Call for Papers | “Sport and Refugees: Displacement, Migration, and Settlement Journeys”, Special Issue of Sport in Society | Call ends October 31, 2020

Guest editors:

    • Professor Ramón Spaaij, Victoria University, Australia
    • Dr Carla Luguetti, Victoria University, Australia
    • Dr Nicola De Martini Ugolotti, Bournemouth University, UK

Scope and aims

Sport can play a significant role in the everyday lives of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, whether as athletes, informal participants, fans, coaches, or administrators. Government agencies, sport governing bodies, and humanitarian and development organisations have all directed attention to sport’s potential contribution to refugee health, wellbeing, and social inclusion, and to promoting peaceful co-existence and intercultural learning between refugees and local communities. In 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Olympic Committee, and Terre des hommes launched the Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings. Another significant initiative occurred two years prior when, for the first time, a Refugee Olympic Team competed in the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Notwithstanding the global attention for sport as a stage or context for hope, belonging, and social inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers, scientific research on the topic is arguably still in its infancy. Applied research is required to produce a more robust knowledge base to inform sport and settlement policies, programs, knowledge sharing, and community capacity building. Only in the last few years has scientific research on the topic evolved in earnest (Bailey et al., 2017; Spaaij et al., 2019). A recent integrated review identifies key opportunities and areas for future research, upon which this special issue builds (Spaaij et al., 2019). Furthermore, more research is needed to critically analyse and interrogate the implications of existing approaches, practices, and research around sport and forced migration in reproducing, redressing and/or unsettling (skewed) discourses, policies, and assumptions surrounding forced migration within and beyond sporting domains.

This special issue aims to provide new knowledge and insights into refugees’ lived experiences and journeys across all levels of sport – from grassroots to elite. The special issue will also provide a platform to better understand and showcase the contributions by refugees to local and global sports cultures, and to highlight the relevance of sport as a lens through which it is possible to reveal, interrogate, and address practices, narratives, and policies regarding forced migration in a variety of policy and social contexts.


Papers from different disciplines and perspectives are invited. Themes will include (but are not limited to):

      • Policy discourses and institutional dynamics of sport, forced migration, and resettlement;
      • The lived experiences of sport participation and fandom among refugee-background people across all levels of sport – from grassroots to elite;
      • Contexts, mechanisms, and outcomes in sport-based programmes that work with refugee youth;
      • Pedagogies of sport-based programmes that work with refugees;
      • The politics and ethics of research on sport and forced migration;
      • Methodological innovations in the study of sport, forced migration, and settlement;
      • The challenges, opportunities, and ambivalences of sport as a means of social inclusion and political solidarity;
      • Intersectional approaches to sport and forced migration.

Submission instructions

Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 31 October 2020

Files should include a title, authors, and an abstract of no more than 250 words. These should be sent to Professor Ramón Spaaij at
Confirmation of invitations to submit full papers: 6 November 2020

Deadline for submission of full papers: 31 January 2021

Paper length: Maximum of 8,000 words including abstract, tables/figures, and references Submission process: Papers should be submitted to the guest editors via email
Author guidelines and further information about the journal can be found at:

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