Sport generates some of the most intense feelings and levels of commitment. It is big business globally, but also the source of the most powerful personal identifications and individual and collective pleasures. Sporting events are routine and embodied, whether in the gym, on the field or at the training ground, and they are also spectacular, for example in mega events at the stadium or, for followers at a distance, through the media of television, radio and the Internet. Large numbers of people are caught up in personal and collective investment and public engagement with sport. Why does it matter so much?
In this book, Woodward demonstrates why sport matters and how, arguing that we should take sport seriously, and explore what is social about it. Sport is not just another domain to which social theories can be applied; it is also distinctive and generates new ways of thinking about social issues and debates. Sport is affected by the global economy and social, political and cultural processes – but it also shapes the wider social terrain of which it is part. Sport reproduces inequalities as well as offering opportunities. It is not always a level playing field. Sport is more than play.
Planet Sport is an engaging and concise introduction to some of the big issues in contemporary debates about sport in globalised societies, and will appeal to students, academics and general readers alike.