ESA Research Network 28 Society and Sport Midterm Conference Sport and social responsibility: science and practice in times of crisis



ESA Research Network 28 Society and Sport Midterm Conference

Sport and social responsibility: science and practice in times of crisis

University of Debrecen (Hungary)

21-22 October 2022

Call for Papers

Submission deadline is extended to 10th of July


The financial crisis, the ‘European refugee crisis’, the covid-19 pandemic, and the recently escalated Russo-Ukrainian conflict have dramatically affected the society and sport inside and outside Europe.

The last decade seems to be characterised by a quick succession of total phenomena (Mauss, 2002), socially and politically described as 'crises'. There are many possible explanations for the frequent usage of the term ‘crisis’. It could indicate a phenomenon of ‘semantic-bleaching’ (Meillet, 1912/1965); a contemporary tendency of society to describe itself as being permanently inflicted by crises (Luhmann, 1984); a concrete rise in crises in our ‘high-speed society’ (Rosa, 2003); or that we are entering an era of concatenated global crises (Biggs et al., 2011). If we consider crises as a state contrary to normality, we are witnessing a paradoxical normalisation of the crisis state (Holton, 1987).

Sport sociological research results (Földesi, 2014; Spaaij et al., 2021; Wunsch et al., 2022) show that these phenomena largely influenced the sports system at different levels. On the one hand, these events were perceived as issues with negative impacts on sport. Therefore, the wish to re-establish the status quo before the crisis was evident and preponderant. On the other hand, these crises accelerated ongoing processes of societal change, which stimulated innovations that also had positive impacts on agreeing with the sports movement. Many scholars (Donnelly, 1996; Hasson et al., 2021; Walby, 2021) agree that crises tend to increase social inequality (not only) in sports. Therefore, inequality is the main factor in explaining different perceptions and possibilities to adapt to radical social change.

This midterm conference aims to bring researchers but also educators, students, professionals, and other groups interested in sports and physical activity to propose their works. The focus of this midterm conference lies in the challenges that sport and physical activity as social practices have to face in the context of crises, the main issues they had to manage, the successes, the criticalities and the lessons learned. A serious and deep reflection on this topic is not only the premise for understanding the new emerged horizons but also for managing and steering the changes in the social and cultural landscapes.

While the focus of the conference lies on (physical) education, the conference will also feature a wide range of sessions to allow sharing and discussing the latest research experiences, including (but not limited to):

  • Physical education and sport in the setting of school
  • Sport, migration and forced migration
  • Health promotion and education in and through sports and physical activity
  • Methodological and empirical challenges to sports and physical activity
  • Sports and media: Mass and new publics
  • Sport and volunteering: Representations and perspectives
  • Sport and bodies
  • The sociology of sports, sports in sociology. A critical and reflective session
  • E-Sports, social fitness, new media and gamification
  • Physical activity, sports, health and social inequality

The University of Debrecen’s Institute of Education and Cultural Management  (Faculty of Humanities) in partnership with the Hungarian Sociological Association, Hungarian Educational Research Association (HERA), Debrecen Regional committee of the Hungarian Academy of Science and Sport Section of Italian Sociological Association (AIS Sport) will organise the midterm conference of the ESA RN-28 in hybrid form (both online and in presence)[1] on 21-22 October 2022 in Debrecen (Hungary).

Proposals should be sent in English to 10th of July 2022, followed by the registration on the conference website. They should include a title, the author(s)'s institutional affiliation and an abstract of 250 words (bibliography excluded). An author can be the first author only once and co-author twice. After the evaluation of the scientific committee, the authors will receive feedback before 15 August. Registration will be open until 15 September 2022. All the participants have to register on the conference website (not participating co-authors do not need registration).

[1] In case of a worsening of the pandemic, the conference will be carried out exclusively online.

September 2022. All the participants have to register on the conference website (not participating co-authors do not need registration).

Key dates

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: Submission deadline is extended to 10th of July 2022
  • Feedback on Abstract: 15 August 2022
  • Registration: 15 September 2022


  • For researchers from Ukraine the registration fee is free! (#WeStandWithUkraine)

In presence

  • Members (ESA RN28): young researchers (students, PhD, post-doc, assistant lecturers): 10 €; permanent researchers: 50
  • Non-Members: young researchers (students, PhD, post-doc, assistant lecturers): 20 €; permanent researchers: 70


  • Young researchers (students, PhD, post-doc, assistant lecturers): 10/20
  • Permanent researchers: 50/70 €

Further information on the conference website: Contact


Dr. Karolina Eszter Kovács (general secretary of the conference)

Krisztina Győri (secretary of the conference, technical issues)

Dr. Klára Kovács-Nagy (conference president)

Dr. Erika Juhász (payment information)


  • Biggs, D., Biggs, R., Dakos, V., Scholes, R. J., & Schoon, M. (2011). Are We Entering an Era of Concatenated Global Crises? Ecology and Society, 16(2), [online].
  • Donnelly, P. (1996). Approaches to social inequality in the sociology of sport. Quest, 48(2), 221-242.
  • Földesi, G. (2014). The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Sport. Physical Culture and Sport. Studies and Research, 63.
  • Hasson, R., Sallis, J. F., Coleman, N., Kaushal, N., Nocera, V. G., & Keith, N. (2021). COVID-19: Implications for physical activity, health disparities, and health equity. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 15598276211029222.
  • Holton, R. J. (1987). The Idea of Crisis in Modern Society. The British journal of sociology, 38(4), 502-520.
  • Luhmann, N. (1984). The Self-Description of Society: Crisis Fashion and Sociological Theory. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 25, 59-72.
  • Mauss, M. (2002). The gift: The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies. (W. D. Halls, Trans). London: Routledge.
  • Meillet, A. (1912/1965). L'évolution des formes grammaticales. Paris: Libraire Honoré Champion.
  • Rosa, H. (2003). Social Acceleration: Ethical and Political Consequences of a Desynchronised High-Speed Society. Constellations, 10(1), 3-33.
  • Spaaij, R., Luguetti, C., & De Martini Ugolotti, N. (2021). Forced migration and sport: an introduction. Sport in Society, 1-13.
  • Walby, S. (2021). The COVID pandemic and social theory: Social democracy and public health in the crisis. European Journal of Social Theory, 24(1), 22-43.
  • Wunsch, K., Kienberger, K., & Niessner, C. (2022). Changes in Physical Activity Patterns Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(4), 2250.

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