CFP: Special issue “Conflict and crisis in elite sport”

Call for papers

Special issue of the Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies 6.2

Conflict and crisis in elite sport: media, ideology, identity and politics in an era of hyper-sportisation

Guest editors: Verner Møller (Department of Sports Sciences, University of Aarhus) and Bernat López (Department of Communication Studies, Universitat Rovira i Virgili).

Professional elite sport and the closely related phenomenon of media and spectator sport are among the most global, pervasive, influential, and visible social phenomena across countries, cultures, and social strata. Modern societies seem to be clearly demanding more sport, not less (Dimeo, 2007: 138). The sportisation process (Maguire, 2007) seems to be entering a new era in which more is at stake concerning elite and spectator sports: nationalism, identity, geopolitics, the leisure economy, corporate capitalism, and the continuous (re)definition of the boundaries of human performance and capabilities. Despite commercial sport being increasingly an object of attention for social theory and social research, their expanded relevance calls for further and closer scrutiny. This proposed special issue intends to contribute to this.

Although a wide range of commodities and infrastructures, from tennis balls to stadia, are closely associated with elite sport, its basic “product” has no materiality in and of itself since it is a performance: essentially a mass-mediated performance. Sport is a cultural and symbolic phenomenon. As such it offers an ideal site for the expression of ideology, identity (re)construction and cultural and political struggle. Therefore this special issue will focus on modern elite sport as the arena for symbolic and ideological conflict, struggle and crisis. Contributions are invited from any social scientific and cultural studies perspective, such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, media and communication studies, sports studies, gender studies, economics, law, history, and political science.

Proposals are expected to focus on the relationship between elite and media sports and a wide range of issues: national, class, gender, sexual, intergenerational or racial struggle, the doping debate, symbolic violence, identity (re)construction, global versus local, the survival of small national cultures in the new global context, etc. Articles applying a stateless-nation or small nation-state perspective will be particularly welcome.

The journal plans to include articles of around 6-7.000 words, plus short research reports of around 2-3.000 words for the Viewpoint section. Full articles for proposed contributions should be sent to by 31 January 2014. Acceptance of articles will be confirmed by 30 March 2014. All contributions will be subjected to anonymous peer review. For more details about the journal guidelines please visit:

Guest editors:

Professor Verner Møller is one of the leading scholars in the field of doping and sport studies. He is co-founder of the International Network of Humanistic Doping Research (INHDR) (, which brings together 30 researchers from twelve different countries devoted to the study of the philosophical, social, and cultural aspects of doping and anti-doping. Professor Møller has published extensively on the issue, in Danish and English. His main contributions include the monographs The ethics of doping and anti-doping: Redeeming the soul of sport? (Routledge, 2010), Dopingdjævlen – analyse af en hed debat (Gyldendal, 1999; English version: The Doping Devil), Doping and Public Policy (co-editor, University Press of Southern Denmark, 2004), Elite sport, doping and public health (co-editor, University of Southern Denmark Press, 2009), and Doping and anti-doping policy in sport: ethical and legal perspectives (Routledge, 2011).

Bernat López has recently moved into the field of sport and doping studies where he has published on the social history of cycling in Spain and Catalonia, and already contributed recognised insights into the social construction of the doping issue. His previous research activities dealt mainly with minority cultures, media, and communication and cultural policies in Catalonia. He is the author of, among other, “Sport, Media, Politics and Nationalism on the Eve of the Spanish Civil War: The First Vuelta Ciclista a España (1935)” (International Journal of the History of Sport 27, 4, 2010), “Doping as Technology: A Rereading of the History of Performance-Enhancing Substance Use” (International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics 4, 1, 2012) and “The invention of a ‘drug of mass destruction’: deconstructing the EPO myth” (Sport in History 31,1, 2011).


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