Call for Papers | Frontiers Research Topic: “Shaping the Social Value of Events: Strategy, Processes, Outcomes” | Call ends September 24, 2021

About this Research Topic

The social value of events is a key driving force in the making of the public sphere and collective action since ancient civilizations, which through ritual and celebration enable the construction of community, identity and shared meaning. Modernity has transformed traditional rituals to secular, liminoid, public performances, which are staged, for instance, as cultural, political, recreational or sporting events, etc. While this has propelled the growth of planned events and their commercialization, it also reflects tensions between tradition and modernity, between authenticity and commodification, or between local and global forces, all of them clashing within the contested terrain of events. Worse still, economic imperatives may compromise social-cultural aspects of events and their long-standing contribution to the social fabric of host communities by reproducing inequalities and polarization among stakeholders that further antipathies and discord. The underlying challenge then in creating lasting social value is to employ a proactive strategic approach seeking to reconcile, negotiate and synthesize worldviews, values and priorities that shape events and their outcomes. From this standpoint, strategy-making for fostering the social value of events is a highly complex endeavour, and inter-disciplinary research is needed to better understand attendant processes and outcomes.

The application of strategy on events is a double-edged sword and outcomes may be ambiguous or even negative for social structures and processes if not carefully designed. Accordingly, the emergent social leverage perspective provides a prescriptive agenda for optimizing the social value of events. However, while it has drawn attention from different disciplines, the literature still remains fragmented focused on different event genres, without offering a comprehensive framework that delineates what does constitute particular outcomes, their ontology and potential synthesis nor cultivates strategic processes of social value creation. The division is more apparent between socio-cultural and management perspectives, as well as between sport and cultural events. Divisions perpetuate fragmentation and constrain the development of integrative approaches for reshaping the conditions that enable the strategic generation of social value from events. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic crisis shook the erratic foundations of the event sector worldwide bringing to the fore the need to rethink the societal role of events, which in post-crisis and recovery can contribute to the building of resilient communities. Nevertheless, the lack of comprehensive inter-disciplinary inquiries impedes re-imagining, re-framing and re-creating the social mandate of events in the new conditions and how they can become agents of positive social change.

The aim of this call for papers is therefore to collect contributions that can build an integrated inter-disciplinary outlook of how the social value of events can be strategically fostered, negotiated, reconstructed and amplified. It seeks out cross- inter- and trans-disciplinary contributions that shed light on the multi-layered processes shaping the social value of events and potential for synergies between different event genres, purposes or outcomes that can magnify their overall social value for host communities. Topics and contexts may substantially vary, also encompassing divisive theoretical approaches to social leverage; but the common thread is to inform policy and practice of emerging issues, tools and strategies that shape the social value of events. In this regard, critical contributions are particularly welcomed that bring diverse theoretical and paradigmatic approaches to the social value of events.


social value, events, sport, leisure

Topic Editors

Vassilios Ziakas, Independent researcher, Leeds, United Kingdom

Katie Schlenker, Business School, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Australia

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Submission Deadlines

      • 24 September 2021 | Abstract
      • 31 January 2022 | Manuscript

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