Prof.Constantinos Despotopoulos, Academy of Athens, Greece
Prof. Christina Koulouri, University of the Peloponnese, Greece
Prof. Jean-Pierre Vernant, College de France, France
Prof. Joseph Maguire, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
Prof. Jeffrey Hill, De Montfort University, United Kingdom
Prof. Maurice Roche, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Prof. Konstantina Goggaki, University of Athens, Greece
Prof. Patricia Vertinsky, University of British Columbia, Canada
Prof. James Riordan, Stirling University, United Kingdom
Antonia Zervaki, Foundation of the Hellenic World, Greece
Prof. Thierry Terret, University of Lyon, France
Dr. Dimitrios Paleothodoros, Foundation of the Hellenic World, University of Thessaly, Greece
Prof. Henning Eichberg, Research Institute for Sport, Culture and Civil Society, Denmark
Prof. Pantelis Kyprianos, University of Patras, Greece, Dr. Manolis Choumerianos, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece
Prof. Christian Bromberger, University Aix-en-Provence, France
Prof. Eva Cantarella, University of Milan, Italy
Prof. Jinxia Dong, University of Beijing, China
Prof. Cheryl Cole, University of Illinois, USA
Prof. Andrew Stewart, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Prof. Manfred Laemmer, Koeln University, Germany
Dr. Athanasios Sideris, Foundation of the Hellenic World, Greece
Prof. James-Anthony Mangan, De Monfort University, United Kingdom
Prof. Gregory Nagy, Harvard University, USA
Prof. Francois Lissarrague Center "Louis Gernet", Paris, France
Prof. Jean-Pierre Vernant, Jeux anciens, sports modernes
The following paper refers to the meaning of the ancient Games, especially of the Olympics, in the society and the entire culture of antiquity. How they have been incorporated in the extant sociopolitical framework, and if their position may be compared with the one gradually occupied during the 18th and 19th centuries by the competitive and strictly regulated physical activities. The author traces the transformations in the perception of time from the antiquity to the modern era, their links to the concept of identity, as well as the transformations in the sportive apparatus and the techniques. These transformations are examined in the context of the changing perceptions of the body in varying periods.
Prof. Joseph Maguire, Sport and Globalisation: Beijing, the Olympics and Civilisational Struggles
This paper focuses on the globalisation of modern sport. A five - phase model of the making of modern sport underpins this analysis. Attention is paid to developments within and between European societies and between occidental and non - occidental societies. This global sport process is bound up in a set of multidirectional cultural, political, economic and social processes that are marked by civilisational struggles. Several key structured processes will be outlined and future developments considered - are we on the verge of a reintensification of civilisational struggles and, if so, what implications does this have for global sport? Questions of indigenous receptivity, cultural resistance, distinction, emulation and recycling and the key winners and losers that characterise this global sport process will also be highlighted. The example of the awarding of the 2008 Olympic games to the People's Republic of China is used to highlight these global tensions. This award was marked by a series of cultural struggles between those within sport and in the wider social, economic and political context. Attention here focuses on the response of western media, sport organisations and political and cultural commentators to this success. This case study is linked to broader debates regarding globalisation and how such processes manifest themselves in sport worlds. Derived from a process-sociological perspective, issues of civilisational struggles are highlighted - a theme neglected in other accounts of global sport processes. A multi-causal, multi-directional approach is adopted that examines the complex power geometry that characterises globalisation and sport processes.
Prof. Jeffrey Hill, "Describing Cyrano's Nose": Sport, Leisure and Culture in the Twentieth-Century
Is it possible to compress twentieth-century developments in sport and related fields into a single explanatory model? Several models are available, and several attempts to make overall sense of sport have been made, with varying degrees of success. This paper will examine some of these explanations, with particular reference to debates among social and cultural historians in Britain on the question of 'class expression or social control?' The paper follows Lyotard, however, in moving away from the pursuit of the meta-narrative in favour of 'little' narratives, and concludes that the fundamental issue for students of sport in the twenty-first century is to understand the process by which representations of sport are understood and interpreted.
Prof. Maurice Roche,
The Olympics and the Development of "Global Society":
This paper reviews the social role and potential legacies of the Olympic Games drawing on studies of the history and sociology of 'mega-events' (Roche 2000), It suggests that in the contemporary period these need to be to be seen in terms of their implications not only, as always, for nationstates, but also for globalisation, global society-building and global governance-building. The paper reviews and reflects upon two relatively recent, late 20thC, aspects of the Olympics which are relevant to contemporary globalisation and global society-building, namely the Olympics as a globally televisually mediated event since the 1980s and also the Olympic Truce project since the 1990s. The paper outlines two frameworks for understanding contemporary globalisation processes and for discussing Olympic legacies, namely those of 'basic' and 'complex' globalisation. These are firstly applied in discussions of the Olympic Games as simultaneously a global media event and also a 'glocalised' urban event for the host city. Secondly they are applied in considering the Olympic movement in a global context in relation to ideals of global citizenship with particular reference to the Olympic Truce project. These discussions suggested that the social significance and role in global society of the Olympic Games, both as a mass mega-event phenomenon and as an international movement, is better seen in terms of the complex rather than the basic globalisation perspectives. The potential legacy sometimes claimed for the Olympic media event is the contribution it can make to the realisation of 'one world' awareness through the periodic convening of large sections of the world's population in a single common communal cultural activity, namely games in the square of 'the global village'. The potential legacy sometimes claimed for the Olympic Truce project is the contribution it can make to global peace, good governance and human rights (not least the right to life) in global civil society. On the basis of its conception of complex globalisation the paper reviews and assesses the credibility, strengths and weaknesses of these claims about the potential Olympic social legacies and impacts. In addition, and more generally, it is suggested that one of the main contributions that Olympic Games events and their calendar can make to global culture is a sharable experience of temporal depth, distance and continuity, and that this, along with the conceptual issues and the substantive media and political issues raised in the paper should form important themes in any agenda for the future development of Olympic research.
Prof. Konstantina Goggaki, Sports and Technology Genetics
The recent advances in biology and technology genetics have a great influence on the human being and further on the human-athlete, since the human cloning possibilities and the potentiality to create the conditions, which will allow the blastocytes production, actually leads to the creation of organic cells which contribute to the revival of the body- tissue. The international consideration that has already been developed for this matter is mainly concentrated on:a)whether or not such a scientific development consists of an interference in the biological human status and, b) whether or not such an action is morally acceptable. Those supporting the aforementioned procedures consider that the moral objections inhibit the development of important sectors of the latest technology which allows the improvement of the living conditions. On the other hand those criticizing these procedures claim that this scientific advance is actually an interference in the historical and natural continuity of the human being and further a clear moral offence to the human rights. Consequently, the development in biogenetics set up a new perception of the athlete as an individual and of sports as an anthropological phenomenon, since the the role of the first is denied and the importance of the latter is downgraded. Considering that "sports" is a phenomenon that brings together the individual with his/her nature, the genetic interference in the future athlete results in the contrary, i.e his/her withdrawal from his/her nature , while it degenerates the value of sports and weakens the importance of the sports spirit.
Prof. Patricia Vertinsky, East, West and Global: Sport, Physical Education and the Making of Gendered Identities in Colonial and Post-Colonial Hong Kong
As Hong Kong adjusts to its new status as special administrative region of China while simultaneously becoming ever more globally oriented it is timely to take a closer look at the background of Hong Kong's unique context and environment in relation to physical education, gender and sport. Caught in the interplay of Chinese nationalism, British colonialism and freebooting capitalism, Hong Kong's approaches to the education of the athletic body have consistently been strongly gendered and muted. Following Connell, I view the gender order as a dynamic system of power relations in which multiple masculinities and femininities are constructed, contested and continually altered. I then examine these multiple constructions in light of Hong Kong's colonial history, traditional Chinese values and close proximity to Chinese politics in order to see how dominant femininities and masculinities have become embedded within the organization and practices of sport and physical education. The marginalization of physical education within the educational system and its continued allegiance to British approaches (at least in theory), as well as the late start of feminist work in Hong Kong render a pressing need to address concerns about gender inequalities and forms of oppression around education and the sporting body. Furthermore, the growing levels of inactivity among Hong Kong youth, especially girls, not only pose serious questions for health authorities, recreation specialists and educators of the body, but also require re-thinking, as Hong Kong is pulled closer toward China and its views around the education of the gendered sporting body.
Prof. James Riordan, The Contribution of the Greek Olympic Ideal to the Demise of Communism
After the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, the Soviet Union began swiftly to fall apart. Five years later Gorbachov introduced his attempted 'rescue package' of Perestroika and Glasnost. In another four years, the communist edifice crumbled away throughout Eastern and Central Europe.
Antonia Zervaki, Olympic Truce: an Epitome of Ancient and Contemporary Political Culture
The Olympic truce (εκεχειρία), an ancient tradition calling for all hostilities to cease during Olympic Games, expresses human kind's perennial aspiration to peace, goodwill and reconciliation. This paper addresses the issue of the Olympic truce concept and the promotion of a culture of peace at international level. The incorporation of the Olympic ideals in the existing political culture of international relations and its affinity to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter is being further discussed, highlighting not only its symbolic value but also its practical potential.
Prof. Thierry Terret, The Tour de France from a Century to Another in a Gendered Perspective: Women's Invisibility and Hegemonic Masculinity
The male and patriarchal tradition of late 19th Century cycling was confirmed and reinforced by the Tour de France as soon as it was created in 1903. Every year since, this sport event was able to value and emphasise the visibility of men in accordance with the norms of hegemonic masculinity. Through recurrent images and discourses in media, such stereotypes were conveyed in various forms including metaphors of strength, body energy and control, sexual power and symbolic broadening of limits. Whatever the historical contexts and changes in gender role and relationships between genders were, the Tour de France remained a stage of men and male visibility through the century. At the same time, such a statement was strengthened by the way women were made invisible. Indeed, according to the Tour regulations, women simply did not exist from an institutional perspective, or when they did, they suffered humiliation. Women's presence was made still more difficult when approaching the heart of the race: they could be seen - and even watched - in various situations and specific tasks before, after or on the side of the competition, but never within the race. More recently and despite many hurdles, women tried to "reinvent" another Tour especially reserved for them. Surprisingly, however, this new experience was overwhelmed by eroticised images of riders and thus also contributed to maintain women in a traditional feminine status, which, in a sense, resulted in a clear reinforcement of hegemonic masculinity in the "real" male Tour de France.
Dr. Dimitrios Paleothodoros, The Ambiguities of Ancient Greek Boxing
Recent discussions on ancient Greek boxing center on technical matters, and on equipment, neglecting the social aspects that made boxing one of the most praised sports in antiquity. There is a trend among scholars in regarding boxing as a popular game among the middle and lower classes, especially after the late archaic period. However, ancient testimonies point that boxing was especially favoured by the aristocrats, from the Homeric period to the roman times. The biographies of boxers show that they normally came from the upper strata of the society of the Greek polis. In myth, Apollo was the god of boxing, and in cult, he was praised as "pyktes", the boxer, while in his festival at Delos, boxing was the main sporting event. The Spartans claimed the invention of the game, but they have soon forbidden it in their homeland. The thongs were allegedly invented by a barbarian king, Amykos. But the semi-historical record of Olympic winners shows that the rules and the technique of the sport were drew up by great Ionian athletes, like Onomastos of Smyrna (688 B.C.) and Pythagoras of Samos (548 B.C.), the last one being an archetypal ephebic hero, with long hair and childish appearance. Thus, despite its brutality, and the high rate of injuries and accidental deaths, boxing was primarily regarded as an exercise where physical strenght, courage, technical skill and ruse ought to be combined in order to achieve victory. It was considered an excellent training for warriors. Interestingly enough, great boxers, like Milo of Croton and Dorieus of Rhodes, were also military leaders.
Prof. Henning Eichberg, Racing in the Labyrinth? About Some Inner Contradictions of Running
The movement of running is not as simple and elementary, as the theory of sports often has thought it - side by side with jumping, throwing etc. Running in the labyrinth leads towards a complexity of experiences, feelings and imaginations of movement. Whilst interpretations normally have speculated about the labyrinth as a symbolic expression or idea, it is here proposed to approach the labyrinth as bodily practice. This is attempted by combining historical archaeological materials - from Mediterranean and Nordic cultures - with an empirical phenomenology of labyrinthine movement. The labyrinth as an experimental space of movement tells about the turn, the detour and the curved line, the own time of the things and the rhythmic change, the fractal form and the situation of non-survey, the centrical and decentrical, the challenge without achievement test, the question and the being in-between, the panic and the laughter. What is characteristic for the history of modern sports is the contradiction between the labyrinth and the straight line of sportive running. But the contradiction between the one-way labyrinth and the pseudo-labyrinthine maze (Irrgarten), which has been dominating the modern imagination of the labyrinth, is illustrative for Western thinking, too.
Prof. Pantelis Kyprianos/ Dr. Manolis Choumerianos, Football Fans: Everyday Routine and Identities
The purpose of this presentation is to study the sports fan's activity as a factor of identity construction, as well as of organization of every day routine. Two groups of Greek football fans are studied: the ones who belong to the team as members and those who attend football matches regularly. Based on data collected through field research, this study attempts to show that sports fan's activity is an intense, regular and regulated one. Furthermore, when this activity leads to the fan's integration to a team, it organizes the fan's everyday routine and represents a strong part of his/her identity. The paper consists of four parts: The first part, based on Greek opinion polls, attempts to sketch an image of Greek football fans. The second part presents a typology regarding how and why one becomes a fan. The third part, based on field research, investigates how involvement on football organizes every day's routines and becomes part of the fan's identity. Finally the fourth part argues that social obligations (work, marriage, etc.) create new demands and therefore weaken the fan's binding to the team. The fan's past though, works as a really strong reference: at a first chance, the fan goes back to his earlier activity and old bonds.
Prof. Christian Bromberger, Football, Worldview and Collective Identities
Football embodies an image of today's world which is at once consistent and contradictory. First, the game expresses what it takes to succeed in the modern world: a combination of individual merit and teamwork, luck, some bending of the rules, and the favor of referees (who represent justice). Second, it provides a forum for collective identities and local or regional, antagonisms. This communication will be grounded on fieldwork research carried out in France, Italy and Iran.
Prof. Eva Cantarella , Body Culture, Women and Athletics
Sports and Athletics are usually activities practised by men, therefore they are considered in the frame of the masculine values. But also women practiced sports and took part to the athletic games. The paper will describe the different sports practiced by women in the Greek world, and discuss the meaning and functions of feminine physical activities.
Prof. Jinxia Dong , Women, Nationalism and the Beijing Olympics: Preparing for Glory
Chinese astonishing achievements at the Olympic Games since 1984 have greatly changed the Chinese image in the world and aroused a strong nationalism in all Chinese at home and abroad. People from all walks of life have been motivated to work hard to help strengthen and modernise the Chinese nation. The Chinese are determined not to rest on their laurels. To upgrade China's Olympic medal position, which is considered to be symbolic of the overall power of a nation, the Chinese introduced an Olympic Strategy in the mid-1980s. Benefiting from this Olympic-oriented policy due to their remarkable performances at international competitions as well as their great potential for medals, women athletes in China have been given preferential treatment in terms of coaching, facilities and support for national teams. As a consequence, women have achieved more impressive performances than their male counterparts at the Olympic Games. Women have thus become the national icons receiving enviable recognition, respect and status in society. All this suggests that there is a complex relationship between nationalism, sport and gender. What effect has nationalism had on sports policies and women's lives? How has sporting achievement contributed to the enhancement of patriotism and the changes in attitude towards women in society? These questions deserve investigation. Based on official documents, published articles and books, interviews with Chinese sports officials and elite athletes, this paper will explore the interconnections of gender, sport and national identity building in modern China, analyse the impact of hosting the Beijing Games on China's national standing in the world, on national sports policies, management and competition systems and financial structures, and review the future of women's performance at the 2008 Olympic Games. The following issues will be considered in this paper:
Prof. Cheryl Cole, Enchanted Sporting Bodies & Sex Testing
In 1968, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) implemented a policy, "gender verification", that required all female athletes, and only female athletes, to undergo an IOC-approved test to determine their sex. Gender verification (whose implementation coincided with the seemingly morally unambiguous and always desirable drug-testing) has been haunted by profound ambivalence and controversy. Although seemingly distinct, both sex and drug testing discourses are marked by routine slippages that implicate deviant sex and doping. As a result, a wide-range of boundary creatures appears in sex and drug testing narratives: drug-crafted athletes, steroid men/women, intesexed, transsexed, hypermuscular females, hypernormal females, innocent victims, communist athletes, embryos, and maternal bodies. In this paper, I question the received categories and knowledges that haveguided proponents and opponents of sex testing. In order to do so, I concentrate on a specific visual domain through which Olympic sex testing gained meaning: Cold War America. Introducing America as an analytic category intervenes in, I argue, the almost complete erasure of the national and the sexual in scholarly accounts of sex testing. Based on archival materials, I show how sex testing mediated logics of national security, heteronormativity, and American sportsmanship (which one commentator named "democracy at work"). My research shows how "sportsmanship" was deployed as a technology of national fantasy that linked embodiment and political culture, and conduct, physical performance, and moral superiority to yield a gender-deviant-being called the "communist athlete." Most specifically, I show how the performances related to "democracy at work" in 1950's America relied on transphobic discourses and, relatedly, the twinned threats of hybridity and imitation. I conclude with a discussion about the position of the communist athlete in "enchanting" the bodies of white American female athletes while alleviating American anxieties related to democracy.
Prof. Andrew Stewart, Nudity, the Olympics, and Greek Self-Fashioning
The ancient Greek custom of stripping naked to compete at the Olympic Games is as unique and puzzling as it is notorious. I begin with the premise that the chronographical tradition assigning the origins of the practice to the Olympics of 720 B.C. was based on no solid evidence (so Plutarch, Numa 1.4), and that Thucydides' discussion of it (1.6) is more trustworthy. I then discuss the "feedback loop" that developed between nakedness in sport and in art, where it had long served as the "default setting" for adult males. During the sixth century the partnership intensifies with the universal acceptance of nakedness as a sign of the "Greek men's club"-the egalitarian polis (only at Sparta did girls traditionally compete naked, for very specific reasons)-, the invention of the victor statue and victory ode, and the increasingly homoerotic bias of the Greek polis elites. In consequence, after the Persian invasions naked athletics become a cornerstone of the Hellenic world's self-definition vis--vis the barbarian one outside.
Prof. Manfred Laemmer, Athens and Jerusalem: Greek Athletics and Jewish Identity
In the course of Alexander the Great's conquest of the Orient (332-323 BC), the peoples living in this region fell under the influence of Greek culture. Along with the Greek language and education, they also adopted gymnastics and athletics and the organisation of public festivals with competitions. The Jews were the only people to resist this development, due to an assimilation prohibition based on religious grounds. Nevertheless, so-called "Hellenists" did establish a gymnasium in Jerusalem in 175/174 BC and sent athletes to a festival in Tyre. Resistance by national-Jewish groups and intervention by the Syrian King Antiochus IV. Epiphanes led to a catastrophe which determined the attitude of conservative Jewry and Christianity towards sports and physical education.
Dr. Athanasios Sideris, The Athletic Body: Image and Power
The paper focuses on the representations of the athletic body in antiquity and modern times with emphasis on their symbolical and semiological values. Representations in painting, graphic and plastic arts, as well as in photography, are examined as vehicles of archetypal concepts of power. Gods, heroes, warriors, famous citizens and politicians are depicted conventionally as athletes, while their power (often only institutionary) appears literally embodied. It is noteworthy, however, that such conventions are almost absent in any representation of spiritual power. No philosopher or poet seems - according to representations at least- to care much about the health of the flesh, which hosts his mens sana.
Prof. James-Anthony Mangan, Icon of Munumental Brutality: Art and the Aryan Man
In the depiction of the male nude in art both Nationalist Socialist and Aryan Romantic attempted to transcend sensuality and to glorify superiority. Fascism was puritanical. It was preoccupied with the nude male as a representational icon of political power. The strong body signified the strong state. Aryan Fascist art represented an aggressive nationalism based on a militant masculinity expressed symbolically through images of the naked muscular male body.
Prof. Gregory Nagy, The Athletic Ordeal of the "Apobates" at the Panathenaia
This presentation examines the evidence of Black Figure paintings that depict the athletic event of the agon apobatikos, in which the athlete, armed in hoplite armor, would leap off a racing chariot. In the paintings, this athletic feat is correlated with the epic theme of Achilles' dragging the corpse of Hektor behind his chariot. I seek to show that this correlation is not arbitrary. Rather, it is relevant to the ritual dimension of athletics.
Prof. Francois Lissarrague, Agon, Eikon: Visual and Aesthetic Aspects of Ancient Greek Athletism
Attic vase-painters during the 6th and 5th Centuries B.C. have produced a high number of pictures dedicated to athletism. They inform us about training and practices, they help us to better understand many technical details. But their essential function is not to satisfy the modern curiosity of archaeologists and historians. More than historical documents or artistical works - as we see them - these pictures have a social and cultural function: in the agonal and competititve culture of the ancient Greeks, they claim the beauty and excellence of the winners. Athletics contests are a social and ritual occasion in which beauty and visual experience are essential. In this paper I shall try to show the visual and spectacular value of such pictures.
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