Routledge – 2012 – 102 pages
Sport generates some of the most intense feelings and levels of commitment. It is big business globally, but also the source of the most powerful personal identifications and individual and collective pleasures. Sporting events are routine and embodied, whether in the gym, on the field or at the training ground, and they are also spectacular, for example in mega events at the stadium or, for followers at a distance, through the media of television, radio and the Internet. Large numbers of people are caught up in personal and collective investment and public engagement with sport. Why does it matter so much?
In this book, Woodward demonstrates why sport matters and how, arguing that we should take sport seriously, and explore what is social about it. Sport is not just another domain to which social theories can be applied; it is also distinctive and generates new ways of thinking about social issues and debates. Sport is affected by the global economy and social, political and cultural processes – but it also shapes the wider social terrain of which it is part. Sport reproduces inequalities as well as offering opportunities. It is not always a level playing field. Sport is more than play.
Planet Sport is an engaging and concise introduction to some of the big issues in contemporary debates about sport in globalised societies, and will appeal to students, academics and general readers alike.
1. Hold the Back Page; Sport Matters 2. What Counts As Sport: How and Why? 3. This Sporting Planet: G/Local Sport 4. Economies of Sport 5. Boundaries of Certainty 6. Everyday Routines: The Ordinary Affects of Sport 7. Spectacles, Spectators and the Spectacular 8. Do We Live On Planet Sport? Glossary. References.
Kath Woodward is Professor of Sociology at the Open University and has published extensively on the subject of sport, including Sex, Power and the Games (Palgrave, forthcoming 2012), Embodied Sporting Practices (Palgrave, 2009), and Boxing, Masculinity and Identity: the 'I' of the Tiger (Routledge, 2007). Her introduction to the Social Sciences: the Big Issues (Routledge) is in its second edition. She is building a collection for the British Library on sex, gender and the games for the 2012 Olympics and has contributed to the Summer Games website.