Reconstruction 17.2: Fantasy Sports

Andrew Ploeg's picture
Call for Publications
February 1, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Sport History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, American History / Studies

          Fantasy sports are one of the most popular and rapidly expanding areas of contemporary culture.  Despite the immense interest in them, however, fantasy sports remain an insufficiently mined scholarly resource.  While studies on the topic have been published over the past fifteen years, they have focused almost exclusively on issues of law (e.g., Are fantasy sports a form of gambling?), economics (e.g., Who should profit from sports statistics?), and sports management (e.g., Who plays fantasy sports and why?).  We contend that this limited approach has contributed to fantasy sports research being considered a minor scholarly niche, rather than a diverse subject area rife with its own unique cultural insights.  Thus, instead of intervening directly in established debates, in this special issue, we propose to open previously unexplored avenues for fantasy sports research that will broaden the geographical, historical, cultural and intercultural, theoretical, philosophical, and/or disciplinary scope of the field and spark future study.  With this in mind, we seek interdisciplinary articles, written in an accessible style and dedicated but not restricted to the following under-represented or entirely unrepresented themes (with a strong emphasis in every case on the broader implications of each theme and their greater significance):

  • Internationalization:
    • How are fantasy sports conceived of and played within or across cultures?  
  • Alternative gameplay:
    • How are conventional gameplay paradigms co-opted or subverted?
  • Unconventional fantasy sports:
    • How do unconventional fantasy sports differ from conventional ones?
  • Fantasy/real sports:
    • What insights can fantasy sports offer regarding their real-world counterparts and/or vice versa?
  • Participation:
    • Here we are not interested in who plays fantasy sports and why (i.e., participant motivations), but rather in what it means that people play.
  • Philosophical/theoretical approaches:
    • How can contemporary philosophical or theoretical approaches help us to better understand fantasy sports and/or vice versa?
    • How do fantasy sports resist prevailing philosophical or theoretical logics (e.g., late capitalism)?
  • Recent developments:
    • In what ways are fantasy sports currently evolving (e.g., “daily” fantasy sports)?
  • The future:
    • Here we are not interested in the growth of the industry in terms of participants or profits, but rather in terms of what fantasy sports might become in five or ten years.
  • Genealogies:
    • What were the various conditions of possibility that led to the emergence and development of fantasy sports?
  • Gender and sexuality:
    • Here we are not interested in gathering further information regarding fantasy sports gender demographics, but rather in what such gender demographics mean.
  • Race/ethnicity:
    • Here, again, we are not interested in collecting further fantasy sports demographic information on race or ethnicity, but rather in what such demographics mean.
  • Technology:
    • How have fantasy sports shaped technology and/or vice versa?
  • Statistics/statistical analysis:
    • How have fantasy sports shaped statistics/statistical analysis and/or vice versa?
  • Community/communities:
    • What unique communities are fostered and sustained by fantasy sports?
    • What values, practices, ethics, and attitudes do such communities share?

Please send 300-500 word abstracts to special issue co-editor Andrew J. Ploeg at by February 1, 2016.  Final submissions may take the form of scholarly articles (5,000-10,000 words), multimedia entries, or book reviews, in addition to other forms that you feel may be of interest to an online cultural studies audience.

Due Date: February 1, 2016

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (ISSN: 1547-4348) is an innovative online cultural studies journal dedicated to fostering an intellectual community composed of scholars and their audience, granting them all the ability to share thoughts and opinions on the most important and influential work in contemporary interdisciplinary studies. Reconstruction publishes three Themed Issues and one Open Issue per year. 

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Contact Info: 

Special Issue Co-Editor: Andrew J. Ploeg

Contact Email: