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.
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.
Keynote speaker: Professor Deborah Lupton “Technologies and self-tracking of health and fitness”