Autonomous geographies of recreational running in Sofia, Bulgaria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


During the last decade, recreational running in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, has become more visible. The growing popularity of free to join recreational running clubs is a key mechanism that has promoted running and developed the burgeoning running scene in the city. The case study presented in this paper draws on in-depth interviews and participant observation from an ongoing project with recreational runners in Sofia. This paper argues that these running clubs endeavor to promote a collective ontology that aims at bringing all sorts of bodies together. As such, running clubs present an approach that foregrounds participation and movement to promote sustainable urban spaces that are defined by their openness to corporeal activity. Drawing on the work of Jean-Luc Nancy and concepts of everyday utopias and urban play this paper concludes that running clubs are suggestive of ways to develop physical activity within a pluralistic notion of bodies and space. The paper develops the evidence base of elements of running club activities that draw people into participation in Eastern Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-959
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Early online date14 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Urban and Public Policy Research


  • autonomous
  • Eastern Europe
  • playful
  • running
  • Sofia
  • utopia


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