Call for Papers | “Sport and Migration in the Age of Superdiversity”, Special Issue of International Review for the Sociology of Sport | Call ends November 1, 2021


Guest Editors: Sine Agergaard, Paul Darby, Mark Falcous and Alan Klein

Today sport is a significant social arena through which we can study the evolvement of societal diversity, along with the challenges that follow suit. When the director of the Max-Planck-Institute for the study of ethnic and religious diversity, Steven Vertovec, coined the concept ‘Superdiversity’ (Vertovec 2007), he pointed out that migrants do not only diverge from one another in terms of their countries of origin and channels of migration as well as status (e.g., as legal or illegal migrant), diversity is also related with a variety in responses to migration by local residents and national authorities.

This special issue turns attention to such diversity in both the role sports may play in the lives of migrants and their descendants, but also to a variety in their societal reception, including political strategies as well as civic responses that shape options for migrants’ sports participation. As pointed out by migration scholars the current differentiation in migration is accompanied by a growing politicization of migration (Castles, Hass & Millar 2014). Such sentiment also involves growing scepticism towards minority ethnic groups’ participation in sports (Lenneis & Agergaard 2018).

In the current context, it is more relevant than ever to renew the theoretical and methodological approaches to research in sports and migration issues. There is a need of further developing theoretical concepts that can account for the diversity in how sport is linked with migration (Klein 2010, Darby 2013). A variety of perspectives such as process sociology, glocalization theory, and the global value chain model have already been used in studying sport and migration issues (see e.g., Maguire & Falcous 2011). Yet, the current context calls for a use of theoretical models that also encompass critical perspectives such as postcolonial theory and critical race theory (see e.g. Besnier 2015, Hylton 2010).

Also, methodologically we call for research in sports and migration issues to take up novel designs for this field such as participatory action research conducted together with migrants and their receiving communities (see e.g., Meir & Fletcher 2017). Furthermore, we need research designs that better cover the transnational nature of sports and physical culture in contributing to break down the tendencies towards methodological nationalism (Wimmer & Schiller 2003).

Thus we invite submission from the diverse field of research in sport and migration issues with particular interest in:

      • Empirical papers that describe the increasing differentiation in sports and migration issues
      • Literature reviews that map the theoretical and methodological perspectives applied in existing studies, while pointing to options for innovation of the field
      • Theoretical papers that make use of conceptual frameworks and models that are novel (and relevant) to the field of research
      • Papers that contributes to methodological innovation through use of techniques such as participatory designs in which specific groups of migrants and local stakeholders are involved in developing, implementing and evaluating research projects.

Please send a 250 word abstract to no later than 1. November 2021. Upon seletion, full papers should be submitted 1. April 2022


Besnier, N. (2015). Sports Mobilities Across Borders: Postcolonial Perspectives. International Journal of the History of Sport 32(7): 849-861.
Castles, S., de Haas, H., & Miller, M. J. (2014). The age of migration: International population movements in the modern world (5th ed.). Guilford Press.
Darby, P. (2013). Moving players, traversing perspectives: Global value chains, production networks and Ghanaian football labour migration, Geoforum 50: 43-53.
Hylton, K. (2010). How a turn to critical race theory can contribute to our understanding of ‘race’, racism and anti-racism in sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 45(3): 335-354.
Klein, A. (2010). Sports labour migration as a global value chain. The Dominican case. In: Maguire, J. & Falcous, M. (eds.). Sport and migration. Borders, boundaries and challenges. London: Routledge, p. 88-101.
Lenneis, V., & Agergaard, S. (2018). Enacting and resisting the politics of belonging through leisure. The debate about gender-segregated swimming sessions targeting Muslim women in Denmark. Leisure Studies 37(6), 706-720.
Maguire, J., & Falcous, M. eds. (2011). Sport and migration. Borders, boundaries and crossings. London: Routledge.
Meir, D. & Fletcher, T. (2017). The transformative potenail of using participatory community sport initiatives to promote social cohesion in divided community contexts. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 54(2): 218-238.
Vertovec, S. (2007). Super-diversity and its implications, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6): 1024-1054.
Wimmer, A., & Schiller, N. (2003). Methodological Nationalism, the Social Sciences, and the Study of Migration: An Essay in Historical Epistemology. The International Migration Review, 37(3), 576-610.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.