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History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity eBook

History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity eBook


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    Blending historical grounding and philosophical insights regarding sport and physical activity, History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity covers the historical and philosophical dimensions of the study of human movement. This cross-disciplinary text shows how theory in the humanities can affect professional practice.

    The author team, R. Scott Kretchmar, Mark Dyreson, Matthew P. Llewellyn, and John Gleaves, offers philosophical and ethical analyses alongside explorations of changes in culture. The text follows a chronology of human movement from our origins as hunter-gatherers to the present. The authors blend their specific areas of expertise to present a thorough integration of philosophy and history, capitalizing on the strengths of both disciplines.

    History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity examines sport and physical activity as a social force. Each chapter provides a historical scaffolding that leads into philosophical discussions about the issues raised. The content is compelling, effective, and accessible for readers.

    Student exercise sidebars allow students to explore questions as they go, especially in relating philosophical inquiry to historical events. Historical profile sidebars throughout the chapters allow students to gain greater insight into historical figures and events. Ancillaries include an instructor guide, a presentation package, and a test package to help instructors make the most of the historical, philosophical, anthropological, and sociological issues presented in the book.

    History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity is designed to reduce any gap that might exist between good ideas and sound professional behavior. Historical lessons and philosophical analyses are seamlessly integrated. Readers will understand the intersection of history, culture, ideals, ethics, and professional practice from sport’s leading philosophers and historians.


    A textbook for undergraduate students in kinesiology taking a foundations, philosophy, or history course on sport and physical activity; a reference for academic libraries and sport studies researchers. Also a resource for beginning professionals looking to gain historical and philosophical context on sport and physical activity.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction. History, Philosophy, and Kinesiology
    The Evolution of Kinesiology
    The Humanities and the Sciences
    The Nature of History and Philosophy
    The Subject Matter of Kinesiology
    Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead
    Chapter 1. Bodies, Brains, and Cultures: Human Origins and the Riddles of Why People Run
    Making Sense of Our Story
    Developing a Brief Chronology of Our Story
    Great Leaps Forward 
    Patterns of Culture in Hunter-Forager Societies
    The Origins of Sport
    The Complexities of Work and Play in Hunting and Foraging Societies
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 2. The Transition From Endurance Predators to Farmers: The Birth of "Civilizations"
    A Revolution in How We Lived
    The Impact of the Neolithic Revolution on Human Vigor and Health
    Physical Activity as a Tool and a Jewel
    The Difficulties of Interpreting Ancient Sporting Cultures
    A Model of Traditional Sport
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 3. Ancient Greece and the Shape of Modern Sport and Physical Education: The Power of the Past in the Present and Future
    The Foundation of Western Civilization
    Myth, Religion, and the Origins of Greek Physical Culture
    The Birth of Philosophy
    The Ancient Sporting Festivals
    The Olympic Games
    Greek Sporting Culture
    Sources of Evidence for Ancient Greek Sport
    Greek Recreation and Physical Education
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 4. Continuity and Change in Physical Cultures: From the Maturation and Decline of Classical Civilizations to the Middle Ages
    Monuments to Sporting Spectacles
    Comparing Mesoamerican and Roman Spectacles of Blood
    Opposition to Gladiatorial Contests 
    The Ethics of Brutality in Sport
    Contrast and Continuity
    The Enduring Martial Arts Traditions
    Religious and Intellectual Opposition to Martial Sports
    Similarities and Differences in Eastern and Western Sport
    Global Continuities and Contrasts
    Chapter Wrap-Up 
    Chapter 5. The Expansion of the West and the Birth of the Modern World: Global Transformations of Physical Cultures
    The Birth of the "Modern World"
    The Renaissance, Neoclassical Revivals of Sport, and the "Nature of Man"
    The Emergence of Modern Debates on Human Nature
    The Protestant Reformation and Sport, Physical Education, and the Body
    The Scientific Revolution and Modern Attitudes Toward Sport, Physical Education, and the Body
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 6. Great Britain and the Birth of Modern Sports: Economic, Political, Social, and Cultural Revolutions 
    Sport as a Critical Modern Institution
    Rationalization of Ethics Under Utilitarianism
    Rationalization and Gambling
    Games for the Common Folk
    Rationalization of Fair Play
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 7. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity:  The Development of Modern Sport
    The Emergence of Modern Sport 
    Liberty, Equality, and Morality
    The Role of Fraternity in Modern Sport
    Fraternity, Partisanship, and Spectatorship 
    Fraternity, Partisanship, and Commercialism
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 8. Games and Empires
    The Paradoxical Power of Sports
    Conquest, Colonialism, and the Spread of Western Sports
    Sport in Its Best Light
    The Subaltern Dilemma
    Sport as a Revolutionary Force
    Sport, Colonialism, and American Imperialism
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 9. The Rise of International Sportsworlds: The Olympics, the World Cup, and Other Competitions
    Reviving the Olympic Games
    Olympic Growing Pains
    Social Exclusion and Other Harsh Realities of the Early Olympics
    The Globalization of Modern Sport
    Sport in Black and White and Technicolor
    The Ethics of Commercialism
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 10. The West and the Rest: The Emergence of Critiques and Countercultures
    Traditional and Indigenous Sport in an Age of Modernity
    Western Appropriations of Eastern Muses
    Effectiveness of Folk Psychology and Folk Medicine
    Encounters with the “Other”
    Holistic Kinesiology
    The Emergence of Countercultural Movement Practices
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 11. The Golden Age of Modern Sport: Global Dramas and Global Influence
    Cold War Sport
    The Ethics of Performance Enhancement
    Breaking Gender Barriers
    The Cold War and the Politics of Race in American Sport
    The Global Dimensions of Race and Sport
    Sport in Living Color
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Chapter 12. Snapshots From Our Times: Comparing the Globe’s Multiple Sportsworlds
    Do Global Connections Create Global Identities?
    Global Consumer Culture
    The Emergences of New Global Forms of Sport
    Chapter Wrap-Up
    Further Reading and References
    About the Authors

    About the Author

    R. Scott Kretchmar, PhD, is a professor emeritus of exercise and sport science at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. Kretchmar, a fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology, is a former president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and previously served as editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. He has been named an Alliance Scholar by SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators) and a Distinguished Scholar by the National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education (NAKPEHE).

    Mark Dyreson, PhD, is a professor of kinesiology and an affiliate professor of history at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. Also a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology, he is a former president of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), an academic editor for the International Journal of the History of Sport, and the coeditor of the Sport in the Global Society: Historical Perspectives book series (Routledge Press).

    Matthew P. Llewellyn, PhD, is an associate professor of kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton, and codirector of the Center for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research. Llewellyn earned a PhD in historical and philosophical aspects of sport and physical activity at Pennsylvania State University. He is the current associate editor of the Journal of Sport History and the author of four books and over 30 scholarly articles on the history of sport and physical activity.

    John Gleaves, PhD, is an associate professor of kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton. Gleaves is the codirector of both the International Network of Doping Research and the Center for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research. He is also the associate editor for the journal Performance Enhancement and Health. His research and teaching focus on applied ethics and cultural history related to sport, physical activity, and society. Gleaves’ research has won several awards, including a Brocher Foundation fellowship.


    All ancillaries are free to course adopters and will be available at

    Instructor guide. This guide includes chapter overviews, sample course syllabi, teaching tips, class activities, and annotated lists of additional resources.

    Test package. More than 140 questions—including fill-in-the-blank, true-or-false, multiple-choice, and short-answer—promote critical thinking.

    Presentation package. More than 180 slides can be rearranged, reformatted, and inserted into current presentations based on the needs of each particular classroom.

    The presentation package is also available for purchase • ISBN 978-1-4925-2641-4