Research Topic

Sport and Political Ecology

About this Research Topic

As our relationship with the physical, material, territorial and atmospheric qualities of Earth become increasingly complicated, critical sport scholarship plays an essential role in revealing both the complexities of nature-society relations, and the political economies that sustain and disrupt them. Equally, sociological, historical and philosophical sporting ecologies allow us to craft delicate explanations for contemporary trends, whilst envisaging a range of alternative futures. This prompts us to imagine a world where humans and nonhumans cohabitate in a fair and ethical way; where environments are not bound by strictly demarcated boundaries; and where responsibility for climate change, pollution and habitat loss are shared equally amongst the world's population. As such, sport scholarship is crucial in promoting radical ecological thinking, whilst simultaneously advancing more orthodox approaches and ideas.

While work regarding ‘nature sports’ and ‘sporting environments’ is now well established, this Research Topic is dedicated exclusively to a political ecology of sport: in particular, how social, cultural, political and historical factors come to bear on our intra-actions with both human and nonhuman ‘others’. Primarily, this involves the recognition that all sports are ecologically connected to other objects and life forms. However, within sport, we also acknowledge that this often happens within varying scales, intensities and temporalities. For example, sporting mega-events should be recognized as an important contributor to climate change: directly contributing to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels; the production of non-degradable plastics; and, the decimation of natural habitats – such as, forests, seas and rivers (Hayes and Karamichas, 2012). Equally important, however, are those localised experiences and practices that often remain (deliberately) hidden, such as individuals’ material and elemental engagement with space and the ways in which this can relieve trauma, enhance resilience and facilitate the acquisition of particular social, emotional and affective capacities.

We welcome both empirical and/or theoretical presentations that extend our understanding of the divergence between ecological and political relations within sport. Though we aim to publish papers that sit broadly within the social sciences and humanities, we welcome theoretically nuanced and innovative works that transgresses orthodox disciplines and boundaries.

Potential topics include:
• Social theories of the environment (including new materialism, psychoanalysis, environmental constructivism, socionature co-production)
• Climate change and the emergence of the ‘Anthropocene’
• Decolonising knowledges and indigenous environmental justice activisms
• Outdoor sport, enclosure, access and inclusion
• Sport, capitalist natures, extractivism and resource conflicts
• Sporting goods and the politics of commodity chains
• Sport infrastructures and land protests
• Rewilding landscapes and the ethics of animal sport
• Nature Sport and Outdoor Recreation Human/non-human interactions
• Environmental policy and management
• Environmental social movements
• Risk and the environment
• Natural disasters and environmental disruption


Keywords: Anthropocene, nature-culture, nature sports, environmentalism, ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As our relationship with the physical, material, territorial and atmospheric qualities of Earth become increasingly complicated, critical sport scholarship plays an essential role in revealing both the complexities of nature-society relations, and the political economies that sustain and disrupt them. Equally, sociological, historical and philosophical sporting ecologies allow us to craft delicate explanations for contemporary trends, whilst envisaging a range of alternative futures. This prompts us to imagine a world where humans and nonhumans cohabitate in a fair and ethical way; where environments are not bound by strictly demarcated boundaries; and where responsibility for climate change, pollution and habitat loss are shared equally amongst the world's population. As such, sport scholarship is crucial in promoting radical ecological thinking, whilst simultaneously advancing more orthodox approaches and ideas.

While work regarding ‘nature sports’ and ‘sporting environments’ is now well established, this Research Topic is dedicated exclusively to a political ecology of sport: in particular, how social, cultural, political and historical factors come to bear on our intra-actions with both human and nonhuman ‘others’. Primarily, this involves the recognition that all sports are ecologically connected to other objects and life forms. However, within sport, we also acknowledge that this often happens within varying scales, intensities and temporalities. For example, sporting mega-events should be recognized as an important contributor to climate change: directly contributing to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels; the production of non-degradable plastics; and, the decimation of natural habitats – such as, forests, seas and rivers (Hayes and Karamichas, 2012). Equally important, however, are those localised experiences and practices that often remain (deliberately) hidden, such as individuals’ material and elemental engagement with space and the ways in which this can relieve trauma, enhance resilience and facilitate the acquisition of particular social, emotional and affective capacities.

We welcome both empirical and/or theoretical presentations that extend our understanding of the divergence between ecological and political relations within sport. Though we aim to publish papers that sit broadly within the social sciences and humanities, we welcome theoretically nuanced and innovative works that transgresses orthodox disciplines and boundaries.

Potential topics include:
• Social theories of the environment (including new materialism, psychoanalysis, environmental constructivism, socionature co-production)
• Climate change and the emergence of the ‘Anthropocene’
• Decolonising knowledges and indigenous environmental justice activisms
• Outdoor sport, enclosure, access and inclusion
• Sport, capitalist natures, extractivism and resource conflicts
• Sporting goods and the politics of commodity chains
• Sport infrastructures and land protests
• Rewilding landscapes and the ethics of animal sport
• Nature Sport and Outdoor Recreation Human/non-human interactions
• Environmental policy and management
• Environmental social movements
• Risk and the environment
• Natural disasters and environmental disruption


Keywords: Anthropocene, nature-culture, nature sports, environmentalism, ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 January 2021 Abstract
17 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 January 2021 Abstract
17 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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