Call for Papers | “The Sociology of Sports Work, Emotions and Mental Health” | Special Issue of Sociology of Sport Journal

Guest Editors: Paul Potrac, Martin Roderick and Andy Smith

tennis-umpireWork is widely recognised as a core activity in contemporary social life. Our efforts to study it have revealed much about the existing social order, inclusive of the inequalities, problems, issues, dilemmas, and emotions that people experience inside and outside of the workplace (Kalleberg, 2009). In recent years, scholars have increasingly explored the impact of neoliberal ideologies and working practices on the identities of individuals, as well as their relationships with others. Such inquiry has provided us with rich insights into the emotional and (micro)political practices of workers, who are expected to fulfil their obligations in workplaces that are characterised by increasing intensification, performativity, and, uncertainty, as well as the (often contradictory) tensions associated with the trend towards increased individualization alongside increasing interdependence.

Importantly, this line of scholarly investigation has revealed how employment contexts and relationships, job insecurity and relocation, low pay-no pay jobs, and (long-term) unemployment may contribute to the development of mental illnesses such as depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder, gambling and addiction, drug dependency, eating disorders (e.g. anorexia and bulimia nervosa), and disordered eating. Sociologists of sport have, however, paid rather less attention to the experience and management of emotion and mental health conditions among sports workers (e.g. athletes, coaches, managers, medical staff), especially in terms of the relational networks within which sports workers are enmeshed throughout their careers. Indeed, despite increasing recognition of the importance of emotional and mental well-being, and that mental illness is experienced by people at all levels of sport, this has not been accompanied by a comparable growth in sociological analyses of the personal and collective experiences of emotion, mental health and, indeed, mental illness among those who work in sport.

This Special Issue of the Sociology of Sport Journal seeks to generate new theoretical and empirical knowledge that enhances the adequacy of our sociological understanding of sports workers’ emotions, mental health, as well as their experience and management of mental illness. In doing so, papers which address, but are not limited to, the following are particularly welcome:

  • Explorations of identity, emotion, intensification and performativity in the sporting workplace
  • Sports workers’ understandings of individualization, vulnerability, and alienation in the workplace
  • Sports workers’ accounts of anger, fear, guilt, and anxiety in the (neoliberal) workplace
  • An examination of the personal and working lives of sports workers and their implications for mental health
  • The strategies sports workers deploy to manage their experience of mental illness and address their mental health needs
  • The definition, identification, treatment and management of mental illness in highprofile sport, and among so-called ‘sports celebrities’
  • The mental health, well-being and experiences of young, aspiring sports workers
  • The role of sports medicine personnel in supporting sports workers with mental illness and in addressing their mental health needs
  • The contribution of concussion, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and other brain injuries/trauma, to the development of mental illness among sports workers
  • Analyses of policy and interventions delivered in community and professional settings (including by sports organizations and governing bodies) to address the mental health needs of sports workers
  • Media representations of high profile athletes, mental illness, and sporting careers

Authors should follow the “Submission Guidelines for Authors” used in every issue of the Sociology of Sport Journal found at guidelines-for-ssj.

All papers should be approximately 8,000 words including endnotes and reference list. Submit original manuscripts online:

Please address any questions to one of the co-editors:

  • Professor Paul Potrac ( at Edge Hill University, UK,
  • Dr Martin Roderick ( at Durham University, UK, or
  • Professor Andy Smith (, at Edge Hill University, UK.

Deadline for submission of papers: 31 December 2015

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