This article provides an outline of the development of the figurational sociological analysis of sport. It begins by reviewing the careers of Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning. It shows how their early work established and embodied many of the core principles of figurational sociology - the concept of figuration; the importance of process; recognition of the fundamental interdependence of macro-level and micro-level social developments; and the importance of undertaking an embodied sociological analysis – and had a major impact on both the work of Elias and the development of the sociology of sport. It then explores the growth of figurational sociology of sport, explaining how research and pedagogical developments through the 1980s and 1990s continued to impact on the subdiscipline. Thirdly it charts how the core theoretical principles have been applied and developed in my own work, in particular the analysis of violence, Englishness and national identity in relation to cricket, and more recently in an attempt to understand the growing synergy between sport, health and medicine. The article concludes by identifying how recent ‘state of the art’ reviews of the field continually show the centrality and significance of Elias, Dunning and the figurational approach to sport they together developed.
Most scholars would agree that any study of violence in the sociology of sport owes a substantial debt of gratitude to Eric Dunning, Norbert Elias, and figurational sociology more broadly. This is certainly true of Canadian sociology of sport where, for at least three generations, the ideas of Dunning and his mentor, Norbert Elias, have proven both foundational and enduring. The main objective of this paper, which grows out of a presentation given to the Japanese Society of Sport Sociology in Spring 2021, is to show the promise of figurational sociology as an explanatory tool and to offer one concrete empirical case study from my own ‘sports-related violence’ research. Examining chuckwagon racing as a case study, and couching the high-risk use of horses in the figurational language of Elias, Dunning and others, this paper considers shifting views towards the ‘civility’ of the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ – the world famous Calgary Stampede.
Eric Dunning, Professor Emeritus at Leicester University, died at the age of 82 on 10th February 2019. This paper aims to review the life-long contribution of Eric Dunning to the development of sports sociology by tracing his academic achievements in this field. Eric Dunning applied figurational theory, which is central to Norbert Elias's sociological methodology, to his own study of so-called football hooliganism as a form of violence in sport by spectators, in collaboration with the other members of the Leicester School, the foundation of which Dunning himself laid. As concrete examples, the paper refers not only to Dunning's co-authored books, such as Quest for Excitement, and Barbarians, Gentlemen and Players, but also his sole-authored book, titled Sport Matters, in order to emphasize the remarkable role he has played as a sports sociologist. By the same token, the paper pays much regard to the influence of both Elias and Dunning on Japanese scholars studying sport in a wider sense by enumerating their books, essays and articles related to figurational sociology. Finally, the paper argues that, in the future, figuratinal theory should be more practically applied to sport-related issues and discussions between Japanese sports sociologists and their counterparts in other Asian countries.
In today’s world, contribution to matters of public interest is not the domain of central and local government bodies alone; for-profit companies and communal-level citizenry are looked to as well. In Germany, nonprofit organizations are part of the common sector, and a sense of civil public-mindedness is achieved by which local bodies, for-profit companies, and communal-level citizenry come together to address matters of public interest.
This research focuses on the German nonprofit organizations known as Verein. Since the 1960s, when the number of sports clubs operated by these nonprofit organizations rapidly grew, Germany has seen the development of a great number of social movements and the formation of a counterculture. And in the 1980s, the Autonome, known for their occupying of empty residences, gave rise to a professional soccer club that was a symbol of the anti-commercial and anti-racist movements.
Then in the late 1990s, when approval had been given for Bundesliga soccer clubs to become for-profit companies, the 50+1 Rule was established for the Bundesliga in order to protect nonprofit organizations. This created a system whereby the acquiring of fans by professional soccer clubs (for-profit companies) generated funds for comprehensive community sports clubs (nonprofit organizations) and, at the same time, enabled the addressing of various communal causes, primarily by the nonprofit organizations, in the civil society.
This research seeks to elucidate the civil society as seen in the Bundesliga, and the function had by nonprofit organizations, which are the embodiment of civil public-mindedness.