Conference reminder: Sport, Leisure and Social Justice, University of Brighton, 19th–20th September, 2013

Two-day conference, University of Brighton, 19th – 20th September, 2013

Conference co-chairs: Drs Dan Burdsey, Jayne Caudwell and Belinda Wheaton

The University of Brighton, with more than 21,000 students, is a thriving university with five campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings.
The University of Brighton, with more than 21,000 students, is a thriving university with five campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings.

This conference aims to explore and expand questions regarding the role of both sport and academics in addressing issues surrounding social justice and equity. Specifically: How have the traditions of academics & public intellectualism shifted? What is, and should be, the relationship between academics and social activism? How can universities continue to engage with concerns about equality, human rights and social justice?

Within an increasingly neoliberal, market-driven higher educational context Henry Giroux identifies that the university in contemporary times has come to resemble ‘a marketing machine essential to the production of identities in which the only obligation of citizenship is to be a consumer’ (2012, p.246).  He asks:

What role should the university play at a time when politics is being emptied out of any connection to a civic literacy, informed judgement, and critical dialogue, further deepening a culture of illiteracy, cruelty, hypermasculinity, and disposability? (ibid, emphasis added.)

Critical commentators, including Giroux, are thus promoting the potential role of education-based interventions in challenging this process. Indeed, they are emphasising not only the abilities, but also the responsibilities of academics in establishing a “politics of advocacy and possibility”, and engaging in “acts of activism” (cf. Denzin and Giardina, 2012). The potential contributions made by academics and students are seen as central because the university represents ‘a vital democratic public sphere that cultivates the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the production of a democratic polity’ (Giroux, 2012, p. 246). More broadly, Les Back and Nirmal Puwar (2012, p. 14) argue that:

What we choose to be concerned with, or focus on and listen to, involves making judgements not only about what is valuable but also what is important. Sociology has a public responsibility to pay attention to vulnerable and precarious lives.

Specifically related to sport studies, sport practices and sport cultures, we engage with four themes:

  • Socio-cultural scholars of sport and leisure as public intellectuals
  • Sport development and peace (SDP)
  • Sporting communities and campaigns for change
  • Social Justice through media, new media, film and documentaries

The conference will be hosted by the Sport and Leisure Cultures research cluster at the University of Brighton. Priority areas of interest and expertise include: sport, politics and international relations; communities, exclusions and the cultural politics of resistance in sport; traditional and new media cultures and the sporting landscape; and ‘alternative’ lifestyle and non-mainstream sporting cultures. We also welcome input from other relevant areas.

We envisage a lively event prioritising debate and discussion. Potential contributors are encouraged to submit abstracts of 150 words for one of the following forms of presentation:

  • 20-minute conference paper
  • Poster presentation
  • 15-minute round table paper proposal (either individual papers or as a group of up to 4 papers)

The conference is supported by: British Sociological Association Leisure and Recreation Group, Political Studies Association Sport and Politics Group and Taylor and Francis Publishers.

Please send abstracts to and

Deadline date: Monday 1st July, 2013 

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