Call for Papers | Physical Activity and Sporting Practices in Catastrophic Environments | Edited collection; strong publishing interest from Routledge. Call ends December 11, 2020

Expressions of interest are invited to contribute to an edited book entitled ‘Physical Activity and Sporting Practices in Catastrophic Environments’. Firm interest in this book has been established by Routledge.

We are currently living in an age of catastrophe (Stengers 2005). While the prevalence of floods and other hydrological events have quadrupled since 1980, severe climatological changes – such as, extreme temperatures, droughts, and bush fires – have more than doubled in the same period. Such is the frequency of storms, floods, drought and forest fires, that they are now said to represent more than 80% of all disasters over the past decade (Guha-Sapir and Hoyois 2015). What is more, the evidence is now clear that these events are the direct result of human activity.

To this extent, we consider the ability of individuals and communities to maintain healthy relationships with their surroundings – most notably, before, during and after catastrophic events – as a relatively understudied area, posing a number of significant questions (Rumbach, Makarewicz and Németh, 2016). What happens when our existing geographical, topographical, sociological and political coordinates are shattered because of bush fires or flooding? How do we cope when faced with unprecedented and uncontrollable levels of planetary change? And, what are the consequences of this for the (physical and mental) health of those whose everyday activities, hobbies, interests and forms of labour are dependent on stable notions of place? Underscoring these questions, sits the role of leisure and physical activity.

Research has shown that physical activities and practical engagement with/in landscapes plays a key role in both the building and reconstruction of place identity (Thorpe 2015, 2017), as well as improving one’s mental and physical health (Butler et al. 2019). What these studies have in common, and what this edited collection will usefully explore, is the manner in which outdoor recreation can positively disorient and re-orient existing social and material relationships to the environment (Cherrington and Black, 2020a;2020b). In this way, outdoor recreation can serve as both a useful sensing device that alerts participants to the complexities of environmental change, whilst also providing an opportunity to experiment with new frames of social, political and ecological reference (Chandler 2018; Campbell 2019).

Proposed Focus

This collection will provide meaningful empirical insights into the role of sport and physical activity in coping with, and adapting to, environmental change, whilst at the same time advancing our conceptual understanding of cultures and identities in an increasingly global (and globalised) world. Chapters which address the following major themes are of particular interest:

      • Sport, physical activity and resilience in the Anthropocene.
      • The (onto) politics of sport and climate change.
      • Sport, environmental protest and social movements.
      • Sport and the trauma of catastrophe.
      • Sport, new mobilities and climate migration.
      • Discourses of vulnerability and sporting responses to suffering.
      • Risk sports and the pursuit of the extreme.
      • Sport in polluted landscapes.
      • Developing sport and community in catastrophic environments.
      • Sport and peace-building in areas of human conflict.
      • Sport governance in an age of catastrophe.
      • The role of physical activity during global pandemics.

Submission guidelines

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be sent to Dr Jim Cherrington ( and Dr Jack Black ( by Friday 11th December 2020. Decisions on abstracts will be made by January 2021.

Prof. Peter Millward
Professor of Contemporary Sociology
Liverpool John Moores University

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