Sport and religion: culture, history and ideology

Parker, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0001-6842-3067 and Watson, Nick J (2014) Sport and religion: culture, history and ideology. Movement and Sport Sciences - Science and Motricité (86). pp. 71-79. doi:10.1051/sm/2013063

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Over the past 30–40 years there has been a steady growth in the academic literature concerning the relationship between sport and religion, particularly Christianity (see Watson & Parker, 2012, Sports and Christianity : historical and contemporary perspectives). What this article sets out to do is to map the key features of this relationship focusing specifically on developments in the UK during the 19th and 20th centuries The aim here is not simply to reiterate a series of existing arguments around the alleged origins of modern-day sport, but to bring together two key narratives which feature heavily within related literatures ; those concerning “muscular Christianity” and “rational recreation” To this end, we begin by addressing the formative and innovative role which the English public schools and the Protestant church in Britain played in the growth of modern sport through what has been termed “muscular Christianity” ; an ideology subsequently exported around the globe via British imperialism. The emergence of neo-muscular Christian groups during the latter half of the twentieth century can be seen as a direct consequence of this historical legacy. Modern-day evangelical Protestant organisations, such as, Christians in Sport (CIS) in the UK and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Athletes in Action (AIA) in the US, have resurrected many of the basic theological principles used to promote sport and physical fitness in Victorian Britain. The article examines the historical and theological development of muscular Christianity and how this has impacted the relationship between sport and religion in twenty first century Britain and North America.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport, Religion, Protestantism, Spirituality, Muscular Christianity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 14:29
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:10

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