April 24–27 2019, Dunedin, New Zealand
The Executive Board of the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA) and I are excited to invite you to our 2019 World Congress of Sociology of Sport to be held April 24-27 at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
This is the first time an ISSA World Congress will be hosted in New Zealand, a small country but one with a long and strong tradition of sociology of sport. ISSA conferences support the association’s mission to advance education and research on the social significance of sport, exercise and physical activity. For over 50 years ISSA has continuously assembled scholars from across the globe—currently this includes scholars from over 30 countries–to facilitate research exchanges and to promote international co-operation. Though focused on sociology, ISSA congresses bring together social scientists from a variety of academic fields such as political science, history, cultural studies, ethnic studies, media studies, gender studies, social psychology, organizational and management studies, keen on debating critical issues regarding sport in society.
The theme of the 2019 Otago congress, ‘Sociology of Sport and Alternative Futures’ will certainly continue to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and debate. Steve Jackson, a long-time ISSA member and past President along with current ISSA General Secretary, Michael Sam are leading the Otago Local Organizing Committee (LOC). Together with a team of colleagues and graduate students, the organizers started planning the 2019 congress in 2015 and have been hard at work thinking about ways to offer an enriched academic, cultural and social experience for all attending delegates. The Otago LOC is currently crafting a scholarly program to advance the exchange of ideas and international networking related to the critical analysis of sociology of sport and its potential alternative futures.
We are delighted to be going to New Zealand for the first time and hope you will join us for the 2019 ISSA congress to discuss and debate the conference theme. Please note that additional sessions will also be offered to broaden the scope of the congress and to enable delegates to share their current research.
ISSA Executive Board members and I appreciate the enthusiasm and committed efforts of the 2019 University of Otago LOC to ensure an enhanced congress experience to all our delegates.
I look forward to seeing you in Dunedin,
Welcome from the Otago Local Organising Committee
On behalf of the University of Otago Local Organising Committee (LOC) we warmly welcome you to the 2019 World Congress of Sociology of Sport being held in Dunedin, New Zealand, April 24–27.
This is the first time the ISSA World Congress will be held in New Zealand and we are excited to share with you our beautiful city and country. Indeed, we encourage you to extend your trip if possible in order to explore the best of Otago and New Zealand.
The theme of this year’s conference theme, ‘Sociology of Sport and Alternative Futures’ recognizes, that our field, like its parent discipline Sociology and the Social Sciences more broadly, is facing unprecedented challenges not only over funding and resources, but also in terms of its legitimacy and relevance. Within the context of neoliberalism in general, and the corporatisation of university education in particular, there has been a slow but steady marginalisation of sociology of sport as a field of academic study. Curiously this has occurred despite enormous growth in the interest in ‘sport’ (broadly defined) within the global economy and as a focus of scholarly enquiry. Both state and private interests are increasingly aware of sports’ strategic location at the intersection of key sectors of society including: education, health, business and tourism/nation branding. Moreover, scholars spanning the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, geography, politics, economics, media and communication studies, and gender studies are increasingly recognising the social significance of sport as a cultural form and practice.
The past, present and future
As we approach the 20th year of the new millennium, the 2019 World Congress of Sociology of Sport provides an ideal platform to reflect, evaluate and contemplate the past, present and future of the field. While the sociology of sport, across all of its specialisations, has successfully identified social fault lines within sport, discussions about how to use this knowledge for social transformation and social justice through collective action and social policy have been far less robust. In short, it is timely for our field to envision and create an alternative future for both sport and its sociological analysis.
The 2019 Congress offers a unique opportunity to consider how, in the spirit of C. Wright Mills, our research, teaching, public service and political activism, can connect private experience with wider social structures, personal problems with public issues, and scientific analysis with political awareness. We invite scholars to share their research and to consider how it might contribute to a new vision for sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
It is our honour to host ISSA 2019 and we will do our utmost to make this a memorable experience. See you soon!