Call for Papers | “Sport and nationalism: Theoretical perspectives”. Special Issue of Sport in Society | Call ends November 30, 2019



The ‘Sport and Nationalism: Theoretical Perspectives’ special issue in Sport in Society aims to advance the academic study of the interconnections between sport and nationalism by, firstly, reviewing the current ‘state of play’ in this field of study and, secondly, highlighting the potential for the development of future theoretically-informed analysis of the relationship between sport, nationalism and national identity. This issue will thus facilitate a critical appraisal of the utility of various theoretical concepts used to explore the nature of contemporary nationalism when applied to the specific topic of sport.

This special issue will therefore seek to build upon the existing literature in the field of sport and nationalism in a number of ways. Firstly, by bringing together a range of contemporary academics in this field of study, it will offer an opportunity to showcase contrasting theoretical positions on this topic within the same issue. Finally, the central focus of the special issue on the application of theories of nationalism to the field of sport provides an opportunity for novel and critical contributions to this field of study.

Each article would be dedicated to contrasting theorists, theoretical approaches and/or concepts, as applied to a specific case study or topic within the field of sport. The objective of this structure is to demonstrate a diverse range of potential approaches for the study of sport and nationalism, thus acting as an innovative resource for academics and advanced students interested in identifying and utilising influential theoretical concepts in these specific fields. To this end, the central goal of this special issue will be to showcase contrasting and competing theoretical approaches to the study of sport and nationalism, with the opportunity to foster critical debate regarding the utility of the contrasting theories presented in the text.

Drawing upon an eclectic range of theoretical approaches to the study of nationalism, including modernist, primordialist, perennialist, ethnosymbolist and postmodernist approaches, this special issue will showcase the theoretical diversity of contemporary scholarship on sport and nationalism.

Abstract submission

We would like to invite proposals for articles on topics such as, but not limited to, the following areas:

    • Modernist nationalism in sport
    • Primordialist nationalism in sport
    • Perennialist nationalism in sport
    • Ethnosymbolist nationalism in sport
    • Benedict Anderson and the ‘imagined community’ in sport
    • Michael Billig, ‘banal nationalism’, and sport
    • Elias on sport and nationalism: a figurational approach
    • ‘Invented traditions’ in sport: Hobsbawm, nationalism and sport
    • Globalisation theory and sport: the end of the sporting nation?
    • Edensor’s ‘everyday nationalism’ in the world of sport
    • Kedourie, ‘ideological nationalism’ and sport:
    • ‘Internal colonialism’ and nationalism: applying Hechter’s thesis to world of sport
    • ‘Political modernism’, the nation-state and sport: Breuilly and Giddens on the sporting nation

Furthermore, we would also very much like to welcome novel and innovative theoretical approaches outside those listed above which will further enhance the theoretical scholarship on the relationship between sport and nationalism.

Abstracts (maximum 500 words) and/or expressions of interest should be emailed to by 30th November 2019 for consideration.

Process and timeline

Formal approval for the ‘Sport and Nationalism: Theoretical Perspectives’ has already been received by the Sport in Society Executive Academic Editor in September 2019.

The deadline for initial submissions of abstracts and/or expressions of interest is 30th November 2019.

The initial submissions of abstracts and/or expressions of interest will be reviewed in December 2019, and formal invitations for full article submissions will be sent in December 2019 following this review process.

The deadline for completed articles (no more than 8,000 words) is June 2020. This would be followed by a 3-month review period, with all articles subject to the regular peer review processes of the Sport in Society journal.

Full details of the author guidelines are available on the Sport in Society journal website at:

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