Ann E. Cudd, "Sporting Metaphors: Competition and the Ethos of Capitalism,"

By Szudy, Natalie | Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies, Annual 2007 | Go to article overview

Ann E. Cudd, "Sporting Metaphors: Competition and the Ethos of Capitalism,"


Szudy, Natalie, Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies


Ann E. Cudd, "Sporting Metaphors: Competition and the Ethos of Capitalism," Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 2007, 52-67. Reviewed by Natalie Szudy.

In this article, Ann E. Cudd explores the use of common sporting metaphors as general descriptors to illustrate different attitudes towards capitalism. Specifically, she examines the relationship between competitive structures underpinning sport and capitalism. In this comparative analysis, Cudd focuses on the following sporting metaphors: i) competition; ii) level playing field; iii) playing by the rules; iv) teamwork; and v) stepping up/slam dunk. Fundamentally, Cudd argues that the nature of capitalism can be viewed as strictly competitive; however, through the exploration of sporting metaphors, capitalism could also be viewed as having a combination of cooperative and competitive themes.

To establish the connection between sporting metaphors and capitalism, Cudd begins by exploring the relationship between metaphors and cultural representations. She argues that metaphors provide another way of expanding how we analyze rule-governed practices in society. Cudd notes that metaphors are commonly used to draw parallels and comparisons from familiar behaviours and actions to help understand less familiar experiences. This claim is dependent on the argument that the cultural structures that underpin society are prevalent in sport and business practices. Cudd locates the connection between sport and capitalism by establishing that both practices are essentially rule-governed and competitive. The operational definitions of sport and capitalism included in the article support the comparison.

In the discussion of the sporting metaphors, Cudd includes an assessment of the meanings that these metaphors have in society. She notes that there is a large amount of ambiguity associated with these metaphors, but the underlying theme of competition and cooperation provide substantial support in guiding behaviour. …

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