Call for Papers | “International Federations and National Governing Bodies: The Historical Development of Institutional Policies in Response to Challenging Issues in Sport” | Special Issue of Sport History Review. Call ends December 14, 2018

Guest Editors:

  • Jörg Krieger
  • Lindsay Parks Pieper
  • Ian Ritchie

We are pleased to announce this special issue of Sport History Review, which will identify and analyze key events and developments in the histories of international and national sport federations by highlighting their policies to combat major challenges in sport. International Sport Federations (IFs), National Sport Federations (NFs), and other nongovernmental bodies of sport are powerful stakeholders in the international sport system. Because IFs and NFs administer sport on both the national and global levels, their policies have significant impacts. Yet, as important as these governing bodies are, they remain an under-researched area of sport history. IFs’ and NFs’ policies shape sport at the local, national, and international level; therefore, the lack of information about their decisions is a significant research gap.

The research gap is of particular importance when considering recent developments in international sport politics that suggest that sport is standing at a crossroads. (Olympic) Sport is increasingly losing credibility through cases of corruption, doping, gender verification, manipulation, and other similar challenges. As key stakeholders, the less influential and less researched governing bodies of sport are also subject to such challenges, and have dealt with the darker sides of sport throughout their histories. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is oftentimes the focus of academic scrutiny in the discussions of historical and contemporary issues, and scholarly work frequently highlights Olympic leaders’ responses to such challenges, the IFs and NFs play an important but understated role in developing responsive policies. In addition, Olympic leaders frequently seek guidance from, or follow the example set by, the IFs and NFs, further cementing their role in global sport policies. Today, the IFs have joint forces in umbrella organizations such as SportAccord, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), and the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), but past strategies to combat sport’s challenges have varied significantly. Notably, these governing bodies have triggered considerable changes in their practices over time, typically in reaction to issues that impact sport as a whole: athlete safety, amateurism, commercialization, corruption, environmental concerns, doping, match- fixing, usage of sports gear, the participation of women, and sex determination, to name just some of the more important ones.

The special issue will highlight institutional sport policies through a socio-historical lens. The current methods organizations deploy to respond to challenges in sport have deep roots, shaped by the decision-makers at the local, national, and international levels. The ensuing policies therefore have also been shaped by prevailing notions of ability, class, gender, nationalism, and race. The special issue will bring together papers from academics with diverse backgrounds to allow for a broad analysis of IF and NF policy. Submissions may focus on national governing bodies from all parts of the world or international federations during any time period. Those that investigate smaller sport federations are especially encouraged.

Particularly welcome are papers highlighting the following subtopics:

    • The historical reasons for the foundation of an IF—the establishment of the governing bodies were often caused by the need to address challenging issues, such as discussions about eligibility or rules. How has the focus of an IF’s/NF’s work changed over time?
    • Comparisons of different IFs’/NFs’ approaches to challenging issues.
    • The emergence of concerns by NFs/IFs for environmental issues.
    • The response to racial questions; for example, the response of particular IFs to the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
    • The response to the lack of female participation in male-dominated sport, including the policies (or the lack thereof) to address the lack of women in leadership positions. Also, how have various IFs/NFs responded to sex determination policies?
    • The interaction between institutional power and individual agency—the influence individuals have in shaping organizational policies versus the constraints imposed by bureaucratic and other institutional structures.
    • The IFs’/NFs’ dealings with sporting participants over issues of fairness or corruption. How did the IFs and NFs handle doping cases, match-fixing incidents, or accusations of professionalism? How did the IFs/NFs respond to the exclusion of athletes for racial, sexual, or political reasons?
    • Other selected case studies of an IF’s/NF’s dealing with challenging issues.

Submission Instructions

We invite the submission of abstracts (maximum 500 words), outlining the intended topic, to all Guest Editors by December 14, 2018. Notification of the acceptance of abstracts will be made by January 11, 2019. Full papers must then be submitted by May 31, 2019.

Please note that papers submitted to SHR should be limited to 8,000 to 10,000 words, including notes, and formatted according to SHR guidelines. All submissions will undergo double-blind peer-review, and must be revised according to feedback from the reviewers and, where necessary, the comments from Guest Editors. It is expected that the special issue will be published in the 2020 Spring Issue (no. 1) of SHR.

Guest Editors’ information and contact

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