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Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: H1
This paper points out the potential of using sport for the analysis of society. Cultivated human movement is a specific social and cultural subsystem (involving sport, movement culture and physical culture), yet it becomes a part of wider social discourses by extending some of its characteristics into various other spheres. This process, theorised as sportification, provides as useful concept to examine the permeation of certain phenomena from the area of sport into the social reality outside of sport. In this paper, we investigate the phenomena of sportification which we parallel with visual culture and spectatorship practices in the Renaissance era. The emphasis in our investigation is on theatricality and performativity; particularly, the superficial spectator engagement with modern sport and sporting spectacles. Unlike the significance afforded to visualisation and deeper symbolic interpretation in Renaissance art, contemporary cultural shifts have changed and challenged the ways in which the active and interacting body is positioned, politicised, symbolised and ultimately understood. We suggest here that the ways in which we view sport and sporting bodies within a (post)modern context (particularly with the confounding amalgamations of signs and symbols and emphasis on hyper-realities) has invariably become detached from sports’ profound metaphysical meanings and resonance. Subsequently, by emphasising the associations between social theatrics and the sporting complex, this paper aims to remind readers of ways that sport—as a nuanced phenomenon—can be operationalised to help us to contemplate questions about nature, society, ourselves and the complex worlds in which we live.
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