Call for Papers | “Making World(s): Sport, Globalization and Olympism”, 27th International European Committee for Sports History Congress | Université Paris Nanterre, June 4–6, 2024. Call ends January 31, 2024

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The 27th International Congress of the European Committee for Sports History (CESH) is organized from June 4 to 6, 2024 by two laboratories of the Université Paris Nanterre: ISP (Institute of Social Sciences of Politics, UMR 7220) and IDHE.S (Institutions and Historical Dynamics of Economy and Society, UMR 8533). On the eve of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, this symposium aims to examine the creation of sporting worlds through the relationship between sport, Olympism and globalization. 

The Congress will take place over three consecutive days, from Tuesday June 4, 2024, to Thursday June 6, 2024. On the first day, Tuesday June 4, 2024, the scientific event will be held at the Centre de Colloques on the Condorcet Campus in Aubervilliers, before continuing the following two days, Wednesday June 05 and Thursday June 06, 2024, at Paris Nanterre University in the Max Weber (ISP, IDHES) and Alice Milliat (UFR STAPS) buildings.

Call for Papers

The most important thing is for national propaganda to keep pace with the new conditions created, if such language can be used, by the “globalization” of all things. What’s essential is that, without delay, in the right places,
a living flame replaces the dying reflection.

(P. de Coubertin, Le Figaro, December 13, 1904)

While the word “mondialisation” entered the French language in the early 1980s, it was first used by Pierre de Coubertin, in an article in Le Figaro, entitled “Le flambeau à sept branches”, dated December 13, 1904 (Capdepuy, 2014; Markovits, Singaravélou, Todd, 2021). In this respect, sport appears to be an early player in the cultural dimension of globalization, long before it became part of the economic logic of the phenomenon.

Scientific project

Following the discovery of America and the rise of transatlantic trade, globalization accelerated in the 19th century, from its anchor in Victorian England, the leading imperial and commercial power. It was relayed by the planetary influence of the Western powers, and manifested in the intensification of cultural, social, political and economic exchanges. 

The globalization of sport was first studied by geographers (Bale, 2003; Augustin, 2007; Holz, 2011) and economists (Bourg, 2010; Andreff, 2021), then by sociologists and anthropologists (Harvey & Saint-Germain, 1995; Appadurai, 1996), and finally by historians who initially focused on political, diplomatic (Gygax, 2013; Dichter & Jones, 2014; Murray, 2018; Rofe, 2018; Postlethwaite & al., 2023) and international relations (Houlihan, 1994; Arnaud & Riordan, 1997; Allison, 2005; Keys, 2009; Giulianotti & Armstrong, 2011). 

Then, historical works dedicated to sport and Olympism (Guttmann, 1978, 1992; Milza, 2002; Arnaud, 2002; Milza, Jéquier, Tétart, 2004), first studied the development and spread of modern sports (Maguire, 1999; Darbon, 1995) under the effects of colonization (Baker & Mangan, 1987; Mangan, 1998), imperialism (Stoddart, 1988; Guttmann, 1994; Gems, 2006; Singaravélou & Sorez, 2010), nationalism (Bairner, 2001; Grainger & Andrews, 2005; Stoddart, 2009; Archambault, Beaud, & Gasparini, 2016), geopolitics (Augustin & Gillon, 2004) and developments in transport that intensified global exchanges (Galtung, 1991).

However, all did not always agree on the existence of globalization, or on a distinct historical phase (Lanfranchi, Taylor, 2001), or even on the fact that this phenomenon can influence sport (Rowe, 2003; Giulianotti & Robertson, 2007). The congress can provide an opportunity to discuss scientific debates on the periodization of sport globalization, as proposed by the sociologies of dependence and configurations, taking a long-term view (Maguire, 2006). This scientific moment also offers an opportunity to highlight the crystallization of positions between defenders, skeptics and reformists (Held & al., 1999) of the globalization of sport through studies conducted by, on the one hand, “experts” (in geopolitics, sport management, journalism, finance, etc.) and, on the other hand, researchers specializing in the social sciences of sport (historians, sociologists, political scientists, economists, etc.).

While some researchers believe that the phenomenon began at the dawn of the twentieth century, between 1870 and 1920 (Maguire & al., 2002), others, inspired by the new political economy (Harvey, Houle, 1994) and Cultural studies (Miller & al., 2001), consider the globalization of sport to be more recent. The latter situate its onset after the Second World War, distinguishing its advent from economic and cultural imperialism.

They raise questions by highlighting the tensions between local realities and global trends: what are the effects of Americanization and/or Westernization on sporting practices? What issues are driving nations and states to make sport a global phenomenon? How do multinational firms link up with the sporting world to develop their brands? Do the military and religion see sport as a medium for disseminating their actions and values? How do media discourses contribute to the global dissemination of sport? To what extent do NGOs have an interest in development through sport? Finally, can the Olympic movement constitute a world, or is it the creation of interacting sporting worlds (International Olympic Committee, International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees, etc.)?

These are only some of the questions that the congress will address, with the aim of improving our understanding of the interactions between individuals and groups that shape more or less interdependent worlds, the dynamics of which set the pace for the globalization of sport and Olympism (Young, Wamsley, 2005). Thus, the analytical approach favoured by this congress will pay particular attention to the multiple ways, situations and (re)configurations of making (worlds) (Becker, 1982, 1986) of sport and Olympism – be they cultural, political, social or geographical; in relationships of complementarity or conflict (Harvey, Rail and Thibault, 1996) – which enable us to apprehend the historical process of globalization and its variations in space, societies or in terms of scales of analysis.

Congress themes

1- Diffusion, circulation & mediatization of sport

The aim is to examine the worldwide diffusion of sport, its conditions of reception and circulation (bodies, values, knowledge, techniques) and its mediatization, in order to understand the forms of homogenization and/or resistance induced by colonization and imperialism, the construction of normative discourses and discrimination (gender, disability, etc.).

2- Individuals, communities & sporting identities

The globalization of sport contributes to the creation of sporting worlds by individuals and/or communities – sometimes imagined – with plural identities and diverse representations, in situations of cooperation and/or conflict, such as long-distance supporterism or sport as an instrument of community identity claims and nationalism.

3- Institutions, internationalization & transnationalization of sport

Globalized sport is also shaped by sporting (and non-sporting) institutions that produce a world of sport through the national, via politics, diplomacy, international relations and economics; whether to develop a brand associated with the image of a sportsman/sportswoman, impose its hegemony in the Cold War or develop peace through sport.

4- Sporting interdependencies between the local and the global: homogenization/resistance

The universality of sport also calls into question the confrontation between the worlds that make it up, through the interpenetration of the local and the global, prompting us to analyze these multiple adaptations as part of the process of acculturation, mimicry, reappropriation and sportivization of sporting practices, or when a locality hosts a world sporting event.

5- Making the worlds of sport and the Olympics 

Finally, we’ll be looking at the nature and coherence of relations between (sporting and non-sporting) institutions in the creation of sporting and Olympic worlds, such as those between amateur and professional sport, and between the International Olympic Committee and its component parts, the International Sports Federations and the National Olympic Committees.

6- Other themes

Guidelines for paper proposals (abstracts)

      • Abstracts may be submitted in the language of each participant. If English is not the language used, we ask you to add a version of the abstract in English.
      • All proposals for abstracts must include: title, objectives/research questions, methodology, sources and materials, results.
      • Maximum length 350 words
      • Times New Roman font 
      • Font size 12
      • Justified text 1.5 line spacing 
      • Five key words
      • Indicate two thematic axes the proposal fits in
      • A short biography of the author(s) (status, institutional and scientific affiliation and email address).

Paper proposals can be submitted solely on the congress website, “Abstract submission” tag, https://cesh2024upn.sciencescall.org/

If you encounter a problem you can contact us:cesh2024upn@sciencesconf.org, and/or p.charitas@parisnanterre.fr

Panel Submission

Researchers are encouraged to submit a panel proposal of three or four papers. To do so, the panel’s communicators must submit each paper proposal via the congress website. A panel coordinator must send an e-mail to the organizer specifying the content of the panel as well as a short presentation of the panel and the communicators. The deadline for submissions is also January 31, 2024.

Key dates

      • 31/01/2024: deadline for submission of paper proposals
      • 02/15/2024: notification of acceptance after review of abstract proposals
      • 02/15/2024: opening of registration (payment)
      • June 04, 05 and 06, 2024: congress

Information & contacts

All communicators must be CESH members for the year 2024. Payment of annual fees for CESH members can be made via the CESH website: www.cesh-site.eu 

Congress registration fees can be paid via the congress website: https://cesh2024upn.sciencescall.org/ 

For all information and questions relating to the organization of the 27th International CESH Congress at Paris Nanterre University, please contact: cesh2024upn@sciencesconf.org or/and p.charitas@parisnanterre.fr.

2024 CESH Early Career Award Competition

As it does every year, CESH awards a prize to a young researcher at the start of his or her career. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2024. For more information: www.CESH-site.eu.


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