Sociological Perspectives on Sport
The narratives of three long moments in track-and-field athletic history rehearsed in the opening section, taking us from the ancient games in Greece and Rome, via the rationalization and bureaucratization of modern sport – Elias' 'sportization' – in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, to the reconstruction of the modern/postmodern (globalizing) Olympic movement, were demonstrative of both continuity and change. On the one hand, competing to win a foot-race doubtless carries with it some of the same tensions and emotions independently of time or place. On the other hand, the victory of Koroibos of Elis in the short foot-race at the first Olympiad in 776 BC cannot be understood in the same way as even the 'equivalent' victory of Dionysios of Alexandria in the 262nd Olympiad in AD 269, let alone the wins in the 100 metres of Harold Abrahams in Paris in 1924, Jesse Owens in Berlin in 1936 or Maurice Green in Sydney in 2000.
Selected issues in modern or contemporary sport were addressed in Part Two, during which a number of theoretical standpoints and theses were also introduced. The object of Part Three is to systematically review extant theories in the sociology of sport and, drawing on both this material and that in the two previous parts, to promulgate a distinctive perspective and agenda oriented to future contributions. In Chapter 7 summaries, illustrations and provisional evaluations are offered of the principal paradigms within which sociological theorizing about sport has taken place. And in the final chapter the case is made for new initiatives drawing not only on contributions from within these paradigms but also and more specifically on contemporary critical realism and critical theory.
Sociology remains obstinately multi-paradigmatic, although even Kuhn was unsure whether this indicates its independence or its immaturity in relation to the natural sciences. At different times most of its paradigms