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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $105.99

248 pp.
6" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Sport & Peace

A Sociological Perspective

Brian Wilson

Series : Themes in Canadian Sociology

Received "Honourable Mention" in the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport's Outstanding Book Award competition

Engaging and accessible, Sport & Peace: A Sociological Perspective takes a fresh, innovative look at the nuanced and controversial relationship between sport and peace. Although sport is heralded as a powerful tool for social good, drawing attention to causes such as conflict resolution, HIV prevention, environmental initiatives, and improved international relationships, it also continues to reflect and reproduce social inequalities in ways commonly overlooked by those invested in the sport-for-peace movement. Divided into five parts, the text examines current literature in the fields of sport and peace through the lens of critical social theory while introducing students to all sides of this complex debate and proposing practical solutions for the future.

Readership : Supplementary text for upper-year students taking sociology of sport or sport and peace courses offered out of sociology and kinesiology departments.


  • "This is an innovative book that breaks fresh, new ground."

    --Stephen F. Dumas, University of Calgary

  • "Very easy to read and accessible. The voice is outstanding."

    --Robert Pitter, Acadia University

Part I: Introduction to the Study of Sport, Sociology, and Peace
1. Critiquing Sport, Transforming Sport: An Introduction to the Study of Sport, Sociology, and Peace
Introduction: The Many Sides of Sport
Critiquing Sport, Transforming Sport
Linking Sport and Peace
"Sport"' and "Peace" as Floating Signifiers
Addressing Social Inequality: The Underlying Theme
Looking Ahead: A Warning and an Opportunity
2. Theory, Sport, and Peace: Tools and Lenses for Seeing Sport in Context
Introduction: Difference Lenses, Different Interpretations
Different Lenses, Different Interpretations
Seeing Sport Up-Close and In Context: Race for the Cure and Why Theory is Important
The Questions We Ask and the Theories We Use
Sport, Cultural Studies, and Hegemony
Michel Foucault and Critiques of Hegemony
An Underlying Problem and a Way Forward
Critical Theories and Contextual Cultural Studies
Making a Difference In and Through Sport
Part II: Exploring the New and Old Politics of Sport and Peace
3. Sport, Diplomacy, and Nationalism
Introduction: An "Old" Politics of Sport
Introducing and Contesting "the Nation"
Sport and Nation-Building in Divided Societies
Reflecting on Sport, Unity, and Community
Sport, Nationalism, and International Diplomacy
Public Diplomacy and Serious Diplomacy
Reflections on Sport, Diplomacy, and the Nation
4. Sport, Global Politics, and Peace
Introduction: Sport, Globalization, and a Vision of the Future
A "Global" Politics of Sport
The Decline of the Nation: Setting the Stage for Neo-liberalism and Intensified Globalization
Globalization and the Sociology of Sport
Globalization, Peace, and Democracy: Contemplating the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention
Reflections on Theory
Other Understandings of Globalization: Looking Ahead
Part III: Peace Activism, Peace Education, and a Sporting Praxis
5. Pursuing Peace From Below: Sport, Social Movements, and (Ironic) Activism
Introduction: A History of and Opportunities for Sport-Related Activism
Sport and Social Movements: Background
But What Is Activism, and What Are Social Movements?
Different Perspectives on Sport and Social Movements
Alter-Globalization, and Sport
Life Politics, Lifestyle Politics, and Sport
The Success of Movements: Political Opportunity and Resource Mobilization
Do Movements Matter?: Hegemony, Ironic Activism, and Reflections on Theory
Looking Ahead
6. Pursuing Praxis: Peace Education, Critical Pedagogy, and the Sociology of Sport
Introduction: "Educated Hope" and the Influence of Paulo Freire
Conscientization, Praxis, and the Sociology of Sport
So What Is Peace Education?
Sport, Cultural Studies, and Critical Pedagogy
Some Sport-Related Critical Pedagogical Practices
Performance and Critical (Sporting) Pedagogies
Low Income Women, Recreation, and Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR)
Functionalism, Prevention, and a Sociological Imagination?: Exploring Sport Programs Designed to Support Underserved Youth
An Extended Case Study of Theory Meeting Practice: The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program
Using Theory to Link MVP with Other Strategies for Change: Sport Media and Anti-Violence Education
Evaluating Change
Educator and/or Public Intellectual? Reflecting on the Roles and Responsibilities of the Sociologist of Sport
Part IV: Key Topics and Pressing Concerns in Sport and Peace: International Development, the Environment, and Media
7. Reflections on Intervention and Imperialism in the Sport for (International) Development and Peace Industry
Introduction: Exploring Tensions around Sport and International Development
Sport-in-International Development: What It Looks Like and What It Is
Defining International Development
"On the Ground" with Sport for Development and Peace ngos: Connecting Theory and Practice
Remaining Cautious about SDP Work
To Intervene or Not to Intervene
8. Sport, the Environment, and Peace: Debates and Myths about Carbon-Neutral Sport
Introduction: Sport and Green Business
Sport, Environmental Issues, and Peace: An Overview
The Sociology of Sport and Environmental Issues
Modernism, Sport, and Perspectives on the "Human and Non-human" Relationship
Sustainability and the Ecological Modernist Response
Sport, the Environment, and Neo-liberalism
A Closer Look at Ecological Modernization and Sport: The Case of "Carbon-Neutral" Sport Events
Reflections on Sport, the Environment, Power, and Privilege
9. Towards a Sport for Peace Journalism?: Problems and Possibilities in Sport Media
Introduction: A Challenge for (Sport) Journalists and Introducing Peace Journalism
Sport Media, Peace and Conflict: Themes in the Sociology of Sport
What Are the Implications of Sport-War Connections?
A Nuanced Sport Media: Some Reflections and Warnings, and a Way Forward
Is a Sport-for-Peace Journalism Possible?
Peace Studies, Journalism, and the Sociology of Sport: A Way Forward
Part V: Conclusion
10. Six Summary Arguments and a Minor Utopian Vision
Themes in Sport, Sociology, and Peace: A Set of Concluding Arguments
And Where Do We Go From Here? Reflections on Social Change and Strategies to Achieve It
Final Thoughts: Imagining and Pursuing Minor Utopias and Structural Renewal in and Around Sport

E-Book (ISBN 9780199000272):
Available through CourseSmart.com

Brian Wilson is a sociologist and professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. In addition to authoring Sport and Peace: A Sociological Perspective, he is author of Fight, Flight or Chill: Subcultures, Youth and Rave into the Twenty-First Century (McGill-Queen's: 2006) as well as various articles and chapters related to sport, social inequality, environmental issues, mass media, social movements, and youth culture. His most recent work focuses on the ways that the sport of running is used for peace-promotion in Kenya, and on the environmentalist practices of the golf industry.

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Special Features

  • Focus on peace. Wilson's innovative integration of critical theory and peace studies fills a gap in the sociology of sport literature.
  • Canadian and international coverage. Extensive Canadian and international examples integrated throughout offer a broad introduction to the topic that encourages comparison.
  • Contemporary. Reports on the latest research findings and debates provide an up-to-date and relevant take on this rapidly changing area of study.
  • Practical. In-depth discussions of high-interest social and political issues - such as the environment, sport journalism, international development, diplomacy, and peace activism and education - ground theoretical concepts in real life scenarios.
  • Accessible. Written with the undergraduate student in mind, this lively discussion of key concepts offers an engaging treatment of sport and peace.
  • Concise. This brief book allows instructors to supplement with additional materials according to their approach to the subject.
  • Helpful pedagogy. Definitions of bolded key terms, learning objectives, discussion questions, relevant web links, and suggestions for further reading prompt students to become active participants in their learning.