Call for Papers | The Social History of Sport in Socialist Yugoslavia: Special Issue of The International Journal of the History of Sport


The historiography of Yugoslav sport represents a peculiarly under-researched field of the socialist federation’s social and cultural history. Although the Yugoslav socialist project and its impact on sport and leisure cultures are generally agreed upon, within scholarship it has remained an area of research that still lacks significant academic explorations. Yet, in many ways Yugoslav sport has mirrored social, cultural and political developments within the socialist federation and would ultimately also be closely intertwined with the country’s overall destiny.

From its initiating moments, the role ascribed to fiskultura by Yugoslav political elites showed the importance with which sport and leisure cultures were identified. However, although incentivizing the idea of mass recreational sport, the political elites needed to find a way to manoeuvre the subsequent professionalization of sport which also resulted in the development of athletes’ stardom, increased commercialization and cult following, and so on. Having a significant impact on the institutional organization of sport from the grass-roots level to national representative sport, these policies addressed not only national audiences but were also conceptualized as a means of international representation. This was particularly the case with the strategic promotion of the Yugoslav non-allied third way through the hosting of international sporting tournaments such as the 1979 Mediterranean Games in Split, the 1984 Olympic winter games in Sarajevo and the 1987 World University Games in Zagreb. During the 1980s then, Yugoslav sport emblematized the ambivalent and fragile condition of the Yugoslav state system in a political and economic crisis. Whilst Yugoslav national teams continued to celebrate global success, sporting arenas in the federation became increasingly infamous for violence and nationalist outbursts.

The rationale of the special issue is thus to share insights into the social role of sport in socialist Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1991. The Guest Editors invite contributions by scholars of all seniority and various disciplines (in particular historiography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and so on). Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

    • Yugoslav sport, socialist modernity, and ideology
    • Yugoslav sport, socialist body cultures, and notions of gender
    • Yugoslav sport, educational system, and amateurism versus professionalism
    • Yugoslav sport, diplomacy, the Cold War, and representations
    • Yugoslav sport, architecture, city planning, urbanity,and regionalism
    • Yugoslav sport, memory, and lieux de mémoire
    • Yugoslav sport, nation-building, nationalism, and Yugoslavism
    • Yugoslav sport, violence, fans, and dissolution
    • Yugoslav sport, (pop-)culture, film, and literature

How to submit your abstract for consideration

We invite abstracts (maximum of 500 words) to be submitted by 15 February 2016 to the Guest Editors (see below). Authors will be notified of acceptance of proposals by 1 March 2016. Completed papers must be submitted via ScholarOne by 15 August 2016.

Guest editors

  • Dario BrentinUniversity of Graz/University College London
  • Dejan ZecInstitute for Recent History of Serbia, Belgrade
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