Exploring European sporting identities: history, theory, methodology ,
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Crosson, S., Dine, P. (2010) ' Exploring European Sporting Identities: History, Theory, Methodology ' In: Dine, Philip; Crosson, S(Eds.). Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe. Oxford : Peter Lang.
This collaborative study (an introduction to the collection Sport, Representation, and Evolving Identities in Europe) is intended to contribute to the ongoing elucidation of the role of sport in the processes of identity construction in contemporary societies, including an overview of its historical development and the major theoretical and methodological approaches to the examination of sport. Since the pioneering work of Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger on ‘the invention of tradition’ (1983), and Benedict Anderson on ‘imagined communities’ (1983), modern games have regularly been identified as a core component in the construction of Europeans’ individual and communal senses of self, particularly at the level of the modern nation-state. Our volume seeks to build on these still solid conceptual foundations, as well as on more recent and more specifically targeted work in this area, such as the important edited volumes by Jeremy MacClancy (Sport, Identity and Ethnicity, 1996), and by Adrian Smith and Dilwyn Porter (Sport and National Identity in the Post-War World, 2004). As a result of these and related interventions in what has become an expanding field of study, few academic commentators would today doubt sport’s significance as a mode of individual and communal interaction, and, a fortiori, of cultural representation. Indeed, a persuasive case can be made for regarding participation, broadly conceived, in mass sporting activities as among the most important modes of perception, both of ourselves and others, available to contemporary societies. Since their emergence and codification in the midnineteenth century, modern sports have exerted a powerful influence on both personal and collective self-images, and have thus impacted extensively on local and national politics, and even on the international order itself. At the core of this evolving system of signification, sport’s distinguishing input to the imaginative life and the identity politics of modern European nation-states has been a constant for well over a century.
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