Call for Papers | The Future of Football: Mapping Progress and Alternatives | A hybrid symposium hosted by the Social Identities and Inequalities Research Group at Solent University, June 29, 2022. Call ends April 29, 2022

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We are delighted to confirm details of our football research hybrid symposium event titled: ‘The Future of Football: Mapping Progress and Alternatives’ on Wednesday 29 June 2022, hosted by the Social Identities and Inequalities Research Group at Solent University.

As European football continues to expand into new global territories, emergent debates concerning the future of the game have revealed new questions, new challenges, and new opportunities to those studying the politics, culture, economics, and sociology of the game in all its different forms. Central to this scholarship must be an attempt to understand the often fraught and contested relationship between football’s own histories, its rich culture, its organisation and governance, its sustainability, and its future in an increasingly global – but at times, also often polarised and fragmented society.

Some thirty years have now passed since the formation of the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. These reforms were underpinned by a neoliberal regulatory regime; one that demanded the intensification of commercial tendencies, and which, in effect, encouraged the privatisation of wealth over altogether more collectivised principles of solidarity, democratisation, and redistribution.

As a number of scholars have already noted, these trajectories have gone on to underpin the transformation of not only the pyramid of the English and European game, but global football as a whole, with a profound impact upon the playing and consumption of men’s and women’s football across Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Standing at this critical juncture, this hybrid symposium will be a timely event for participants to consider the future challenges and opportunities that all aspects and all levels of the game will face over the next thirty years.

We would therefore particularly welcome abstracts from scholars at all stages of their career, currently underrepresented in the field, including (but not limited to) women, Black, Asian and those from other minority ethnic communities, LGBTQ+, disabled, and neurodiverse academics.

We would also like to extend an invitation to scholars working within the field of critical football studies to submit papers that speak to emerging debates. These presentations may include, but are not limited to:

      • The future professionalisation of the game.
      • Questions on the future political, economic, social, cultural challenges and issues facing football’s different fans.
      • Supporter engagement and democratisation.
      • The state of grassroots football, and the challenges facing the game at a community level.
      • The financialisation of football, the new wealth that has emerged in the game, and both normative and critical questions around wealth inequality, and redistribution.
      • The possibilities and pitfalls to football offered by digital currencies and tokens such as Bitcoin, and NFTs.
      • Ongoing debates around gambling and football’s relationship in different contexts with the betting industry.
      • Football’s role in tackling climate change, supporting wider efforts to ‘green’ the economy, and its commitment to environmentalism and sustainability.
      • Social and welfare issues facing players released from academies, and those who have retired from the game.
      • The challenges faced by Black, Asian and other ethnic minority players, coaches, and fans within football.
      • Critical approaches to fan disorder, violence or ‘hooliganism’, specifically in a post-pandemic context.
      • Questions and challenges facing the women’s football at elite, youth, and grassroots levels.
      • Understanding football’s future role in community development across different contexts.
      • Critical questions on the future mental and physical health challenges facing football, such as depression, concussion, and dementia.
      • Understanding the future development of the game in ‘new’ territories such as Asia and North America.
      • Critical questions on the challenges of safeguarding against racist, sexist, sexual, homophobic, transphobic, and physical forms of abuse and discrimination.
      • Understanding football’s future role in helping address poverty, hunger, and homelessness.
      • Questions on and surrounding the future digital consumption of football.
      • Emerging questions around anti-discrimination initiatives and campaigning, including but not limited to sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia.
      • The future governance and regulation of football in the wake of the European Super League proposal and Fan-led Review.
      • The significance of ethics, morality, and human rights issues across football.
      • Debates around reform of the men’s and women’s club competitions such as the UEFA Champions League, and possibility of new tournaments and structures across other continents.
      • Emerging debates on transgender and sexuality in football in all its forms.
      • Questions on the future of football and critical disability studies.

We are keen that the symposium is as open and inclusive as possible, to reflect out shared commitment to a diverse and more equitable future of football. We would therefore particularly welcome abstracts from scholars at all stages of their career, currently underrepresented in the field, including (but not limited to) women, Black, Asian and those from other minority ethnic communities, LGBTQ+, disabled, and neurodiverse academics. Either single or co-authored paper presentations that address a theme on the critical future of football are preferred but contributions may also take the form of posters or a roundtable discussion. Participants are limited to one paper per main presenter. In light of the ongoing uncertainty around Covid and travel restrictions, we welcome presentations either in-person or online.

Abstract submission

Abstracts should be between 200 and 300 words in length, structured as outlined below, and submitted by email to the symposium convenors, Dr Mark Turner at mark.turner@solent.ac.uk and Dr David Webber at david.webber@solent.ac.uk.

Submission structure

Biography for each author approximately 100 words including contact details and Twitter handle.

      • Full title of paper.
      • Abstract main body.
      • Research theme and keywords.
      • Preference to present either in person or online.

Submission deadline

29 April 2022

Cost to participants

      • £30 for in-person attendance (including lunch and refreshments)
      • £20 for online attendance
      • £15 flat rate (online or in person) for early career researchers (PhD students or within 12 months of completing PhD)

Full details can be found by clicking here.

Kind regards

Dr Mark Turner, Dr David Webber, and Dr Rory Magrath

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