There has been a dramatic increase in academic research activity and practical initiatives on the topic of sports and Christianity, and its cultural significance during the past decade. The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at York St John University, York, UK, hosted the Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity (IGCSC), 24-28th August 2016 in collaboration with the Bible Society at which there were 180 delegates from 22 countries in attendance. For the area of sports studies/the social scientific study of sport, there was a thematic strand at the congress titled ‘Christian sociological perspectives on sport’ from which a special edition of the journal Sport in Society partially emanated. This book is based upon this journal special edition. The papers selected for inclusion in the special edition were purposely eclectic in order to demonstrate the diversity of current research occurring in the area of Christianity and social scientific perspectives on sport. The goal was to bridge divisions between various social science disciplines and theology or religious studies, through varied, novel and interesting explorations of sport in its various forms. We hope this collection inspires further studies into this area.The chapters in this book were originally published in a special issue in Sport in Society.
1. Christianity and social scientific perspectives on sport: introduction to the special issue
Tom Gibbons and Stuart Braye
2. Christianity as public religion: a justification for using a Christian sociological approach for studying the social scientific aspects of sport
Tom Gibbons, Nick J. Watson and Mark Mierzwinski
3. Can sport be regarded as ‘cultural liturgy’? Recognizing the significance of the liturgical frame for the social scientific study of sport
4. Redeeming the habitus: a Christian sociological approach to embodiment in sport
Mike Tyler and Tom Gibbons
5. Tanni Grey-Thompson – ‘The one that got away’: a theological analysis of foeticide, infanticide and the deviant Paralympic success story
6. ‘Jesus Saves’ and ‘Clothed in Christ’: athletic religious apparel in the Christian CrossFit community
Alexander Darius Ornella
7. ‘We must not engage in the blind glorification of sport’: Christian orthodox youths negotiate dominant societal and alternative Reformed sport discourses
Froukje Smits, Annelies Knoppers and Corina van Doodewaard
8. Re-characterizing confidence because of religious and personal rituals in sport: findings from a qualitative study of 15 year old student-athletes
9. Single, separate or unified? Exploring Christian academicians’ views of the body, sport and religious experience
The social, cultural (including media) and political study of sport is an expanding area of scholarship and related research. While this area has been well served by the Sport in the Global Society series, the surge in quality scholarship over the last few years has necessitated the creation of Sport in the Global Society: Contemporary Perspectives. The series will publish the work of leading scholars in fields as diverse as sociology, cultural studies, media studies, gender studies, cultural geography and history, political science and political economy. If the social and cultural study of sport is to receive the scholarly attention and readership it warrants, a cross-disciplinary series dedicated to taking sport beyond the narrow confines of physical education and sport science academic domains is necessary. Sport in the Global Society: Contemporary Perspectives will answer this need.