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Sport and Politics

Overview

Sport and politics have become inseparably entwined. From the volatile nationalism of international soccer to human rights controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics, sport is both an important factor in political discourse and shaped by the wider political environment. In this ground-breaking and thought provoking book, Alan Bairner offers a comprehensive and critical survey of the relationship between sport and politics and argues that, by understanding this relationship, we can develop a much more nuanced ...

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Overview

Sport and politics have become inseparably entwined. From the volatile nationalism of international soccer to human rights controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics, sport is both an important factor in political discourse and shaped by the wider political environment. In this ground-breaking and thought provoking book, Alan Bairner offers a comprehensive and critical survey of the relationship between sport and politics and argues that, by understanding this relationship, we can develop a much more nuanced understanding of both sport and politics as aspects of culture.

The book begins with three main propositions – that politicians use sport, that sport reflects political conditions and that sport itself contributes to political culture for good or for ill. Against this background, the book explores the key points of interaction between the two, including national and international sport policy, the political economy of sport, nationalism in sport, sport in political thought, globalization, the politics of sporting celebrity, and the neighbouring academic communities of sport and political science. With fascinating case studies woven throughout, this book is the perfect introduction to an important contemporary topic for all students of sport, politics and society.

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Meet the Author

Alan Bairner is Professor of Sport and Social Theory, Loughborough University, UK. He graduated in 1973 from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Politics. In 1974 he was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education (Modern Studies and History) from Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. From 1974-7 he studied at the University of Hull from where he graduated with a PhD, having completed a thesis on the political and social theory of Antonio Gramsci. He joined the staff of the Ulster Polytechnic (subsequently the University of Ulster) in 1978 working initially in the School of History, Philosophy and Politics and thereafter in the School of Applied Medical Sciences and Sports Studies where he held the title of Professor in Sports Studies from 2000-3. He took up his present position on 1 October 2003. In 2006 he was the Donald deFrayne Macintosh Visiting Scholar at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He has taught broadly in the areas of political theory and political ideology as well as the politics and sociology of sport. His principal research interests are focused on the relationship between sport and the formation of identity with particular reference to national identities and masculinities. He has written extensively on sport, politics and society in Ireland. He has also published on the relationship between sport and national identity in Canada, Scotland, Sweden and the United States. He is currently preparing a monograph on sport, politics and society. He is the co-author (with John Sugden) of Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland (Leicester University Press, 1993), joint editor (with John Sugden) of Sport in Divided Societies(Meyer and Meyer, 1999), author of Sport, Nationalism, and Globalization: European and North American Perspectives (State University of New York Press, 2001) and editor of Sport and the Irish. Histories, Identities, Issues (University College Dublin Press. 2005). He is a member of the editorial boards of the Sociology of Sport Journal, Football Studies and Soccer and Society. He has advised both the Sports Council for Northern Ireland and the Irish Football Association on community relations issues and from 2000-1 he was a member of the ministerial advisory group that was set up to develop a strategy for the future of association football in Northern Ireland.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Sport and Political Thought 2. Sport Policy: National 3. Sport Policy: International 4. Sport, Nationalism and Ethnicity 5. Sport and the Politics of ‘Race’ 6. Sport and Gender Politics 7. Sport, Politics and Morality 8. Political Economy of Sport. Conclusion: Engaging Politics and Sport

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