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30 March 2021
Emerging Sports: Participants, Groups and Movements
Sociological Focus invites papers for a special issue, “Emerging Sports: Participants, Groups and Movements.” Given the recent growth in participation of several sports, the study of emerging sports may provide new sociological insight but has received little attention from scholars. The goal is to feature scholarship on topics outside the established research on traditional, achievement-focused institutionalized sports.
By evoking “emerging sports” as a theme, the hope is to unite different areas of research while avoiding dichotomies, such as new versus old sports or mainstream versus alternative sports, and including various concepts like “lifestyle sports,” “postmodern sports” and “non-normative sports.”
Led by Belinda Wheaton and others, a cohesive tradition of scholarship has formed around emerging lifestyle sports, such as skateboarding, snowboarding, Ultimate Frisbee and parkour. In addition to these, the issue hopes to encourage research on other emerging sports—disc golf, flat-track roller derby, Pickleball, round net, cornhole, esports, mixed martial arts and more—that may be culturally distinct, both from lifestyle sports and each other.
The mere fact that many different emerging sports exist, and some thrive, outside of society’s dominant sports institutions and hegemonic sports cultures is a topic worth exploring from multiple theoretical perspectives.
This call for papers is both interdisciplinary and international in scope and not restricted to any specific theoretical or methodological perspective. Research approaches may focus on individual participants, groups, organizations, social movements and other macro-level analyses.
Suggested topics include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Environment and sustainable development
- Marginalized groups/identities
- Media and communications
- Nonnormative sports
- Parks, recreation and policy
- Race, Class, Gender
- Social inequality
- Sport and intersectionality
- Sport growth and development
- Sport as religion
- Sport as social movement
- Stereotypes and bias
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