Anthropology of Sport

Authored by: John W. Traphagan

The Ashgate Research Companion to Anthropology

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754677031
eBook ISBN: 9781315612744
Adobe ISBN: 9781317044116


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It is somewhat odd that despite its ubiquity in the modern world, sport has been a topic given only limited ethnographic and theoretical attention by anthropologists. In a chapter from the book Theory, Sport, and Society, Alan Klein (2002) argues that anthropology has generally failed to direct its analytical capabilities on the study of sport as it relates to broader aspects of culture and society. While sociologists and historians have given quite a bit of attention to sport, anthropologists seems to have been largely disinterested in this aspect of culture and have often failed to recognize how sport intersects with other aspects of human social organization such as parenting or economics. This is interesting because sport, like other areas of human activity such as religion or marriage, can be viewed as an institutional structure worthy of analysis in its own right while at the same time being integrated with other institutions within any cultural context and thus demanding attention if we are to take a holistic look at any given society or, in the contemporary world, at processes of globalization that both link and divide geopolitical and transnational structures (Blanchard 2000:145).

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