I have been asked by the Editor of Soccer and Society, Boria Majumdar, to edit a Special Issue of the journal on the largely under-researched and understood area of youth football culture.
Provisionally titled ‘The Forgotten Game: Perspectives on Youth Football Culture’ the purpose of the Special Issue is to examine the broad social, political and cultural processes associated with youth and junior football at sub-elite level. Whilst football receives significant academic attention, the existing body of knowledge is dominated overwhelmingly by a rather one-sided and, in many respects, misleading, focus on the elite level of the game, including the experiences of fans, players, owners and decision-makers. Indeed, several recent publications purporting to explore football in its entirety are limited to elite aspects of football. Given youth and junior football is arguably one of the most popular participatory sports globally, the dearth of theoretically- and empirically-informed research on youth football culture is particularly surprising. Indeed, in many countries around the world, children often first play the game informally before participating in organised football at school and in junior clubs, and adults (typically parents) undertake a variety of roles in organising, coaching and managing youth football, usually on a voluntary basis which sustains its development. Very little is known, however, about the experiences and motivations of those involved in youth football. International in scope, this Special Issue of Soccer and Society addresses this lacuna and will make an original contribution to knowledge by including contributions from academics and practitioners whose work examines the rich and diverse range of activity characteristic of youth football culture. Authors are encouraged to submit papers that are theory-driven, empirically-based, or position papers written from the full range of perspectives in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, political science, policy analysis, cultural studies, anthropology, management and organisation, etc) on topics such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Schools football
- Grassroots / junior club football
- Disability football and vulnerable young people
- Youth football, talent identification and the elite game
- Coaches in youth football
- The relationship between youth football and international development
- The relationship between youth football and education
- Welfare and Child Protection in youth football Officiating and spectating in youth football
- The family and youth football
Informal enquiries and abstracts of no more than 300 words outlining the potential focus, methods, theoretical framework and findings should be sent to the Guest Editor, Jimmy O’Gorman, by e-mail (Ogormanj@edgehill.ac.uk) by no later than July 19th 2013 for consideration for inclusion in the special issue.
Dr Jimmy O’Gorman
Senior Lecturer Sport Development
Edge Hill University
Lancashire, England L39 4QP