Mark Stoddart is organizing the following session at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS). The conference takes place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, from November 4-7. Abstracts are due by August 15, and should be submitted via the conference website: http://www.nasss.org/2009/submissions.php
Outdoor Sport and Eco-Politics
This session invites papers that explore the relationship between outdoor sport and environmental values, environmental conflicts, or environmental movement participation. There is a history of continuity between outdoor sport and environmentalism. Several core members of early environmental groups were avid mountaineers and skiers. A common narrative in histories of environmentalism connects the growth of environmental concern in the 1960s to increased opportunities to "get back to nature" through outdoor sports. Contemporary tourism further globalizes opportunities to "get back to nature" through sports like mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing or surfing, while transforming local environments into objects of an environmental gaze. Participation in sport can also form the basis of collective political identity, as in the case of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) in the UK, or Protect Our Winters (POW) in the US. Conversely, social movement actors have questioned the environmental legitimacy of sport. Ecological concerns have been invoked in opposition to the Winter Olympics among potential host cities over the past two decades. Ski development has similarly been defined as a problem by environmental groups in North America and Europe. Theoretical or empirical work that examines the complex relationship between eco-politics and outdoor sport are welcome.