Rethinking the changes surrounding religion and elite sport cultures
The Eternal Present of Sport
Rethinking Sport and Religion
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Daniel A. Grano
In his persuasive study The Eternal Present of Sport, Daniel Grano rethinks the sport-religion relationship by positioning sport as a source of theological trouble. Focusing on bodies, time, movement, and memory, he demonstrates how negative theology can be practically and theoretically useful as a critique of elite televised sport.
Grano asserts that it is precisely through sport's highest religious ideals that controversies are taking shape and constituting points of political and social rupture. He examines issues of transcendence, "legacy"—e.g., "greatest ever," or "all-time"—and "witnessing" through instant replay, which undermine institutional authority. Grano also reflects on elite athletes representing especially powerful embodiments of religious and social conflict, including around issues related to gender, sexuality, ability doping, traumatic brain injury, and institutional greed.
Elite sport is in a period of profound crisis. It is through the ideals Grano analyzes that we can imagine a radically alternative future for elite sport.
"The Eternal Present of Sport is quite unlike any other sport studies book. Grano utilizes an understated but effective interdisciplinary approach in unpacking the empirical complexities of sport culture—from the embodied to the digital, the commercial to the technological, the legal to the philosophical. His grasp of sport and cultural studies literatures is truly comprehensive, and his application of the scholarship in examining the sport-religion nexus is both innovative and insightful. The Eternal Present of Sport delivers the comprehensive radical contextualization of the sport-religion dialectic that others have merely purported to provide. With its wide-ranging and illuminating critical analysis of both sport and religion, this book will have an immediate and significant impact on numerous literatures."
Daniel A. Grano is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.