Sales pitch invades the fields of dreams

Sport and Society
November 5, 2004

There is an increasing number of books being published within the broad field of sports studies, perhaps foremost among these being Jay Coakley and Eric Dunning's Handbook of Sports Studies . However, this edited collection by Barrie Houlihan is a worthy addition, and a testament to sports studies' growing role in academia.

Houlihan's collection comes in four parts. The first, "Perspectives on sport", deals with sports relationships with other key areas - namely social theory, politics and history.

Part two is broadly based around the issue of (lack of) opportunity and chapters deal with topical issues such as class, sex and race.

Part three embraces the issue of commercialisation in sport and is perhaps the most topical of all the book's subsections. Particularly interesting in the light of the London Olympics bid is the chapter by Michael Collins on urban regeneration, but other chapters are also worthwhile and useful additions. Part four provides some helpful international comparisons.

The format of the chapters is particularly useful. All begin with an overview and conclude with a summary, before providing examples of further reading and the standard academic bibliography. This is a sensible and appropriate presentational tool, and one that students will like.

The book will be of use to students of sports-focused courses such as sports sociology and sports history, as well as less established areas such as sport and the law.

Sport can, of course, be seen as a mirror of society, and the lessons it teaches us within this micro-environment can be applied to other areas. As such, Sport and Society provides an insight into issues facing society as a whole.

Guy Osborn is senior lecturer in law, Westminster University.

Sport and Society: A Student Introduction

Editor - Barrie Houlihan
Publisher - Sage
Pages - 379
Price - £65.00 and £19.99
ISBN - 0 7619 7033 9 and 034 7

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