Special Issue "Human Rights through Sport"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Grant Jarvie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9YL, UK
Interests: sport; comparative analysis - Canada and Scotland; higher education; highlands and islands

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

If sport is to be further enabled to address power, inequalities and social justice within the contemporary global context, then the development of further interventions is an urgent necessity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaimed in 1948 that the recognition of the inherent dignity and of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world (United Nations 1948). Seventy years later the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, chaired by the former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, was launched in 2018 with the specific aim of supporting: (i) the prevention of human rights harms from occurring through sport; (ii) access to effective remedy where harms have occurred and (iii) promoting a positive human rights legacy from sport and sporting events. As the world enters the third decade of the 21st century, the call for knowledge exchange around human rights through sport is needed as much as ever.

The 1948 UN Declaration on Human Rights protected the right to health and wellbeing, rest and leisure. The 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize the integrated and indivisible nature of sustainable development. Here, human rights laws seek to protect and promote economic, social, and environmental development but they also reach further into civil and political aspects of life that can support efforts to enable sport, peace, and justice. To talk of sport and human rights includes, for example, seeing sport as part of a set of commitments and practices aimed at using public power to deliver public goods to people, regardless of their personal identity, political affiliation, and/or geographic location.

Impunity, denial, and neglect remain central characteristics within the struggle to realise human rights in more places, more contexts, more often. A gulf exists between human rights ideals and human rights in practice. Sport is an important space through which human rights activity can be advocated for, investigated through, protected, publicised and prevented. Whilst the state was the original focus of human rights protection the advance of human rights norms is now also used to hold non-state actors to account. Thus, the focus of any contemporary consideration of human rights through sport must allow for contributions that cover a broad range of places, agencies, individuals, communities including those invoked by the state and non-state actors.

Consequently, human rights through sport allows space for contributions that talk to both (i) the struggle for human rights in sport and (ii) the struggle for human rights through sport where sport is used as a means to an end that draws attention to specific outcomes enabling human rights. Thus, sport might be thought of as a space through which human rights might be contested and fought for. Spaces are desperately needed to open up the possibility of dialogue involving the interests of more than one group or one state or one community. Could such spaces be provided through sport?

With the aforementioned in mind, this Special Issue of Societies on Human Rights through Sport invites papers that addresses the urgency and specificity of the call to exchange knowledge about human rights through sport that can help to demonstrate the realization of human rights through sport. To talk of human rights through sport is not the same as talking about human rights and sport or human rights in sport. The distinctive contribution of this Special Issue, therefore, is to take forward the development of knowledge around human rights through sport in at least two ways. First it is open to contributions that include but go beyond conceptual accounts and critiques to human rights through sport by offering solutions and or recommendations. Second it assists by providing an opportunity to exemplify the growing diversity and strength of analyses of human rights through sport that allows for both socio-economic and geo-political content. We need to strengthen the narratives that connect human rights and sport and this call for papers is an opportunity to do so.

Potential topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Sport and athletes rights;
  • Sporting events and human rights;
  • Rich contextual accounts of human rights through sport in different places and communities;
  • The violation of rights through sports labour supply chains;
  • Policy and or programme interventions that enable human rights through sport;
  • Normative and or empirical propositions that address the problem of human rights through sport;
  • Sport, poverty and human rights;
  • Agency, human rights and sport;
  • Human rights, reconciliation and healing through sport;
  • Sport companies’ violation of human rights;
  • Social movements action on human rights through sport;
  • The role of the multi-lateral agency in advancing human rights through sport;
  • Deep case studies (individual, community, organization, country) talking to human rights through sport;
  • Lessons from the past for the present;
  • Other.

Prof. Dr. Grant Jarvie
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as conceptual papers are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Concept Paper
Physical Education and Sport between Human Rights, Duties, and Obligations—Observations from Germany
Societies 2021, 11(4), 127; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soc11040127 - 22 Oct 2021
Viewed by 298
The starting point entails the declarations of the International Olympic Committee, as well as UNESCO and the Council of Europe on sport as a human right. This article adopts a philosophical and historical perspective on the question of which duties, obligations, and constraints [...] Read more.
The starting point entails the declarations of the International Olympic Committee, as well as UNESCO and the Council of Europe on sport as a human right. This article adopts a philosophical and historical perspective on the question of which duties, obligations, and constraints stand in the way of realising this utopian perspective of fair and humane sport as a general human right. The work is based on central historical documents and writings. Two strands of argumentation are pursued. Firstly, the introduction of compulsory physical education, particularly in Germany and on the European continent, in the context of nation-building since the 19th century. Secondly, the idea of a world of sport of its own, which emerged from Olympism and was intended to assert itself against political and economic appropriations. Compulsory physical education is not a human right but a duty. The idea of a world of sports of its own has produced further regulations and obligations in certain fields of sports like professional and commercial sports. Doing sport for health and fitness may become a social obligation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Rights through Sport)
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