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SportCult

1999

Randy Martin and Toby Miller, editors

SportCult

New approaches to the cultural politics of sport.

Although sport is pervasive in our society, its significance as a cultural phenomenon remains largely misunderstood, and its singular ability to entertain, inspire, and unite is frequently taken for granted. This volume offers a variety of perspectives on the cultural politics of sport. SportCult deftly explores sport as a cultural frame of reference for such critical issues as national identity, the idea of the body, global capitalism, and the politics of representation.

Contributors: Rosemary J. Coombe, Grant Farred, Qadri Ismail, May Joseph, Bradley S. Klein, Heather Levi, Jim McKay, Gitanjali Maharaj, Michael Real, Bruce Robbins, David Rowe, Amanda Smith, and Jon Stratton.

Although sports constitute the world’s biggest industry and are the object of all kinds of cultural and individual obsessions, cultural critics have mostly shied away from investigating sports. SportCult puts an end to that silence and opens up the field in the most stylish yet challenging way. The essays here all see sports as a site where complex cultural meanings, profound social tendencies, and crucial political and economic interests all intersect around the spectacle of the human body. These consistently smart essays cross a series of crucial topics showing what’s really going on in contemporary sports and what’s at stake for all of us in the rapidly globalizing culture(s) of leisure.

Paul Smith, Director, Study of the Americas, George Mason University

Although sport is pervasive in our society, its significance as a cultural phenomenon remains largely misunderstood, and its singular ability to entertain, inspire, and unite is frequently taken for granted. Sporting metaphors abound in politics and business, and communities, from neighborhoods to nations, see in sport the embodiment of their values. So what do the popularity and ubiquity of sports tell us about the world? How do sport’s stories of victory
and defeat reflect the society that narrates them? This volume offers a variety of perspectives on the cultural politics of sport.

Looking at such diverse examples of sport culture as aerobics, bodybuilding, Mexican pro-wrestling, golf-course design, the basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, women sportscasters, sports-related trademarks, martial arts in Tanzanian youth culture, and cricket in Sri Lanka and post-apartheid South Africa, SportCult deftly explores sport as a cultural frame of reference for such critical issues as national identity, the idea of the body, global capitalism, and the politics of representation.

Contributors: Rosemary J. Coombe, U of Toronto; Grant Farred, Williams College; Qadri Ismail, U of Minnesota; May Joseph, New York U; Bradley S. Klein, Clark U; Heather Levi; Jim McKay, U of Queensland, Australia; Gitanjali Maharaj; Michael Real, San Diego State U; Bruce Robbins, Rutgers U; David Rowe, U of Newcastle, Australia; Amanda Smith,
Australian Broadcasting Corp.; Jon Stratton, Curtin U of Technology, Australia.

ISBN 0-8166-3183-2 Cloth £00.00 $49.95xx
ISBN 0-8166-3184-0 Paper £00.00 $19.95x
304 Pages 5 7/8 x 9 April
Cultural Politics Series, volume 16
Translation inquiries: University of Minnesota Press

SportCult

Randy Martin is professor and chair of the Department of Social Science at the Pratt Institute. Toby Miller is associate professor of cinema studies at New York University, editor of the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, and coeditor of Social Text.

SportCult

Although sports constitute the world’s biggest industry and are the object of all kinds of cultural and individual obsessions, cultural critics have mostly shied away from investigating sports. SportCult puts an end to that silence and opens up the field in the most stylish yet challenging way. The essays here all see sports as a site where complex cultural meanings, profound social tendencies, and crucial political and economic interests all intersect around the spectacle of the human body. These consistently smart essays cross a series of crucial topics showing what’s really going on in contemporary sports and what’s at stake for all of us in the rapidly globalizing culture(s) of leisure.

Paul Smith, Director, Study of the Americas, George Mason University

This empirically rigorous volume considers sport's generative features-personal, local, national, and global-in ways bound to change how cultural critics look at sport. Indeed, Martin and Miller have compiled the first collection to truly integrate the theorization of sport and the problematic of cultural studies. Its significance is evident throughout.

Cheryl Cole, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Randy Martin and Toby Miller have succeeded in introducing some important intellectuals from outside the mainstream in sport studies to weigh in on the topic. Their contributions are most welcome.

Topia

Illuminating.

Choice

In an ever expanding academic discussion on sport, Randy Martin and Toby Miller have inserted a valuable collection of materials in Sportcult. The assemblage of a wide and varied assortment of articles makes Sportcult another important contribution in a field of study that, though long dismissed as not serious intellectual work, is finally getting some of the attention it deserves.

Symploké