1st Edition

Critical Geographies of Sport Space, Power and Sport in Global Perspective

Edited By Natalie Koch Copyright 2017
    272 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Sport is a geographic phenomenon. The physical and organizational infrastructure of sport occupies a prominent place in our society. This important book takes an explicitly spatial approach to sport, bringing together research in geography, sport studies and related disciplines to articulate a critical approach to ‘sports geography’. Critical Geographies of Sport illustrates this approach by engaging directly with a variety of theoretical traditions as well as the latest research methods.

    Each chapter showcases the merits of a geographic approach to the study of sport – ranging from football to running, horseracing and professional wrestling. Including cases from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, the book highlights the ways that space and power are produced through sport and its concomitant infrastructures, agencies and networks. Holding these power relations at the center of its analysis, it considers sport as a unique lens onto our understanding of space.

    Truly global in its perspective, it is fascinating reading for any student or scholar with an interest in sport and politics, sport and society, or human geography.

    1. Introduction: Critical geographies of sport in global perspective (Natalie KochPART I: Sports, geopolitics, and state space  2. Geopolitics, identity, and horse sports in Finland (Pauliina Raento)  3. Spreading the game or reproducing hegemony? The United States and the regional geopolitics of women’s football in the Americas (Jon Bohland)  4. Nation-building and sporting spectacles in authoritarian regimes: Turkmenistan’s Aziada-2017 (Slavomír Horák)  5. Sports and politics in Israel: Settler colonialism and the native Palestinians (Magid Shihade)  6. Sports fields and corporate governmentality: Gazprom’s all-Russian gas program as energopower (Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen)  7. Athletic autocrats: Understanding images of authoritarian leaders as sportsmen (Natalie Koch)  8. Playing identity politics: The Gaelic Athletic Association in modern Ireland (Arlene CrampsiePART II: Sports, community, and urban space  9. Soccer and the mundane politics of belonging: Latino immigrants, recreation, and spaces of exclusion in the rural US South (Lise Nelson)  10. Competing visions for urban space in Seoul: Understanding the demolition of Korea’s Dongdaemun Baseball Stadium (Jung Woo Lee)  11. Running order: Urban public space, everyday citizenship and sporting subjectivities (Simon Cook, Jon Shaw, Paul Simpson)  12. Mallparks and the symbolic reconstruction of urban space (Michael Friedman)  13. Sports and the social integration of migrants in South Dublin (Neil Conner)  14. Spatial maneuvers: Geographies of power and labor practices in professional wrestling’s territorial era (Bradley Gardener)  15. In the shadow of mega-events: The value of ethnography in sports geography (Nicholas Wise)  16. Conclusion: Toward a critical geography of sport: Space, power, and social justice (David Jansson and Natalie Koch)


    Natalie Koch is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, USA. Her current research focuses on state-making, nationalism, geopolitics, and authoritarianism, with a special interest in spectacle – both in urban landscapes and in events like national celebrations and sports. An elite cyclist herself, she has a long interest in the intersection between political geography and sport, and has published numerous articles in journals such as Political Geography, Urban Geography, Geoforum, Social and Cultural Geography, and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

    "Overall, this is a valuable text that I would recommend to geographers and non-geographers alike. The collection successfully achieves its aim ‘to showcase the merits of a deeply geographic approach to the study of sport’ (p. 1). It is therefore deserving of a wider audience than those already persuaded by the usefulness of a geographic approach to studying sport…For non-geographers, this text provides a useful insight into what geography can offer as a disciplinary perspective and how core geographical concepts including space, place and scale can guide and frame studies of sport." - Catherine Waite, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of Northampton, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics

    "The book's main virtue is sporting and geographical diversity. It is not dominated by the Olympics, men's football, the USA and Europe, like many other monographs and anthologies with a sports focus." - Karin Book, Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University, Idrottsforum.org


    "Critical Geographies of Sport is most successful in demonstrating that sport is a part of the worlds of work, politics, and power, and therefore an important area of research for geography." - JEFFREY MONTEZ DE OCA, University of Colorado Colorado Springs