Marjon News

Placing Identity, Diversity and Belonging in sport

Released: 17.09.15

The University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cara Aitchison, will take to the international stage to deliver a keynote at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Professor Aitchison’s lecture will form part of a conference about gender, sport and diversity. Her presentation titled, ‘Space for contradiction; placing identity, diversity and belonging in sport’, introduces sport as a site of contradiction; a space where gender, religious and ethnic identities can be subject to both celebration and challenge. Drawing on the analogy of the current refugee crisis across Europe, the paper examines ways in which sport, and particularly football and ‘mega-events’, have the ability to displace individuals and communities and threaten identity, social cohesion and belonging.

The conference, titled ‘Making Space and Sports: gender, religious and ethnic diversities’, takes place on September 17 and 18. It will form part of an important research project ‘Van voetbalvrouwen tot vrouwenvoetbal’ (From Football Wives to Women’s Football: an Interdisciplinary Research into the Societal Impact of Women’s Football in The Netherlands).

Professor Aitchison is widely known for her research on social justice in leisure, sport and tourism, particularly her work examining gender relations. She has published 10 books including Gender and Leisure: Social and Cultural Perspectives (Routledge, 2003), Sport and Gender Identities: Masculinities, Femininities and Sexualities (Routledge, 2007) and, with Peter Hopkins and Mei-Po Kwan, Geographies of Muslim Identities: Diaspora, Gender and Belonging (Ashgate, 2007).

Organisers of the conference, the University of Utrecht’s department of Cultural Anthropology, explore questions such as: How are urban spaces created by citizens, sports organisers, corporations and governments? How do sport, gender, class, race, ethnicity, and religion intersect in urban spaces? How is space and sport gendered and racialised? Where and when are (sporting) spaces conceptualised as 'private' or as 'public', and how can we understand their overlap?

The University of St Mark & St John, a pioneering education institution since 1838, is a leader in innovative research with impact in its three faculties: Sport & Health Sciences; Education & Social Sciences; and Culture & Language Sciences. For more information about research rich programmes at the University of St Mark & St John, explore our courses.

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