Call For Papers | “The Professionalization of Action Sports: The Changing Roles of Athletes, Industry and Media” | Special issue of Sport in Society


Over the past two decades, action sports have undergone rapid growth and development, such that it is predicted the global action sport industry will be worth more than US$20 billion by 2017. A considerable body of scholarship has examined these changes, with a focus on their globalization, commodification, diversification and indoorisation. Particular attention has been dedicated to examining the various identity politics within particular action sporting cultures (i.e. skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, parkour, climbing). More recently, the rise of new media, the transformation of the sport industry, and the development of these sports in non-western countries have propelled new endeavours within this flourishing body of research. In addition, with surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing short-listed for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, significant changes are afoot within action sports cultures and industries.

To date, however, little research has focused on the increasingly complex relationships between the development of the industry, the transformation of the media landscape, the institutionalization of these sports, and the professionalization of athletes. This special issue of Sport in Society will address these interrelated themes by asking how athletes are responding to the growing commercialization and professionalization of their sports, how the industry is evolving in response to their popularization and diversification, and how digital media practices are informing and reflecting these changes while supporting new relationships between companies, athletes, and participants.

Inviting theoretical and/or empirically based contributions from within and across an array of disciplines, including sport sociology, anthropology, marketing and management, and media and communication studies, we aim to provide a timely response to such trends by encouraging critical discussions about how cultural, economic and political changes in the global and local marketplace are impacting the complex relationship between athletes, the industry and the media. We are looking for contributions addressing one of the main topics outlined above but are also open to proposals on similar topics as long as they maintain a strong focus on some aspect of the professionalization of action sports.

Submission schedule

  • Deadline for abstract (200 words) submissions: 1st August 2016
  • Invitations based on abstract acceptance*: 1st September 2016
  • Deadline for full submissions (8,000 words including references): 1st March 2017

* Please note, invitation to contribute a full manuscript does not guarantee publication and all manuscripts will go through the full double-blind peer review process with at least two reviewers.

Editorial information

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