events have become a huge industry, the most successful athletes are developed into world-wide celebrities. However, sports mega-events also involve corruption, the exploitation of sportsmen and women and increasing difficulties of smaller sports to keep up. While sports events draw in huge foreign investments, local people risk being evicted from homes or cannot afford to buy tickets, and the stadiums built and the many international flights involved are a sustainability risk. The promises of social returns (increase in sports participation) have rarely materialized. Non-commercial sports-clubs have difficulties in surviving. This session will examine sports events as a significant part of today’s society.
  • RN11_RN28: Emotions in Sports (Joint Session with RN11 Sociology of Emotions)
  • RN16_RN28: Promoting health through sports and physical activity (Joint Session with RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness) Organiser: Oli Williams (University of Bath, UK)
  • RN20_RN21_RN28: Innovative interdisciplinary methods in researching sports, physical activity and health (Joint Session with RN20 Qualitative Methods and RN21 Quantitative Methods)
  • RN28_RN33: Sports, Bodies, Genders and Sexualities (Joint Session with RN33 Women’s and Gender Studies)
    Being expressions of cultural embodiment, both sexualities and genders, on the one hand, and sports, on the other can be analysed as a mirror of societies’ transformations. For this reason the analysis of sports, gender and sexuality can be a key to analyse changes in embodied social interactions and collective representations.
  • RN28_RN35: Sport and refugees: First steps towards integration? (Joint Session with RN35 Sociology of Migration)
    Organisers: Enrico Michelini (Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft Technische Uni- versität Dortmund) and Karin Peters (Cultural Geography Chair Group, Wageningen University)
  • RN28_RS12: Knowledge and Embodiment (Joint Session with RS12 Sociology of Knowledge)
  • RN28_KS: The social construction of the sociology of sport: A professional project (Arranged RN Keynote Session)
    Where next for the sociology of sport?
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