4th WG2 Online Research Workshop on “Sport as community builder: Social entrepreneurship and social enterprises in sports”

Dec 11 - Dec 11, 2020

Online (hosted by West University of Timișoara and EMES)

Working Group 2 of the COST Action “Empowering the next generation of social enterprise scholars” invites you to participate in its online workshop to take place on December 11th, 2020.

Rationale and scope of the workshop

Beyond achieving new athletic performances, the sport has multiple social dimensions. The social role of the sport is related, among others, to the preservation and strengthening of health (including physical and mental development, active ageing, etc.), the enhancement of education (regarding the formation of skills, habits, values – including the promotion of peace, civic culture, etc.), achieving social inclusion (both, in general and with special attention to disadvantaged groups: elderly, poor, migrants, etc.), etc.

Sport is multi-faceted when it comes to social entrepreneurship and social enterprise (SE). Firstly, sport can in itself be the generator of community. Secondly, it can serve as an intervention method for solving social/community problems. These dimensions are positively reflected in public policy documents of institutions of high international relevance: World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations, European Union, etc.

In these contexts and in relation to the main global problems human society is facing nowadays, as defined by the UN 2030 Agenda, sport, as a tool to tackle social/community problems, has a huge untamed potential for social interventions. Despite the development of a certain level of organizational practice and the public policy recognition of its community benefits, sport has sparked very little reflection in the academic literature in the field of SE.

Mapping relevant case studies of social entrepreneurship initiatives and social enterprises in the field of sport would generate more visibility of this topic for the academic community and, at the same time, would contribute to the development of organizational practice in the field.

We acknowledge the circumstances of Covid19 as a global pandemic and encourage authors to submit proposals that address current challenges including (but not limited to) the Covid19 pandemic in all thematic lines.


Please register in advance for this workshop in the following link
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the workshop. Note that the registration deadline is Thursday, December 10th.

The workshop will take place from 10:00 to 16:30 (Belgium time) on Friday, December 11th.

Thematic lines

In the framework of the COST EMPOWER-SE Working Group 2 (general topic SE – Industries and Impact), we invite proposals for contributions to Sport as community builder: Social entrepreneurship and social enterprises in sports workshop. These can include national evidence or international comparative research dealing with:

  1. Theoretical and epistemological perspectives derived from or foundation for recent and upcoming comparative research on SE in sport. This aims at narrowing the gap in systematic research generating good empirical data on SE versus problems related to socio-cultural and conceptual contexts as well as specific epistemological traditions.
  2. The role of SE initiatives in national sport systems and their impact on local communities such as their evolution, traditions, organizational models and legal types, business models, partnerships, preferred fields of activities, initiators, members and stakeholders composition (user/citizens, staff/professionals), conflictual situations, and quantitative or qualitative impact on specific sports as well as their specific ecosystems.
  3. The governance of social enterprises in sport and their challenges inter alia funding and the resulting challenges and opportunities for SE initiatives in sport, public law and fiscal framework influences on SE initiatives in sport (e.g. not for-profit or public benefit status versus commercial action), governance of SE startups in sport, labor market and employment conditions, cross sectoral collaboration and coproduction.
  4. Innovative contributions to sport and society at large: potential means of broadening/maintaining levels and access to SE initiatives in sport, creating service innovation, democratizing and diversifying sports initiatives, contributing to gender equality, influencing policy development and local support mechanisms, furthering promotion and development of the UN SDG, and the role of SE in sports therein: communitarian aspects (including social inclusion, volunteering, self-help and user groups) and case studies are welcome.

Workshop committees

Scientific committee:
  • Danijel Baturina, Institute for Social Policy, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Nicolae Bibu, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, West University of Timisoara, Romania
  • James Bostock, Sport, Outdoor and Exercise Science, University of Derby, United Kingdom
  • Anne Bunde-Birouste, School of Population Health, The University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Mike Bull, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS), United Kingdom
  • Anna Ciepielewska-Kowalik, Institute of Political Studies the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  • Giulia Galera, Euricse, Italy
  • Lars Hulgård, Roskilde Universitet, Institut for Mennesker og Teknologi, Denmark
  • Adrian Nagel, Faculty of Sports and Physical Education, West University of Timisoara, Romania
  • Francesca Petrella, Aix-Marseille University, France
  • Davorka Vidović, Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb, Croatia.
Organizing committee:
  • Mihai Lisetchi, West University of Timisoara
  • Nicoleta Mirica, Faculty of Sports and Physical Education, West University of Timisoara
  • Rocío Nogales, EMES Network (EU)

Disciplinary approach and abstract submissions

We invite proposals for paper presentations focusing on findings of theoretical analyses, empirical quantitative and qualitative field research, case studies and comparative analyses covering various EU countries. We welcome the submission of papers drawing on all fields of social science.

Interested authors should submit a 250-300 word long abstract of their contribution that includes: author(s)’ full information (including country, gender and whether ECI ); contribution title; main research objective/question; methodological approach; (expected) results and contribution.

All submissions will be made via email to the empowerse-sports@emes.net.

A full paper template will be shared with selected authors when they are notified so they can submit their contribution.

Publication opportunities

The results of this workshop will be published in a peer-reviewed manner. Full papers presented on time will be invited to join the publication following the workshop in the EMES Conference Paper Series. Pending the conclusions of the discussions with some academic publications a special issue may be published. More information will be provided to accepted authors.

Targeted participants

Researchers and practitioners currently involved in the topics described above are welcome to apply.

Financial support

No financial support will be available from the organizers.

Key dates:

  • 6 November: Call published
  • 4 December: Deadline for the submission of abstracts
  • 6 December: Notification of acceptance to authors and publication of the preliminary program & Presentation deadline (submission of draft or full paper is encouraged)
  • 7 December: Program published
  • 10 December: Registration deadline
  • 11 December: Workshop begins