2nd Global Symposium Sport: Power to Change the World?
‘Sport’, as Mandela famously observed, ‘has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.’
The power of sport to serve as a force for social good is well-documented. Various types of sports bring people from different generations and backgrounds together for a common purpose, provide a sense of security, belonging and identity, enjoyment and excitement; and for participants a sense of fulfilment, well-being and physical fitness. In short, sport and its associated values can act as a powerful driving force for individual growth, social change and collective engagement.
At the same time, the misuse and abuse of power by the people and institutions that help to entrench the pervasiveness of sport in modern culture casts a dark shadow over practically every sporting activity. In response, there has been a vociferous backlash, including from sports journalists weary of the doping and the match-fixing and the behaviour of elite athletes and sports organisations; from fans disenchanted by the way their sports have become submerged in the world of global commerce; and by scholars and commentators critical of the disproportionate importance given to sport in the modern world. Double standards and tainted values feeding a generation of flawed celebrities and skewed priorities.
The second meeting of the Sport conference provides a platform for participants from all relevant professions, disciplines and practices to explore, assess, and build action around key themes relating to the dynamics of power as it relates to sport with a view to forming a selective publication to engender further collaboration, research and discussion. . This includes, but is not limited to:
- Power of sport to impact individuals, communities, cultures, nations
- Power of sports figures: privileges of fame, expectations as role models, etc.
- Power and institutions that fund, regulate, commodify sport
- Power and sports clubs/organisations
- Power and sport fans
- How sport (dis)empowers women, people of colour, people with disabilities, Indigenous/First Nations People, LGBTQI+ people, economically disadvantaged people, etc.
- Impact of countervailing external powers on sport (e.g. law, politics, public opinion, etc.)
- Strategies for dealing with abuse and misuse of power by individuals and institutions in sport