Few activities bring together physicality, emotions, politics, money, and morality as dramatically as sport. In Brazil’s stadiums or parks in China, on Cuba’s baseball diamonds or rugby fields in Fiji, human beings test their physical limits, invest emotional energy, bet money, perform witchcraft, and ingest substances, making sport a microcosm of what life is about. The Anthropology of Sport explores not only what anthropological thinking tells us about sports, but also what sports tell us about the ways in which the sporting body is shaped by and shapes the social, cultural, political, and historical contexts in which we live. Core themes discussed in this book include the body, modernity, nationalism, the state, citizenship, transnationalism, globalization, and gender and sexuality.
Niko Besnier is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. He has written extensively on gender, sexuality, migration, economic relations, language, and sport. He is editor-in-chief of American Ethnologist.
Susan Brownell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She is an expert on sports and Olympic Games in China, Olympic history, and world’s fairs. She is the author of Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People’s Republic.
Thomas F. Carter is an anthropologist at the University of Brighton and director of the Centre for Sport, Tourism and Leisure Studies. He has written on Cuban sport, labor migration, governance, sport for development, and the politics of spectacle. His most recent book is In Foreign Fields: The Politics and Experiences of Transnational Sport Migration.
"Sports offer excitement, triumphs, tragedies—and escape from the routines of modernity. But sports also reach into the world, and the world reaches into sports. This expert trio of authors shows how this emergent field of research promises to contribute in exciting ways to the growth of global anthropological knowledge."—Ulf Hannerz, author of Writing Future Worlds
"One could not hope for a better trio of scholars to produce such an absorbing and instructive critical survey of sports for anthropology. It is comprehensive and lucid, inspiring and field-defining. Read this book and never again will you be able to deny the centrality of sport to our core anthropological concerns of body dynamics, gender, ritual, nationalism, globality, media, and more."—William W. Kelly, Professor of Anthropology, Yale University