New Media Literacy and Sporting Cultures

Call for Papers

New Media Literacy and Sporting Cultures

Special Issue of Journal of Sport and Social Issues

David J. Leonard and CL Cole

Challenging those who blamed Twitter for the recent controversy surrounding Rashard Mendenhall, LZ Granderson celebrated the possibilities of new media technologies within American sports culture: “Twitter empowers them to show they are more than just the sport they play, to show they have a sense of humor, are aware of the world around them and are not afraid to try new things, like ballet classes. In other words, they are real people — not product-pushing puppets or faces of the franchise, walking around without thoughts or souls.”

Despite the humanizing possibilities, new media technology, evident in the power of sports video games, fantasy sports, and the often-hateful online discussions, simultaneously dehumanizes today’s athletes.  Reimagined as an object of play, consumption, ownership, and derision, the shifting technological tools exposes and disempowers today’s athletes all while enhancing agency and control. Breaking down boundaries, changing the relationship between athletes-fans-the media, and otherwise reconstituting the ways the sports operates; these technological-cultural-social shifts are changing the nature of sports itself.  We seek to reflect on the ways in which new sports media technologies simultaneously humanize and dehumanize across time and space.

This special issue works to highlight the dynamic nature of sporting cultures and the transformative possibilities resulting from new media technologies.  It attempts to build upon the existing literature all while engaging ongoing debates and discussions.  It seeks to foster critical new media literacy in a sporting context, all while elucidating the social, cultural and political significance resulting from the changing sports landscape.

In an effort to expand the conversation and engage the issues of new media and sports through alternative formats, we seek to publish editorial-styled essays.  We look for pieces that are theoretically rich, those focused on asking questions and expanding the discussion, and those dedicated to critical analysis.  We seek pieces that offer commentary and those committed to advancing and promoting new media literacy within a sporting context.

Authors should follow the ‘Manuscript Submission’ found at the JSSI website. Essays should be roughly 4,000-5,000 words, excluding endnotes and reference list. Questions should be sent to CL Cole – – or David J. Leonard, – All submissions are due by February 1, 2012 and should be submitted in electronic format to

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