Anthropology, Sport, and Culture

Anthropology, Sport, and Culture

Anthropology, Sport, and Culture

Anthropology, Sport, and Culture

Synopsis

Even before the dawn of written history, it is likely that sports were culturally conditioned institutions that, along with material artifacts, social customs, and ideologies, were transported across cultural lines. Anthropology, Sport, and Culture brings together important articles written about sport by social scientists, humanists, and athletes themselves.

Excerpt

Kendall Blanchard

The Superbowl! It is mid-January on a Sunday afternoon. the attention of the world is drawn to what may well be the major sporting event of the year. Football enthusiasts and loyal fans have fought and paid big money for a chance to see the game live. Others are glued to their television sets in anticipation. Everywhere there are parties, large and small, as people take advantage of the occasion to get together with friends. Advertisers have paid as much as $1 million per minute for commercial time on the television broadcast of the event. As the teams are introduced, the crowd roars; the sound is deafening. Television announcers shout above the noise of the crowd, working their audience into a frenzy and bringing the emotional intensity of the stadium into living rooms, dens, and sports bars everywhere. the Superbowl illustrates the extremes to which sport has invaded all areas of modern life. However, it is only one event and one sport among many. Americans--indeed, people throughout the world--are often consumed by sport. It is no wonder that some refer to sport as the New American Religion (e.g.,Peake 1998: 6).

For such reasons, social scientists can no longer afford to ignore sport as a subject of serious research and discussion. Sport is not just an American religion; it is passion that has gripped most of the world. It is a universal phenomenon. It is shaping cultures, driving economies, and molding politics. It is a metaphor for modern life. Its impact is global, facilitating communication among nations while, at the same time, underscoring national, regional, and ethnic identities. It is a major mode of international relationships as American ping-pong players compete in a mainland China still off-limits to Americans, American wrestlers wrestle in an Iran still hostile and virtually closed to Americans, Japanese martial artists visit Malaysia, and Thai kick boxers tour Japan.

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