Cult 316 anthropology of sport

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Full Course Title:

Anthropology of sport

Antropologija sporta

Course Code:

CULT 316

Course Level/BiH cycle:

I cycle

ECTS credit value:


Student work-load:

(Table with hours for: Lectures; Exercise; Other; Individual learning)

For the whole semester:


Tutorial /

Practical training



Individual learning









Spring 2013, Lectures - 3 hours per week


FASS; Cultural Studies

Course leader:

Assist. Prof. Dr. Tuba Boz

Contact details:



Office hours:


+957 404


IUS main campus building

Host Study Program:

Cultural Studies

Course status:




Access restrictions:



Presentations, group activities, consultations, quizzes, essays and exams.

Date validated:

April 2013

Course aims:

The aims of this course are to:

  1. introduce students to the basics of the anthropological study of sport

  2. ensure that students are given proper knowledge of the history and evolution of sports in various cultures

  3. introduce students to the importance of sport as ritual and sport as culture

  4. introduce students to the classification and typology of sports

  5. discuss the issues of exploitation and violence in sports To enrich student critical thinking, interpreting and understanding of the social character of sports

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this course IUS student will be able to:

  1. Students will learn how to think critically about various theoretical approaches to the anthropology of sport

  2. Students will learn how to discuss history and evolution of sport as culture

  3. Students will gain deeper understanding of the autotelic experience and intrinsic motivation

  4. Students will learn how to discuss about the social and cultural character of sports

  5. Students will learn how to employ interdisciplinary approaches when conducting research about anthropology of sport

  6. Students will learn how to think independently and formulate their opinions regarding sport classification and evolution

Indicative syllabus content:

This course is designed to introduce and equip Cultural Studies students with the fundamentals of research about the anthropology of sport. The main themes to be dealt with may include: history of sport, games of study and play, exploitation and violence in sports, sport as conflict and competition, sport as ritual, the evolution of sports, “jock liberation”, changes in sport from “fun to business”, Roberts’ games categories (physical skills, strategy and chance), the nature of play, recreation, physical recreation, leisure ethics, theoretical models for anthropology of sport, modern sport, sport and social power, social character of sport, autotelic experience, intrinsic motivation, prehistory and early history of sport, sport classification etc.

Learning delivery:

Teaching occurs via lectures, seminars and tutorials, individual and team- work in-class activities.

Assessment Rationale:

In order to provide solid undergraduate foundation in Cultural Studies Program and to enable students to develop a critical and evaluative understanding of the basics of media and film studies and to demonstrate commitment and diligence at any time, different assessment methods are proposed for this module. Therefore, appropriate and diverse assessment methods include essays, presentations, group activities, consultations, exams and take-home exams with the aim to help students to stay focused and active, and fully benefit from the module.

Assessment Weighting:

Attendance and participation 5%

Essay 20%

Midterm exam 25%

Presentation 10%

Final exam 40%

Essential Reading:

  1. Kendall Blanchard. The Anthropology of Sport: An Introduction. Westport: Pragerer, 2005.

Recommended readings:

Additional/recommended reading:

  1. Robert S. Sands. The Anthropology of Sport and Human Movement: A Biocultural Perspective. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2010.

  2. Robert S. Sands. Anthropology, Sport, and Culture. Westport: Praeger, 1999.

  3. Noel Dyck. Games, Sports and Cultures. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2000.

Intranet web reference:

Important notes:

Course policy: Class absences should not exceed 20% of total class time. Students who exceed the limits without a medical certificate or emergency excuse acceptable to and approved by the Dean of the relevant faculty member shall not be allowed to take the final examination and shall receive a mark of N/A for the course. If the Dean approves the excuse, the student will be considered to have withdrawn from the course.

Useful advice: Use office hours productively.

Student responsibilities:

To come to class on time.

To be attentive and engaged in class.

To refrain from using laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices during class.

To spend an adequate amount of time on the homework each week, making an effort

To solve and understand each problem.

To seek help when appropriate.

Plagiarism: Zero Tolerance of Cheating & Plagiarism.

Presentation of assignments:

Your cover page must include: Your name, Essay title, Title of the subject, your lecture’s name,

Date of submission

Your paper: Font: Times New Roman, Size: 12, You must use 1.5 spacing, Include page numbers, Staple the pages together, Ensure that you use spell check and then check over your paper yourself again, Double check over your grammar and expression.
You will use the in-text citations (MLA) for your referencing,You will NOT USE the following or similar websites in your academic writing: Wikipedia,, Yahoo answers.

Quality Assurance:

Students will be provided written feedback for each of the assignments. Students unsatisfied with the assessment of their written work (position paper and final essay) will have a chance to re-write them and submit for second examination provided they met the deadlines. Students, who wish to increase the part of the grade coming from in-class participation, may be given additional tasks. Students are encouraged to consult their work in progress with the course leader during the office hours or through e-mail communication.

Course schedule:


Lesson / Date

Topics to be covered

Class activities


Relevant reading

Learning outcomes

1 & 2



Reasons for the anthropological study of sport

The history of the anthropological study of sport

Discuss sports as a means of expressing social systems, especially related to issues of race, power, and social inequity

Explore the evolution of modern sport from "fun to business"

Kendall Blanchard. The Anthropology of Sport: An Introduction. Pragerer, 2005

Pg. 1-27

1. Define sport using theories of Mooney, Culin, and Geertz

2. Understand sport historically within the contexts of games and study of play

3. Define Roberts’ game categories- physical skill, strategy & chance--and relation between characteristics of culture and types of games/sport manifested

3 & 4


The meaning of sport: a cultural approach

Explore relationships between work and play as dimensions of sport

Discuss sport as play, sport as conflict/competition, and sport as ritual in different cultures

Pg. 27-61

1. Define the role of sport within general cultural framework particularly when comparing cultures

2.Understand the relation between sport and ritual

3. Define the seven basic values of sport according to Edwards

5 & 6


Theory and method of anthropology of sport

Discuss various explanatory models regarding sports- evolutionism, cultural materialism, structural-functionalism and interpretive models- symbolic anthropology, ethnoscience and experiential ethnography

Pg. 61-95

1. Learn different explanatory and interpretive models of sport

2. Conduct etnhnographic research regarding the study of sports

7 & 8


Character of modern sport

Explore the correlation between sport achievement and socio-economic status and residence

1. Understand the relationship between sport and social power

2. Define major features of the sport establishment



Midterm exam

9 & 10


Self actualization and the autotelic experience

Discuss the structure of autotelic activities:

1.Friendship & relaxation - warm interpersonal experiences - loosening of ego boundaries (communitas)

2. Risk and chance ("vertigo" - allow one to transcend limitations by altering state of consciousness; need to control the unpredictable)

3. Problem solving - purposeful goal directed action

4. Competition - basic need to pit oneself against others

5. Creativity - designing or discovering something new

1. Understand theories of Geertz, Macaloon & Czikszentmihalyi

2. Define the concepts of intrinsic motivation and autotelic experience

3. Define the theoretical model of enjoyment/autotelic experience and its structure



Prehistory and early history of sport

Explore the prehistory and early history of sport

Discuss questions of existence of sport in prehistoric societies—dealt with through use of ethnographic analogy


Pg. 95-129

1. Learn about the existence of sport in prehistoric societies

2. Define major features of a cultural evolutionary approach to understanding development of sport as an institution

13 &14


Sport in Culture: an evolutionary perspective

Band society

Explore the role and structure of sports in various cultures: local bands (hordes), ranked societies, primitive societies, and archaic civilizations

Pg. 129-171

1. Understand sport typology according to evolutionary classification

2. Define the social, economical, political and cultural factors which shaped the structure of sports in various cultures



Supraband society

Discuss the evolution of sports in supraband societies

Pg. 171-205

1. Define sport typology in supraband societies




Final exam

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