Sports, Genders and Sexualities – Social, Ethical and Political Challenges

5th-7th May 2015
University of the Littoral Opal Coast
Dunkirk, France

Workshop Program now available as PDF file – download here


Alessandro Porrovecchio
University of the Littoral Opal Coast
URePSSS-EA 4110/EA4488 ULCO Laboratory

Paul Reynolds
Edge Hill University, UK
International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics (INSEP)

As expressions of cultural embodiment, sexualities, genders and sports can be analyzed as a mirror of societies’ transformations and developments. The analysis of sports, gender and sexuality can be a key to analyze changes and persistence’s in social interactions and collective representations. This workshop seeks to create a discursive space for contributors to explore the social, ethical and political criticalities arising in the interaction between sports, gender and sexualities in contemporary societies.. We invite papers aimed at both understanding the relationships between sports, genders and sexualities, and using them as a tool to analyse broader social, ethical and political transformations. As such, such, we hope to provide both critical evaluation of current theories and paradigms by which sport, gender and sexuality are understood and encourage the opening of new horizons for critical investigations. Indicative but not exhaustive themes of enquiry might be:

  • Should sport be sexy? Should sex be sport? What do we learn from bring the two together?
  • How have sports and physical cultures built their specificities – in particular with relation to genders and sexual differences and consequently to body-related social norms – and how should we understand them?
  • How have sports’ institutions managed to include or exclude gender and sexual diversities (e.g. cases of intersexed and/or transgender athletes or gender bars)? Are these exclusions necessary and what if any solutions are there for these exclusions?
  • To what extent has sports cultures been inherently sexist and heteronormative, and to what extent are they spaces of abuse, prejudice and pathology, and how can this be changed?
  • What impacts have innovations in sport practices (technologies, enhancements, techniques, dressing-codes, aesthetics, etc.) had in their intersection with sexualities?
  • To what extent have issues of sexual violence and homophobia amongst the sports community been successfully addressed?
  • How should we understand the confluences of desire, eroticism and pleasure in the intersections of sport and sexuality?
  • What are the popular and digitla media’s roles and responsibilities in the co-construction of sex and gender representations in sports?
  • What are the contemporary challenges and opportunities when we consider the relationship between sports and sexuality?

Starting from these (and other) questions, broader collective representations concerning sports, genders and sexualities can be analyzed, for example health issues, media messages, social rules.

This workshop will both bring together current research in the area and mark out future directions for researchers interested in contesting/reformulating our understandings of knowledge production in sports, gender and sexuality studies. We invite contributors to submit abstracts elaborating their theoretical and empirical research (including reflexive and experiential contributions). Studies that have focused on political, ethical and social criticalities are welcome. We are interested in contributions that expose the challenges, emerging issues and possible solutions in focusing in critical and delicate issues of power, domination and abuse in order to analyze the representations and meanings of both sports, gender and sexual diversities. We welcome both trans-disciplinary and disciplinary contributions.

This workshop is part of the new collaboration between the URePSSS-EA 4110/EA4488 ULCO laboratory (Unité de Recherche Pluridisciplinaire Sport Santé Société) of the University of the Littoral Opal Coast / University of Lille Nord de France and the INSEP (International Network on Sexual Ethics and Politics). INSEP is an international network that encourages synergistic transdiciplinary legal, political and ethical research, ‘troubling’ current assumptions, dispositions and claims for the boundaries between legitimacy and illegitimacy in diverse sexual identities, sub-cultures and practices in both national and international contexts. The URePSSS is a pluridisciplinary and inter-university laboratory that conducts its researches focusing mainly on the interaction between sports, health and society.

INSEP publishes a journal – – and is launching an accompanying book series in 2015. It is anticipated that this workshop will produce an edited collection and or a symposium in the journal (subject to normal refereeing conventions).

For more details about the URePSSS / INSEP workshop, please visit the INSEP website:

INSEP – International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics

Submissions for this workshop (300 words) should reach us by the final deadline of Friday 20th, February.

Please send abstracts to – Normal acceptance/rejection notification: within 7 days.
Tom Claes, University of Ghent
Alessandro Porrovecchio, University of the Littoral Opal Coast, URePSSS laboratory
Paul Reynolds, Edge Hill University
Denis Theunynck, University of the Littoral Opal Coast, URePSSS laboratory
Fabien Wille, University of Lille 2, URePSSS laboratory