A term associated with the work of Norbert Elias, and studies by Eric Dunning, who worked closely with Elias on groundbreaking scholarship and research in the sociology of sport. In The Court Society (1983), Elias opposed what he called ‘the retreat of sociology into the present’, and proposed, both there and throughout his life's work, that sociologists should be centrally concerned with historical or long-term processes. Dunning's own work—for example, on sport as a sphere serving the interests of masculinity; on the socio-historical roots of football hooliganism; or on the battle between the sexes in the changing gender relations in the sporting sphere—has sustained a sensitivity to the impact in the here and now of long-term and formative historical processes. As Dunning writes (Sport Matters: Sociological Studies of Sport, Violence and Civilization, 1999), Elias suggested that ‘the dynamics of long-term social processes derive from the interweaving of aggregates of individual acts’. The history of a sport, therefore, must recognize the formative moments when such combinations of acts were genuinely developmental, as in, say, the making of modern sporting forms. See also Eliasian.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.