- Sport Studies
This book is edited by Austrian scholars but bears an English title. Sorry, I have to disappoint non-German readers: only the title is in English, the text is written in German. This is not unusual for German-speaking countries that which frequently use so-called "Anglicisms." One may ask why the title Sport Studies is not simply "Sportstudien" or "Forschungen im Sport." In their introduction the editors lengthily explain their choice. The book aims to take up the basic patterns of Anglo-Saxon sport studies and compare them with those of continental European sport science(s) (p. 9). According to the editors, sport studies comprise a broad analysis of sport as a social and cultural phenomenon, like sport and society. In the United States sport studies have developed since the mid 1960s in a process of delimitation against the dominant sport scientific disciplines, forming a "multidisciplinary cluster" (p. 11). In the U.K., however, sport and leisure studies often developed not from sport scientific disciplines but from the mother sciences. Over the years the two approaches were connected and have grown increasingly differentiated/have become increasingly specialized. The name "sports studies" developed, which also included cultural turns. Speaking of "sport science(s)" in German has just begun, according to the editors in their foreword. [End Page 475]
The book, which can be characterized as an encyclopedia, aims at three major goals. It wants to contribute to the understanding of sport and its social appearances; secondly, it should serve as an introduction to cultural and socioscientific approaches to sports; thirdly, sport and movement cultures and their inclusion in social connections should be looked at from an inter- and trans-disciplinary perspective. Thus, the editors hope to contribute to a forceful discussion. Last but not least, the editors strive to contribute to the further development of sport studies as an independent field of research within the German world of sciences (pp. 13-14).
The book is divided into two major parts: The first one takes up thirteen different topics, among them "Modern Times and Sports," "Body and Politics," "Gender and Sports," "Mass Media," "Economy and Sports," "Migration and Ethnicity," and "Space and Sports" to relate to central social-cultural fields of sports. The second part is called "Traditions of Research in Sports." It concentrates on research traditions in sports studies and shows the historical development. Here various disciplines are taken as examples, among them sport history, gender studies in sport, cultural studies of sports, sports philosophy, and sports pedagogy.
The individual chapters show the development and subject matter of the various fields of sport studies, central perspectives, theories, and questions. Most contributions take up some sport historical aspects to emphasize their importance in the modern development of various areas of sport studies.
Besides John Bale, who wrote the chapter on "Space and Sports," the authors are either German or Austrian, which means that the main focus of the contributions is on German culture with a special connection to Austria. Still the book is also informative for non-Germans, as long as they read the language. The global approach can be seen in the bibliography, which includes many English publications. The question that arises is why there is only one non-German speaking author; a more international authorship could also have enriched the discussion in the field of sport studies, one of the goals mentioned in the foreword.
All texts are written in an understandable, clearly laid-out manner. The book is an ideal reference work for students and scholars of sport studies or sport sciences. At the end a twenty-two page bibliography can be found, and a list of journals that contribute specifically to sports studies. [End Page 476]