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Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-1898
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1901



Concern over the corrupting effects of modern sport has been voiced since its birth in the nineteenth century. Its critics have deemed it unhealthy, called it fascist, claimed that it created false conscience, etc. Its advocates, on the other hand, have praised sport’s ability to build character and facilitate understanding and respect between people and nations. But the sport advocates have not been univocal in their appraisal. They have expressed concern that the sporting values have come under threat from professionalization and increased commercialization of sport. In this article, however, we make the case that modern-day sport has qualities that help ground us in the world and, in fact, civilizes. The article starts by exposing the outdatedness of the sociologist John J. MacAloon’s ‘festival nostalgia’. It goes on to take issue with Guy Debord’s criticism of the disempowerment of the people caused by what he calls the ‘society of the spectacle’. Using soccer as the prime example, this is followed by a discussion of the fundamental elements of the fascination exerted by sport and of sport’s significance as modern mythology. We argue that the media-driven commercialization, often looked upon as the root cause of sport’s unfortunate development, is, in fact, part of the engine that propels it forward as a project for the development of popular culture.


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