From Ritual to Record
The Nature of Modern Sports
By (author) Allen Guttmann
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From Ritual to Record by Allen Guttmann
Book DescriptionOne of the first books to recognize the importance of sports as a lens on the fundamental structure of societies. In this reissue, Guttmann emphasizes the many ways that modern sports have profoundly shaped contemporary life.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780231083690
(215mm x 140mm x 15mm)
Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 1-Dec-1979
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Allen Guttmann
From Ritual to Record, Paperback (July 2004)
Originally published in 1978, this book was one of the first to recognize the importance of sports as a lens on the fundamental structure of societies. In this reissue, Guttmann emphasizes the many ways that modern sports, dramatically different from the sports of previous eras, have profoundly shaped contemporary life.
Women's Sports, Paperback (February 1992)View all books by Allen Guttmann
This study traces the development of women's sports from antiquity to the present day, focusing on the role of women's athletics in a cultural and social context. It investigates various contemporary issues, such as sexual exploitation and the feasibility of competition between men and women.
US Kirkus Review » An ambitious but daunting inquiry into the sociology of modern sports, which Guttmann sharply differentiates from ancient Greek, Mayan-Aztec, and medieval athletic games, cultic rituals, and folk play. Nothing if not venturesome, he tries first a Marxist, then a Weberian prism in his interpretation. The former he finds generally unsatisfactory, out of whack with the subjective, felt realities of athletic contests. Marxist charges that sports alienate the athlete from his performance and turn him into a cog in the team machinery; encourage militarism and nationalism; and serve as (one of) the opiates of the masses who might otherwise turn their energies to revolution - such charges, Guttmann feels, won't wash. The Weberian model is much more satisfactory, and Guttmann proceeds to detail its elements: modern sports are secular, rationalized, and dependent on large bureaucratic organizations, on quantification, and the quest for records. Though he considers it foolish to attempt to correlate the rise of organized sports with Protestantism (the Puritans were notoriously hostile) or capitalism, Guttmann sees the spread of soccer, tennis, golf, etc., as intimately connected to the "slow development of an empirical, experimental, mathematical Weltanschauung." This is one reason that the game of baseball, uniquely American and hopelessly "pastoral," will, in his view, continue to decline. Few sports fans will read this dense study - Guttmann ranges freely from American historians to French anthropologists - but academics may persevere and be rewarded with enough arresting apercus to compensate for the shoe-string thesis. (Kirkus Reviews)
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