Sport has a chimeric value in modern life. On the one hand, millions of people choose to play sports or become supporters of sports. For these people, sport is a social good, something which brings people together for a common purpose, provides a sense of security and belonging and identity, and enjoyment and excitement; and for participants a sense of fulfilment, well-being and physical fitness. On the other hand, there is an increasingly vocal backlash against sport: by people in communities affected by the demolishing of homes to make way for facilities for mega sports event; by sports journalists weary of the doping and the match-fixing and the behaviour of elite athletes and sports organizations; by fans sickened by the way their sports have become tainted with the evil of global commerce; and by scholars and others critical of the importance given to sport in modern times. This project aims to bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in exploring the Janus face of sport, to try to better understand the status of sport in our everyday lives.
The Sport project will explore, assess, and map a number of key core themes:
● Sport and social identity
● Commercialization and sport
● History of modern sport
● Sport and celebrities
● The politics of sport
● Sports fandom
Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.