Call for Papers | Frontiers Research Topic: “Traditional Sporting Games and Play: Enhancing Cultural Diversity, Emotional Well-being, Interpersonal Relationships and Intelligent Decisions”. Call ends April 30, 2020

Girls playing kabaddi, a game indigenous to South Asia, in India. © Arivazhagan89

About this Research Topic

Previous scientific findings have confirmed the importance of traditional sporting games (TSGs) as intangible cultural heritage and highlighted their role in fostering experiences of integral well-being or multimodal learning (emotional, relational or decisional). TSGs, such as ball games, skittles games, team games (dodge ball, fox, chicken, snake, cops and robbers), tag games (chain tag, ‘what’s the time Mr. Wolf?’) are an excellent resource for professionals of physical activity, physical education, recreation and sport. In contrast to sport, TSGs are activities with rules or conditions of play agreed and organized by the participants themselves, without the need for international institutions. They are part of local traditions that were already practiced in other epochs by our ancestors. In fact, most Olympic Sports were TSGs before expanding into world sports.

Many international organizations (e.g., UNICEF, International Federation of Physical Education; FIEP, International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education; ICSSPE, UNESCO) highlight the need to promote cultural diversity, emotional well-being, peace education, social inclusion, equal opportunities and intelligent decision learning in formal or informal education contexts. They also indicate the need to consider these challenges for vulnerable people (children, disabled persons, females, older adults, refugees). Practicing TSGs may facilitate meeting these objectives.

However, even though there are researchers across different continents investigating this field, these types of scientific contributions are still not sufficiently visible. Often, too much attention is focused on globalized sport, forgetting other areas of physical activity, such as traditional games, dances and play that constitute cultural diversity. This refers to children’s and adult’s playful practices, as well as masculine, feminine or mixed practices. For this reason, in this Research Topic we aim to gather scientific evidence about the potential of TSGs in promoting cultural diversity, emotional well-being, peace education, social inclusion, equal opportunities and intelligent decision learning.

We encourage contributors to present their studies considering any field from different theoretical paradigms, as well as innovative research designs from quantitative, qualitative or mixed method approaches, and cross-cultural as well as transdisciplinary studies. In this Research Topic, we particularly welcome contributions related to the following:

Traditional Sporting Games and Play: Culture, and Diversity:

      • TSGs as intangible cultural heritage: a mirror of local culture, through motor actions
      • Cross-cultural studies around play and TSGs
      • Cultural dimension of body techniques, illustration by comparative analysis
      • The transformation of TSGs from play to sport: from the local to the global.

Traditional Sporting Games and Play and Emotional Well-Being:

      • Effects of play and TSGs on emotional states, feelings and affectivity
      • Developing emotional competences through play and TSGs
      • Social construction of emotions through play and TSGs
      • Traits of the TSG and/or traits of the person (motivation, personality, sports background) and its impact on emotional well-being

Traditional Sporting Games and Play: Peace Education, Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities:

      • Enhancing interpersonal relationships through play and TSGs
      • Transforming conflicts through play and TSGs in physical education
      • Play and TSGs as climate enhancers and/or their impact on group cohesion
      • Effects of play and TSGs on social inclusion
      • Promoting equal opportunities through play and TSGs: gendered perspectives

Traditional Sporting Games and Decision Learning:

      • Study of motor strategy or tactic behavior in TSG.
      • Methodological strategies for the study of motor intelligence in play and TSG.
      • Models for the study of decision making in playful activities
      • Detection of hidden behavioral patterns of play interaction or decision making


Traditional Sporting Games, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Cultural Diversity, Emotional Well-Being, Peace Education, Social Inclusion, Equal Opportunities, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Recreation, Leisure

Topic Editors

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

      • 30 April 2020 Abstract
      • 31 August 2020 Manuscript

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