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[ecrea] Call for Papers "The Sports Hero in the Social Imaginary"

Sun Jan 14 08:35:02 GMT 2018

Im@go - A Journal of the Social Imaginary
Call for papers n.11 (July 2018)

The Sports Heroes in the Social Imaginary
Editors: Luca Bifulco & Mario Tirino

Heroes can be defined as people expressing exclusive traits of grandeur, which represent for a community exemplary features by virtue of his merits, their unusual superiority, their distance from ordinariness. Therefore, they become a collective symbol, honoured, commemorated and perhaps adored. But above all, the members of a community can identify themselves with their glory, their uniqueness, trasforming them into a glue of the sense of belonging. This is also the case of sports heroes. They demonstrate their unique qualities in the high dramaturgical context of sports competition, and within extra-ordinary spatio-temporal coordinates and with glorious traits emerging from the simplicity of everyday life. Athletic excellence, singular performances, rare skills and uncommon personality make them  potential public spokespersons for a community, wanting to be forged by excellence, embodying some idealized values and relevant collective meanings. The Nation States, a product of modern society like sports, as we know them today, have in fact been able to use the sports hero as a myth and social glue. However, an athlete becomes a sports hero only when his skills, his talents, his actions fit into effective narratives. Narratives, in all forms and through all types of media, extends the appeal of the sports ritual, the event and its protagonists, making them memorable and exemplary. Facts need to be converted into structured stories, in order to create that combination of meanings and emotions, which then become the fundamental ingredient for identifying the heroic or mythical depth of the athlete. An ideal greatness , capable of containing collective dreams and aspirations, as well as that system of reading, ordering and understanding of reality, in all its complex articulations, which represents the consistency of the myth and its ability to transcend time. However, the greatness and the glory are not obvious. In the context of sports competitions as well as in his real life, the hero lives a biography that alternates downfall and good fortune, and takes charge of personal contradictions, existential or related to his career. Thus, his exemplarity also consists in publicly staging the aporia that characterizes the human condition and that each person faces in his daily life. The study of the sports hero’s imaginary helps to explore the plurality of dimensions (political, social, cultural, economic) in which the mythical narratives reverberate, in order to question, from different perspectives and disciplinary approaches, some of the possible trajectories and configurations of the relationships between sport, story and society.
The possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  * Symbols, archetypes and mythologies of sports heroes;

  * Phenomenology of sports heroes in classical and contemporary
    imaginary (literature, cinema, television, theatre, etc.);

  * The sports imaginary between global processes and national and local
    identity constructions;

  * The mythology of sports heroes in the processes of building
    historical memory and collective memory;

  * The political dimension of the athlete’s myth, in relation to the
    construction of consensus, community ties and conflicts between
    powers, institutions and subjects;

  * The sports heroes as a star: construction of celebrity and
    spectacular forms of celebration;

  * The bodily dimension of the sports heroes;

  * Tools, technologies, materials of sports heroism;

  * The sports imaginary as a place of hybridization between symbol and

Deadline for submission of abstracts: *February, 20^th , 2018*
Communication to the authors: *February, 27^th , 2018*
Deadline for submission of papers: *April, 10^th , 2018*
Referees communications: *May, 29^th , 2018*
Deadline for submission of final revision: *June, 12^th , 2018*
Proposals may be submitted in Italian, English, Spanish and French, and sent simultaneously to: (rivistaimago /at/ <mailto:(rivistaimago /at/>; (luca.bifulco /at/ <mailto:(luca.bifulco /at/>; (mario.tirino /at/ <mailto:(mario.tirino /at/>.

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