CfP: Special issue entitled “Sport and Politics: Contexts, Connections, Confrontations”


Call for Papers for a Special Issue:

“Sport and Politics: Contexts, Connections, Confrontations”

Since the second half of the nineteenth century, sport has become an inseparable part of modern life. It has played an increasingly positive and important role in entertainment, commerce, public health, and the military. It has penetrated the institutional fabric of society and become more and more involved in the formation and expression of local, national, and even international collective identities. Prior to World War I, all these aspects of sport could be said to be in statu nascendi; however, after 1918, sport gradually evolved into a typical phenomenon of contemporary mass society, with an increasingly strong link to politics.

In some instances this evolution has manifested itself in the use of sport as a platform for promoting nationalist, racist, and colonial agendas. It has occasionally been exploited as an instrument of control in the social, gender, and religious spheres. Last but not least, it has become a big, profitable business. In the period leading up to World War II, various social and professional groups pursued their political agendas through sporting activities. The rise of authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships was accompanied by the politicization of sport. Such regimes valued sport as a space for self-promotion and for defining themselves vis-à-vis the outside world. During both world wars, sport was incorporated into the war effort. Strong athletes were promoted as heroes who embodied the best qualities of a given nation and team sports were likened to the combat activities of military units. Not surprisingly, sports activities were incorporated into military training.

After World War II, when the world was gripped by a bipolar power struggle, and later an unpredictable multipolar competition, sport fulfilled other prominent political needs. From a socio-cultural perspective, sport was a stage for the emancipation of racial and gender minorities and the pursuit of other agendas. In the international context, attempts at using sport as a bridge between the two blocs alternated with celebrating international sporting events, including the Olympics, as opportunities to marginalize and weaken geopolitical rivals. In recent years, some authoritarian regimes have continued to use sport as a tool for propaganda and the promotion of their power. These regimes’ rivals have countered by excluding their national sports teams from participation in international competitions.

This call for papers solicits original contributions highlighting the broad variety of connections between sport and politics from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day in North America, Europe, and post-Soviet Eurasia.

Suggested subthemes and subtopics may include, but are not limited to:

  • sport as a tool for nation-building
  • sport as an instrument of mass mobilization
  • sport and propaganda
  • sport in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes
  • doping in sport and international politics
  • sport in inter-state and intra-state conflicts
  • sport as business and politics, and the role of oligarchs in sport
  • sport as an instrument of national soft power
  • the history and politicization of the Olympic movement
  • sport and globalization
  • sport and gender
  • sport, racism and “woke” culture
  • sport as a colonial and postcolonial phenomenon; the decolonization of sport
  • sport and culture; celebrities as social role models
  • sport and media
  • the musealization of sport
  • recent methodological trends in the study of sports

Articles must be written in English and ideally should be 6,000 to 9,000 words long. Submissions should be sent to the editorial team at or uploaded via the Studia Territorialia journal management system. Authors should consult the journal’s submission guidelines for further instructions and style. All contributions are subject to double-blind peer review.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: July 15, 2024.
Notification of status by: July 31, 2024.
Deadline for submission of articles: September 30, 2024.

Acta Universitatis Carolinae – Studia Territorialia is a leading Czech peer-reviewed academic journal focusing on area studies. It covers the history and the social, political, and economic affairs of the nations of North America, Europe, and post-Soviet Eurasia in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The journal is published by the Institute of International Studies of Charles University, Prague. It is indexed in the SCOPUS, ERIH PLUS, EBSCO, DOAJ, CEEOL databases, among others.

For further information, please feel free to contact the editors at