Report on World Congress – Sociology of Sports, Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 June 2016
Dr. Sanjay Tewari, Convener, Adhoc Group-Sports Sociology, ISS

From June 8-11, 2016 the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA) held its World Congress in Budapest, Hungary at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The local Organizing Committee – a collaboration of Hungarian academics working at St John’s University (New York, USA), the University of Physical Education (Budapest, Hungary) and Bell & Partners Communication – organized this event, with the theme “Sport, Global Development, and Social Change.” The association dates back from the formed in 1964 in Geneva, the International Committee for the Sociology of Sport (ICSS) at UNESCO. To date, research on the Sociology of Sports committee formed ISA leadership and the ISSA. Therefore, the President of the ISSA both headed ' Sport Committee »ISA, which have become the biggest international forum of Sport Sociologists, holding and interacting annually. In 1995, the International Committee on the Sociology of Sport changed its name to the present - the International Association of Sociology of Sport. And since Sociological Forum 2001 in Seoul (South Korea), Congresses have gained a new format , thanks largely to the support of the publishing house SAGE Publications.

The main goal of the conference was to gather the international community of sociologists of sport to discuss the key issues and debates surrounding the role and place of sport in global social and economic developments. The congress aimed common interests linked to this theme to emerge, networking opportunities to develop collaborative research projects, and to extend international scientific knowledge in human and social sciences. This congress was organized with the support of the Ministry of Human Development and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Almost forty sessions were held, under the themes of Sports and Health ; Race and Ethnicity; Sports, Inclusion and Exclusion ; Sports Economics, Business and Society; Sports and Gender; Sport, Risk and Violence; Sport and Media; Sports and National Identity; Sports and Regional Development; Sports, Politics and Olympics; Sports and Migration; Sports and Physical Education in Schools/Colleges/Universities; Sports, Physical Activity and Ageing; Sports and Social Class; Sports and Globalization; Sports, Ethics, Law and Education; Women Leadership in Sports; Sports, Politics, Identity Formation and New Media; Sports and Organizational Behaviour; Sports, Gender and Sexuality; Sporting Careers; Politics and International Sport; Sport and Performance; Sport and Social Change; Sport and Urban Development; Sport, Development and Peace; Sport and Popular Culture etc. Delegates including Professors, Coaches, Research Scholars, Sport Luminaries, etc from many countries such as Russia, the United States of America, United Kingdom, Brazil, Turkey, Israel, Taiwan, China, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, France, Canada, Argentina, Hungary, Portugal, West Indies, etc and me from India were present.

The sessions were indeed very rich, both academically and pragmatically. I presented on a very important topic “Sport Sociology: An analysis in context to India”. I spoke on the issue of beginning of Sport Sociology in India. I stressed upon the fact that till date the Sport Sociological studies could not get an impetus due to the fact that Sociologists seem to be disinclined, despite of the fact that this happens to be a legitimate area of study. Yet, sport development programs provide sociologists opportunities to know and engage with body politics, questions of structure & agency, and social transformation. I also pointed the august gathering that these studies need a boost in India, and that till date we have seen more concentrations in the area of Doping, Sport Management, Sport Psychology etc., but nothing in Sport Sociology. I exhorted that in many ways sport represents a social ‘field, a structured space of positions that impose specific determinations on those who enter it. Rather than simply enhancing individual freedom and opportunity, sport-based programs serve as social control and regulation. Basic education is important for gaining foothold in sports for social neo-liberalism. Social environment, geographical conditions, educational arrangements and the regional economy determine to a large extent if personal development and ambition are able to flourish. I discussed my research, as to how I propose to take this with the youth and, to consider how sport development agendas are often confounded by tensions, negotiations, and resistances contours of the local context. In addition, it was an honor for me to Chair a Session on Sports: Inclusion and Exclusion. This particular session saw presentations from the Loughborough University, University of Norway and the University of Taiwan. Issues as to how we can socially include all sectors and segments were discussed thread bare. Issues on how to address social inclusion in Sports, in the form of disparities of caste, creed, religion, sex, etc were also debated, and the Academicians pinned their views on this.

It was underpinned that Sport Sociology in India needs the desired thrust and support of the international community so as to see that this not only grows in terms of the Members attaching them but also thrives to create interests and inclinations of the stakeholders, for all, i.e. the Researchers, Academicians, Government and all others. The factors influencing sports participation have emerged as a point of interest among academics and that Sport Sociology in India needs to grow from here.

The Research Committee 27 of Sports Sociology of the International Sociological Association will be holding its Sessions at the ISA Congress at Toronto in July 2018. Discussions and talks involving all the Members focused about going for it or not. It was decided that ISSA shall be a part of this grand Congress, as it will be getting a wider platform for interdisciplinary approaches such as organizing sessions in coordination with the Sociology of Leisure, Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Youth, Sociology of Development etc. The next ISSA World Congress will be in Taiwan in 2017, and the Taiwan Association of Sports Sociology presented a brief report about the preparations. The ISS World Congress for 2019 is scheduled to be held at New Zealand, with 2018 seeing no Congress, but association at the International Sociological Association at Toronto in its World Congress.
It was indeed an enriching experience. Enriching in the sense that the World saw the emergence of Sport Sociology in India, and as I happen to be the Convener of the Adhoc Group on Sport Sociology in India with the Indian Sociological Society (www.insoso.org), this assumes even more importance. I happen to be the sole Member of the ISSA, which organized its 51st World Congress. I intended to bring the ISSA to India, under its special initiatives program. More of this can be observed at www/issa2016.org. I am more than glad to inform that informally the ISSA has agreed to sponsor some Memberships for India, to enhance the Membership and to be a part of this campaign. We have almost no literature of Sports Sociology, and this Conference helped me this way too. International participation of many Sport Sociologists aided me not only in maintaining a liaison, but this also assisted me in future prospecting, particularly with the University of St Petersburg, Russia and the University of Taiwan. In an informal development, I have tried to create a pool of four BRICS countries, i.e. Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil, and we are in the process of connecting to the other two.

To conclude, this attendance, presentation and Chair at the 51st World Congress of Sociology of Sport at Budapest, Hungary 8-12 June 2016 was an enriching experience for me, and India. Not only I had an opportunity to interact with various faculties of Sport Sociology, Researchers, Coaches etc, it also gave me a gateway to enhance academic know how in this area, brighter prospects for connecting with BRICS countries, efforts for enhancing the Membership of the ISSA in India, knowing sources of literature for Sport Sociology, knowing techniques of research in this area, knowing the interconnections of sport with Sociology in the less developed, developing and developed economies and lastly, but not the least, to show the case and prospects of India and its potential to develop into a Sporting Nation.

Sports Sociology Conference at SP College, Pune

A Conference of Sociology of Sports was held on the 22nd and 23rd February 2016 at the Shri Parashuram Bhau College, Pune. The Centenary Celebrations of this College saw this Conference being held jointly by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Physical Education. More than 100 delegates attended this conference, and many papers were presented. Dr. Sanjay Tewari, the Convener of the Adhoc Gr II on Sports Sociology, Indian Sociological Society was invited as a Key Note Speaker.

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, after vigorous follow up by the Convener, Dr. Sanjay Tewari, has agreed upon to induct “Sports Sociology” in its approved list / Scheme of Human Resource Development. This has opened new vistas for Research, Publications, Conferences, Academic Studies, Projects etc.

Executive Committee of the Adhoc Group on Sociology of Sports

Ms / Sri / Dr…..

  • Sanjay Tewari, Convener
  • Vishesh K Gupta, Co-Convener
  • Bidya Nath Mishra, Darbhanga, Bihar
  • Usha Rana, Sagar, MP
  • Rakesh Kr Tiwari, UP
  • Sanjukta Das, Odisha
  • Saheli Chowdhury, W.Bengal
  • Prashant Singh, Uttarakhand
  • KrVivek Kant, UP
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