Call for Papers | “Sport, Race and Ethnicity at a time of multiple global crises”, Special Issue of European Journal for Sport and Society | Call ends October 31, 2020

Special Issue Editors

Photo: Reuters

Although it never went away, racial inequality is back in the global headlines. Racial inequalities in health services laid bare by Covid-19 and the appalling death of George Floyd in the USA at the hands of several police officers, caught on camera by bystanders, are only the latest controversies of their kind.  In particular, the killing of George Floyd has provided the catalyst for a spike in protests, resistance and activism to racial oppression and disparities around the world. The raised profile of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) anti-racism movement, which has occurred at a time of global pandemic and significant socio-economic stress, has polarized opinions in many quarters. It has given rise to vociferous discussions and debates linked to economic and health inequalities, freedom and politics, and has given new impetus to moral panics on such issues as the ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe and North America. Changes are being made, both symbolic (e.g. the removal of statues of slave owners), and systemic (such as renewed examination of the connection between Covid-19 pandemic fatalities and ethnic inequalities). What’s more, sport has become a significant catalyst and context as many aspects of this movement play out.

Race is under scrutiny, and sport is at the forefront.

Developments in sport have been inconsistent yet wide-ranging, often sympathetic (at first), yet sometimes lacking in empathy. For example, the English Premier League required players’ names on their shirt to be replaced with ‘Black Lives Matter’ for the first 12 matches of the restarted season, and a Black Lives Matter badge will feature on all shirts for the rest of the campaign. Similarly, F1 drivers, American Footballers and other athletes (both men and women) have begun to ‘take the knee’ before events. However, in each of these cases there was and still is resistance. Several sports stars have become prominent leaders and activists, including Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, Lewis Hamilton, Raheem Sterling, Coco Gauff and John Amaechi. Solidarity was demonstrated in unexpected quarters such as NASCAR with its close association with the colonial south, and sports teams such as the Washington Redskins who have reconsidered their appropriation of Indigenous American imagery in its branding, and name. Indeed, some sports federations reversed previous decisions to ban anti-racism solidarity activism.  Conversely, others operating racist ideologies have attempted to resist, subvert, or punish activists through willful ignorance, counter movements and even violence. For example, there is little indication KAA Ghent plan to change their native American logo, which is very similar to that of the Redskins’ former crest. Notably, whilst such symbolic and public support for the BLM movement is remarkable, questions remain about whether such change will lead to lasting systemic change, or prompt change in the lived realities and experiences of sports participants from marginalized communities.

Sociologists of sport have an important part to play in making sense of these global trends, controversies and particularities, not least by studying political movements and counter-movements, as well as media portrayals or racialized groups, and their everyday experiences of ethnification and racialization. In this regard, we welcome submissions from a broad range of theoretical standpoints, methodological approaches, cross-disciplinary approaches, and topics of discussion.

Special Issue Scope and Objectives

This call for papers is open to theoretical, empirical or conceptual submissions from sociologists of sport focused upon race/ethnicity and their intersections, and allied areas of inquiry.

In particular, we welcome submissions that focus upon one or more of the following areas of inquiry:

      • How do experiences of racism and discrimination shape racialised people’s experiences in sport and physical activity, both historically in the present context?
      • How are the several moral panics and crises concurrent with the Black Lives Matter movement, including the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘Migrant Crisis’ in Europe and North America intertwined with racial/ethnic relations in sport?
      • How do athletes show resistance against discriminatory practices based on race, ethnicity and religion? How do athletes support the Black Lives Matter movement? In this regard, what is White allyship and how does it work?
      • How do sport organizations manage racism(s) and discrimination?
      • How is the current spike in activism related to systemic racialised issues? l
      • What are the consequences of the media racialisation of athletes and sports?
      • How can academics, contribute to racial justice in sport and the academy?
      • What practical possibilities and limitations exist in sport that contribute to (or hinder/subvert) the BLM movement, and in addressing inequality beyond the places of sport?

Submission Instructions

Authors are encouraged to submit an initial 500 word abstract to as an expression of interest to submit a paper. The deadline for abstract submission is 31 October 2020.

Abstracts should contain

      1. the intended type of paper that will be submitted (see below);
      2. study purpose, research problem(s) or debates against which the paper is situated;
      3. the basic design of the  study or theoretical discussion to follow;
      4. study findings, trends or theoretical insights, including a clear statement of original contribution of the paper; and,
      5. a summary of the paper’s conclusions.

Final manuscripts could fit into one of two categories:

      • Empirical Research (8500 word limit, inclusive of abstract, references, figure captions and up to five figures and/or tables.)
      • Theoretical or reflective pieces, including ‘think pieces’ on the state of play in race/ethnicity and sport in specific regions, countries or contexts (5000 words)

During submission of the final manuscript via ScholarOne, please ensure that you select the ‘submit for special issue on ‘Sport, Race and Ethnicity at a time of multiple global crises option.

Accepted papers will be published online early immediately following the proofing and typesetting. Papers selected for the final special issue will then be collated with a target publication date of April 2021 (Issue 2) in the European Journal for Sport and Society

Any informal questions or queries should be directed to Adam Evans (email:



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