Why does sociology matter? The role of sport sociology in interdisciplinary research
Sociology has a quite peculiar relationship to the society it deals with: It is hardly noticed.
Sociology seems to have a reputation problem, not only in public and political contexts, but also in scientific research networks.
In political contexts, sociological consultation is rather the exception than the rule. Similarly, in interdisciplinary research projects, sociological expertise is often missing.
But why? Does sociology really have only limited value for collaborations with policy actors, industry, or other scientific disciplines?
We do not think so. A main function of sociology is to deliver complex descriptions of reality and reveal contradictions and inconsistencies in common sense and everyday constructions.
In this sense, the value of sport sociology in interdisciplinary research contexts is twofold:
On one hand, sport sociology can shed light on certain aspects that would have been overlooked by other disciplines,
such as the impact of life world structures on individual behaviour.
On the other hand, the sociology of sport offers alternative perspectives on the consequences of research in other disciplines.
In this regard, a sociological lens has the potential to uncover unintended consequences of technological and scientific innovation for the individual and/or society in the long run.
Over the last years, important sport sociological work has been noticed in other disciplines such as sports medicine or physical education, and has subsequently changed the ways how researchers in these fields approach their research problems. However, in many interdisciplinary research projects on specific phenomena in sport and physical activity, the added value of sociological reflections is still not fully recognized, and, as a consequence, sport sociology is often not part of larger interdisciplinary research efforts.
With the 2022 eass & ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport, we want to focus on the potential contributions of sport sociology to interdisciplinary research.
The 2022 eass & ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport is conceptualized as a joint conference of the InternationalSociologyofSportAssociation (ISSA) and the European Association forSociologyofSport (eass).