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sport space


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A concept referring to the profile of sports in any particular society, and the capacity of sport cultures and institutions to occupy the cultural space available. The concept refers to what is culturally constructed, not merely physically determined. Sport space is about the cultural resonances of a sport form throughout a culture: the folklore of the game; the debates on outcomes in the bars and workplaces of the nation; the way in which the sport is featured in the press and broadcast in burgeoning forms of new media. Andrei S. Markovits (Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism, with S. L. Hellman, 2001) has used the concept to account for the persisting marginality of soccer in US sport space, where the Big Four sports of American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey dominate the available cultural space of the society. Sport space should not be reduced to simplicities of the spatio-physical, but should be analysed in relation to the culture and power relations of both sporting institutions and the society of which they are a part.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.


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