Social Sciences and Common Perceptions of Sport
This paper provides a discussion on various aspects and features of the concept of the social sciences of sport. The concept originated recently and was formulated in 2007 during the preparations for the establishment of the International Society for the Social Sciences of Sport. The Society, however, was not formed until the beginning of 2009. Among other things, the concept includes such academic disciplines and fields as sport sociology, sport philosophy, sport psychology, sport pedagogy, the history of physical fitness, sport and Olympism, sport politics and the international conditions of sport, sport economics, sport organizations and management, the social and cultural foundations of tourism and recreation, the social relations regarding training and sport tactics, as well as the humanistic theory of martial arts. The author presents a growth in interest of different social aspects and issues of sport at the beginning of the twentieth century. He indicates the significant development of sport during the second half of the last century, especially towards its end and at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The social sciences of sport was also underlined as the reason for the creation of a new, dynamically developing cognitive paradigm. According to the Author, it is mainly connected with the institutional and functional, organizational and methodological conditions of the social science of sport which specifically complemented the educational and research standards for the academic community around the globe. The Author emphasizes the social sciences of sport’s distinctive and autonomous part in sport science due to its specific and detailed merit-related issues and methodological foundations. He also stresses that not only does natural science (particularly biological science) play an important role in sport science, but also that the social science of sport has a vital and fundamental value in it. In his opinion, natural (biological) science in relation to sport refers mainly to one person’s organism, whereas social science refers, for the most part, to the axiological, cultural, symbolical, esthetic, ethical perception of physical exertion. Moreover, research conducted in this field encompasses the professional, pragmatic, utilitarian, cathartic, escapist, ludic, hedonistic, epistemological and recreational aspects of differently perceived professional sports or sport for all. The Author points out that the amount of available courses - lectures, classes, seminars - in the field of social sciences themselves, as well as in the social science of sport, is being gradually reduced, which undoubtedly lowers not only the knowledge, but also the perception, interpretation, explanation and comprehension of sport in the context of the humanistic approach. Furthermore, he indicates this trend’s influential role in the development of common-sense thinking, which makes opinion-forming and valuable comments on the subject of sport undergo cognitive deformations. He points out its negative influence on the listeners, audience and fans’ consciousness, opinion and attitude, as well as on the interpretative context of the observed events - not only ones associated with sport, but also those happening beyond it, for instance in social, family, peer, professional, political and religious life.
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