‘A refreshingly critical contribution to the major debates in sports studies, this volume will nicely complement the conventional texts. The entries are well structured, introducing and explaining the arguments, and then applying them to current sports policies and controversies. I admire the material and will recommend it to my students’ — Professor Dave Harris, University College Plymouth, Marjon

Written by experienced academics use to teaching the subject, this book will help students and researchers find their way within the diverse field of sport studies. Clear, well researched entries explain the key concepts in the debates surrounding the social significance and social dynamics of sport. Each entry provides:

  • Clear Definitions
  • Relevant Examples
  • Up-to-date Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Informative Cross-Referencing

Valuable in its parts and indispensable as a whole, this book will provide a stimulating, practical guide to the relationship between sport and society.



Rationalisation, as an idea and as a process, is at the heart of modernism, the values and assumptions that characterise life in an advanced, industrial (or post-industrial) and technologically sophisticated society. ‘Rational’ means literally ‘based on reason’, as opposed to untestable or ‘faith-based’ explanations of the world. Rationalisation is therefore the process which is said to have steadily transformed the societies of northern Europe and North America (‘the West’) after, and as a result of, the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In this process – in effect, the transition from tradition to modernity – there are a number of important elements:

  • Scientific thinking supplants religion as the principal source of explanations of the world and what happens in it. People die, for instance, ...
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