The Field : Truth and Fiction in Sport History book cover
1st Edition

The Field
Truth and Fiction in Sport History

ISBN 9780415282284
Published February 9, 2006 by Routledge
352 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

2006 North American Society for Sports History Book of the Year

The literature on sport history is now well established, taking in a wide range of themes and covering every activity from aerobics to zorbing. However, in comparison to most mainstream histories, sport history has rarely been called upon to question its foundations and account for the basis of its historical knowledge.

In this book, Booth offers a rigorous assessment of sport history as an academic discipline, exploring the ways in which professional historians can gather materials, construct and examine evidence, and present their arguments about the sporting past.

Part 1 examines theories of knowledge, while Part 2 goes on to scrutinize the uses of historical knowledge in popular and academic studies of sport history. With clear structure, examples, summary tables and a detailed glossary, The Field provides students, teachers and researchers with an unparalleled resource to tackle issues fundamental to the future of their subject, and sets the agenda for the debate to come.

Table of Contents

Prologue: An Introduction to Sport Historiography. Part I: Models. Introduction to Part I 2. Facts, Objectivity, and Interpretation: Truth in Sport History 3. Facts, Concepts, and Structures: Theory in Sport History 4. Narratives, Non-narratives, and Fiction: Presenting the Sporting Past 5. Remnants of the Past: Sources, Evidence, and Traces in Sport History Part II: Explanatory Paradigms. Introduction to Part II 6. Advocacy: Debunking Myths 7. Comparison: Expanding the Evidence 8. Causation: Explaining Determinants 9. Social Change: Explaining Transformations 10. Context: Interpreting the Big Picture 11. New Culture: Interpreting Language and Discourse Epilogue: Towards an Alternative Model? Glossary.


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Douglas Booth is Professor of Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Sport History, Sport History Review and The International Journal of the History of Sport.

He is a well-known, respected and popular sport historian, with a high profile in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. His book The Race Game: Politics and Sport in South Africa (Frank Cass) was awarded the 1998 North American Society for Sport History 'Book of the Year' award.