Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

91

Discipline and flourish: golf as a civilising process?

D. Collinson and K. Hoskin

University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Abstract

This paper draws on the work of two writers currently influential in the social science field, Elias and Foucault, to develop a framework for the critical analysis of the dynamics of modern golf. We examine the “civilising” (Elias) and “disciplinary” (Foucault) processes that have shaped the game's emergence. While a civilised image is a distinctive feature of routine golfing practice, golf has also become a “disciplinary” field, where (i) technical and social discipline of body, mind and behaviour are seen as essential to success, and (ii) deep golfing knowledge is achievable only via the intervention of experts from technological and scientific disciplines. Yet, looking at its history, the emergence of golf as a civilising and disciplinary project was in no sense inevitable before the late nineteenth century. We therefore propose that a properly critical science of golf must confront the way that the game since then has become a field for civilising disciplinary and scientific interventions. Disciplinarity, in its various aspects, structures the way in which the game is organised, played and analysed. Even the meta-scientific framework of golf science is, we suggest, one of disciplinarity.

Keywords: Civilising Process, Disciplinarity, Meta-Scientific Analysis, Social Organisation of Golf


1. Introduction

Socio-historical studies of sport have rarely paid attention to the historical and contemporary organisation of golfing practices, focussing instead on sports such as football and cricket (e.g. Holt, 1989). While the papers by Stoddart (1990), Guest (1990) and Lowerson (1989, 1993) are partial exceptions to this rule, they tend to leave implicit the analytical framework that informs their examination of golf organization and practice. We seek to be more explicit in outlining a framework that can analyse why golf has developed both “civilising” and “disciplinary” dynamics in the way that it has over the past century. In so doing we both draw upon and modify insights developed by Elias and Foucault in other contexts and for other purposes. This is a search not for origins, for the “first golfer” or the “first country” where golf was played. It is instead a concern with how and why golf came to inherit its modern kingdom, transformed from an obscure and casual game played by an elite few-mainly in Scotland-to a worldwide global obsession.


2. Golf as a Civilising Process? The Links of History

Social scientific analyses of sport have recently begun to take up ideas from Freud, Weber, Marx, feminism and ethnic concerns among others; one particularly influential approach is the “figurational” or “process” sociology associated with the work of Norbert Elias (e.g. Elias, 1978; Elias and Dunning, 1986), an approach which has examined the historical emergence of sport as part of a “civilising process”. Elias contends that sport is a central feature of broadranging cultural shifts spanning several centuries, which are reflected in changes in the personality structures of individuals. Over time definitions change as to what is “acceptable” and “decent” behaviour regarding, for example, table manners (today eating tidily with knives and forks) and such behaviours as not picking one's nose, spitting, breaking wind or urinating in public.

Elias refers to “sportisation” as the nineteenth-century introduction into competitive sports of codified and strictly observed rules and norms, thus regularising the behaviour

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-620-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 643

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.