Thursday, July 03, 2008

Call for Papers: IRSS

The following comes from Thomas Carter at the University of Brighton in England. It's a call for papers for a special issue of the International Review for the Sociology of Sport.


Interrogating Athletic Urbanism:
The politics of sport spectacles in the economy of appearances

Guest Editor
Thomas F. Carter
University of Brighton

The use of sport to promote a sense of community within a sweeping urban environment as well to project specific imagery of a city in a competitive global environment tends to follow discursive strategies based on consumerism and modernism. These strategies are consumerist to the extent that a city becomes a playground for certain constituencies to associate their leisure with high-profile sporting experiences. Equally, they are modernist in that participation in sport symbolically demonstrates the city’s modern qualities and characteristics thereby providing proof that the city in question is a fully civilized, cosmopolitan environment. Sport, then, reflects civic leaders’ efforts to harness perceived social, political, and economic capital of sport for the benefit of the city, as they widely imagine it.

The production of city image-making fuels transnational corporate investment and it is this ‘economy of appearances’ that forms the place-making competition between cities. The self-conscious construction processes of dramatic performance create the conditions in which capital accumulation becomes a performance; a spectacle that demonstrates and asserts a city’s financial viability and status. Essentially the drama of spectacular accumulation makes the city a commodity, bought and sold, torn down, speculated upon, and fought over, in which ‘that which appears is good, that which is good appears’.[1] Cities have to be seen to be dynamic, progressive, modern –in a word “global”– before actually becoming so. Consequently, the dramatization of cities’ potential as viable places becomes crucial and it is this dramatization through spectacle that informs the economy of appearances. Whatever the imagery used, these discursive constructs rely on the idea that the city in question is a sporting city: a city that demonstrates its vitality, energy, civilization, and modernity through its sporting capacity.

Articles for this special issue of IRSS should address the politics of civic image-making through sporting spectacle: looking at how sport is harnessed for the construction of modernity in a global context. These papers should look at how selected cities - including ones not normally associated with the ideas of globalization - assert a place in a broader global order while at the same time keeping a localized context and significance through the use of sport.

Expressions of interest; queries and/or submissions should be maid via Submissions will be subject to the standard and rigorous style conventions and refereeing procedures of IRSS. For further details of submissions conventions see the IRSS home page.

[1] Debord, Guy (1995) The society of the spectacle. New York: Zone Books.


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