Call for Papers | Gaming Identity: Sports and Cultures, local and global | Altre Modernità academic journal, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

The current notion of competitive sports involves  an ambiguous attitude towards one’s own belonging. On the one hand, sports have become increasingly globalized, and on the other the issue of competing in support of one’s own nation goes on being an explicit responsibility of the professional athletes who comes from a specific nation but at the same time are supposed to “speak” a common language, universally understood regardless of one’s national belonging. As Andrei S. Markovits & Lars Rensmann state in their Gaming the World (2010), globalization and local allegiances as conflicting influences are remoulding the cultural and artistic implications of sports all over the world. The increasing involvement of marketing strategies in sport practice at a professional level further complicates the picture  transforming professional sportsmen in ambiguous icons that, while showing the potential of sports in terms of emancipation and the possibility to overcome one’s own ethnical marginality or even one’s disabilities, also suggest  that there are risks in becoming a sport celebrity. And the man or the woman behind the public profile may be extremely complex and problematic (i.e. Muhammed Ali, Oskar Pistorius, Roberto Durán and others).

Gender issues are also implied in the choice sometimes made by the professional athletes to declare their homosexuality and therefore obliging their fans to revise their pre-existing model (i.e Martina Navratilova). In some cases, the issue of homosexuality and queerness has been raised by the personal story of some athletes, suddenly facing the unavoidable social and cultural censorship connected to the AIDS virus (Greg Louganis, homosexual and HIV + and Magic Johnson, heterosexual and HIV +).

This issue examines the multiple connections between sport and identity, both in terms of the individual process of identifying oneself in the community and in terms of the process leading a professional athlete to become a national icon.

We welcome proposals (in English, Italian, French or Spanish) that engage with the representation of sports as a problematic issue, critically related to an ancient and highly localized tradition but also projected towards a globalized future that produces a much more ambiguous interpretation of the themes and icons  implied in this field.

Possible topics are:

  • Sports and their representations;
  • Sport and the market;
  • Sport as art;
  • Sport as a global force;
  • Sport and politics: between commitment for the future and preservation of the status quo;
  • Women and sports;
  • Sport and gender;
  • Sport icons and culture: possible ambiguities
  • Diachronic development in professional sports;
  • Ante litteram fitness;
  • Inbetween spaces: sports and the narratives of sports.

Should potential contributors submit other proposals on the topic, they will be taken into consideration by the Scientific Committee, with a view to enriching the investigation of the current issue of the review with the most articulated and original suggestions.

We also welcome book reviews and interviews to authors and scholars who investigate the aforementioned topics.


  • Abstracts, alongside a list of bibliographical references (between 10 and 20 lines long) and a short CV, should be submitted to the email address no later than 15th February 2015.
  • Acceptance of contributions will be notified by 27th February 2015.
  • The deadline for submission of papers is 15th June 2015.
  • The issue will be published by late November 2015.

Contributors are free to contact the editors to discuss and clarify the objectives of their proposals, with a view to making the issue as homogeneous as possible also from a methodological point of view. The editors can be contacted via the Editorial Secretary.

Università degli Studi di Milano
Polo di Sesto san Giovanni – aula 4018
P.zza Montanelli, 1
20099 Sesto San Giovanni (MI)
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