New Directions in Sport History: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

New Directions in Sport History

1st Edition

Edited by Duncan Stone, John Hughson, Rob Ellis


115 pages

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Emerging from the ‘history from below’ movement, sport history was marginalised for decades by those working within more traditional historical fields (and institutions). Although a degree of ignorance still exists, sport history has now acquired a level of credibility through the dedicated work of professional historians. And yet, as this authority has been established, changes to UK higher education funding (the removal of direct state funding, the Research Excellence Framework, and tuition fees) and academic publishing (open access) have the potential to damage, or even end, sports research. This book examines sport history from a variety of perspectives. Do mainstream historians need to engage, or ‘play’, with sports historians? Has the postmodernist ‘cultural turn’ in sports history been helpful to the sub-discipline? How can the teaching of sports studies be more innovative and inspiring? How can oral history and sport history be utilised in the study of other branches of historical interest. Although changes are required in dealing with the current political reality of UK higher education, sport history still has a great deal to offer students, future employers and the public alike. This book was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.


"New Directions in Sport History offers a critical assessment of the field and provides advice on how sport historians can better relate to main stream historians, other academic audiences, and undergraduate students. Such prescriptions should be heeded; otherwise, the future of sport history is bleak and the state of the field moot. For as Johnes concludes, arguing over the relationship between subdisciplines or whether we have studied X or Y enough will be redundant because none of us will have jobs to do any research in the first place (p. 107)."- Lindsay Parks Pieper, Sport in American History

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Duncan Stone

2. Last Man Picked: Do Mainstream Historians Need to Play with Sports Historians?

Paul Ward

3. Sports History: Outside of the Mainstream? A Response to Ward’s ‘Last Man Picked’

Matthew L. McDowell

4. Cracks in the (Self-Constructed?) Ghetto Walls? Comments on Paul Ward's ‘Last Man Picked’

Malcolm MacLean

5. ‘The Postmodernist Always Rings Twice: Reflections on the "New" Cultural Turn in Sports History’

John Hughson

6. The Sporting Image: A Personal Journey Utilising History to Develop Academic Inquiry and Creativity

Iain Adams

7. ‘Ordinary working men … transformed into giants on the rugby field’: ‘Collective’ and ‘Individual’ Memory in Oral Histories of Rugby League

Rob Light

8. Asylums and Sport: Participation, Isolation and the Role of Cricket in the Treatment of the Insane

Rob Ellis

9. What's the Point of Sports History?

Martin Johnes

About the Editors

Duncan Stone recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Huddersfield, UK. His main research interests include amateurism, regionalism, the role of urban/suburbanisation upon social and cultural identities, the ‘cultural war’ over the definition of sporting practice, and the legitimate function and meaning of sporting activity.

John Hughson is Professor of Sport and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. He is the Director of the International Football Institute, and works in research partnership with the National Football Museum, Manchester, UK. He is author of The Making of Sporting Cultures (Routledge, 2009) and The Uses of Sport (Routledge, 2005).

Rob Ellis is Lecturer in History at the University of Huddersfield, UK. He has published articles on the West Riding Pauper Asylum’s relationship with the Poor Law. More recently, he has worked with West Yorkshire Archive Service, the Thackery Medical Museum, Leeds City museums and South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust to bring the asylum story to a wider audience.

About the Series

Sport in the Global Society - Historical Perspectives

As Robert Hands in The Times recently observed, the growth of sports studies in recent years has been considerable. This unique series with over one hundred volumes in the last decade has played its part. Politically, culturally, emotionally and aesthetically, sport is a major force in the modern world. Its impact will grow as the world embraces ever more tightly the contemporary secular trinity: the English language, technology and sport. Sport in the Global Society will continue to record sport's phenomenal progress across the world stage.

Learn more…

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