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The Origin of Sport. Kyle. Sport and Spectacle (pp. 23-5) Sports are a human universal, appearing in every culture, past and present. But every culture.

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Presentation on theme: "The Origin of Sport. Kyle. Sport and Spectacle (pp. 23-5) Sports are a human universal, appearing in every culture, past and present. But every culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Origin of Sport

2 Kyle. Sport and Spectacle (pp. 23-5) Sports are a human universal, appearing in every culture, past and present. But every culture has its own definitions of sport. (Guttmann Sports: The First Five Millennia.

3 Origins and Essences: Early Sport and Spectacle Sport as Practical Sport at Autotelic Sport as Ludic Sport as Symbolic Sport as Ritual

4 Requirements for a valid theory about the origin of sport: 1.) must explain the ORIGIN of sport 2.)must account for the PERSISTENCE of a particular sport in a particular society 3.)must account for the DIVERSITY of activities called sport

5 Common View: Sport as a Modern Word and Concept Development in England during the Industrial Revolution Notion of equal opportunity, fair play, codified rules, training, leagues, referees Several members of America's first Olympic team. Standing: T.E. Burke, Thomas P. Curtis, Ellery H. Clark. Seated: W.W. Hoyt, Sumner Paine, Trainer John Graham, John B. Paine, Arthur Blake.

6 Historical View: Sport as a Human Activity Existence of Sports Activities in ancient and modern cultures Some modern scholars exclude Roman gladiatorial contests from category of spectator sports

7 Theories of Sport Sport as practice for work (Marxist) Sport as manifestation of instinctive drives and impulses (ethnology) Sport as play: biological function of sport Sport as a safety-valve for aggression Sport as a special, ritualized form of conflict. Konrad Lorenz. On Agression (1963) Sport as cult

8 Ethology and Sport Ethology as the study of animal (including human) behavior (Meynell, pg. 291) What sort of behavior in what circumstances contributes to human happiness and fulfillment?

9 Meynells Theses on Aggression Personal bonds of love and friendship arise only among animals aggressive towards other members of their species. Love and friendship evolve phylogenetically from intra-specific aggression, and in certain circumstances may turn into it. Intra-specific aggression intra-specific aggression very rarely leads conspecifics to kill one another, at least in the natural state. Powerfully-built animals have evolved by natural selection to have strong inhibitions against the killing of their own species.

10 Meynells Theses on Aggression The condition of men in paleolithic times developed markedly in them aggression between tribal groups. In inter-tribal warfare the warrior virtues were at a premium from the point of view of survival. Aggression between man and man is to a large extent an innate, rather than socially imposed characteristic, and is hence hardly to be removed, though it may indeed be ameliorated, by changes in education and social structure.

11 Meynells Theses on Aggression Specifically moral and other-regarding dispositions also depend on inherited instinct, and not merely on the restraint of such instinct by reason. The redirection of aggression outside ones community is a possible solution to the problem of discharging aggression.

12 Meynells Theses on Aggression With the invention of long-range weapons, mans aggressive impulses towards other members of his species are not balanced by corresponding inhibitions. The conditions of modern life leave men with no adequate scope for the discharge of their aggressive impulses, and this is a prime cause of violence and neurosis.

13 Meynell on Sport (pg. 300) Sport is of the highest importance not only as a mere outlet for aggression but as a school for the control of human fighting behavior.

14 Konrad Lorenz (On Aggression, 1963) Sport as a form of the (necesssary) discharge of intraspecific aggression Sport as a manifestation of instinctive drives and impulses Konrad Lorenz 1903-1989 with a Greylag Goose

15 Triumph Ceremony of Greylag Goose


17 Double Function: unites family group and sets it apart from other groups Two Parts: –Ganders Attack with special rolling sound –Return to Mate with special cackling sound

18 Characteristics of Cultural Ritualization AGGRESSION GROUP COHESION EXAGGERATION

19 SPORT AND RITUAL rituals acts are actions that persist long after their original need has disappeared ethnological definition of ritual: innate behavior pattern which takes on a new function Lorenz definition of ritualization: a behaviour pattern by means of which a species or a cultural society deals with certain environmental conditions, acquires an entirely new function, that of communication. The primary function may still be performed, but it often recedes more and more into the background and may disappear completely so that a typical change of function is achieved.

20 Characteristics of cultural ritualization (Lorenz): 1.) frequently serves the function, through its communicative character, of REDIRECTING AGGRESSION 2.)promotes BONDING between pairs and groups 3.) is typically modified to ENHANCE communicative power (via exaggeration, stylization, or repetition)

21 Application of Characteristics of Cultural Ritualization to Sport 1. Redirecting AGGRESSION ritualized combat: judo, wrestling territorial aggression: footbal, baseball, soccer, etc. 2. GROUP COHESION A.) bonding between mates Greylag goose Odysseus and the bow (suitor contest) B.) cohesion of larger groups cohesion of one team against another group identity as supporters or fans 3. EXAGGERATION highest jump, etc. uniforms

22 Sansones definition of sport: ritual sacrifice of physical energy (pg. 37) origin in primitive hunting ritual

23 Paleolithic Hunter vs. Modern Sportsman Ritual Meal display of skin or skulltrophy Ritual Reconstitution of Victim display of body partstaxidermy Ritual Dance Dancing in animal skinTeam Mascots Thus there is a line of descent from Paleolithic hunters to the modern sportsman.

24 Athelete as a substitute for the ritual victim: regulated TIME regulated DIET regulated LIFE STYLE ritual BATHING PURIFICATION by fire ritual COSTUME

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