Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Sport History in the Digital Era

Sport History in the Digital Era

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 296
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Sport History in the Digital Era
    Book Description:

    From statistical databases to story archives, from fan sites to the real-time reactions of Twitter-empowered athletes, the digital communication revolution has changed the way fans relate to LeBron's latest triple double or Tom Brady's last second touchdown pass. In this volume, contributors from Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States analyze the parallel transformation in the field of sport history, showing the ways powerful digital tools raise vital philosophical, epistemological, ontological, methodological, and ethical questions for scholars and students alike.Chapters consider how philosophical and theoretical understandings of the meaning of history influence engagement with digital history, and conceptualize the relationship between history making and the digital era. As the writers show, digital media's mostly untapped potential for studying the recent past via media like blogs, chat rooms, and gambling sites forge a symbiosis between sports and the internet while offering historians new vistas to explore and utilize. In this new era, digital history becomes a dynamic site of enquiry and discussion where scholars enter into a give-and-take with individuals and invite their audience to grapple with, rather than passively absorb, evidence. Timely and provocative, Sport History in the Digital Era affirms how the information revolution has transformed sport and sport history--and shows the road ahead. Contributors include Douglas Booth, Mike Cronin, Martin Johnes, Matthew Klugman, Geoffery Z. Kohe, Tara Magdalinski, Fiona McLachlan, Bob Nicholson, Rebecca Olive, Gary Osmond, Murray G. Phillips, Stephen Robertson, Synthia Sydnor, Holly Thorpe, and Wayne Wilson.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09689-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Library Science, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)

    The 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association featured fifteen sessions devoted to digital history. That range of presentations is in stark contrast to the absence bemoaned by Dan Cohen in 2009. Growth came slowly, as Cohen charted on his blog: nine digital history sessions in 2010, two in 2011, twenty-two in 2012, and the same number again in 2013. The picture is similar at the meetings of the other major American historical organization, the Organization of American Historians: two digital history sessions in 2009, six in 2010, three in 2011, eleven in 2012, two in 2013, and seven...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION: The Bones of Digital History
    (pp. 1-32)

    In early 2011, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), the national body responsible for the participation of Australian athletes with a disability at the Paralympic Games, published a tender to write their history. The tender proposal was placed online and targeted both national and international historians. As the tender indicated, the APC has an extensive archive of annual reports, summaries of the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, minute books, newspaper clippings, 45,000 photographs, 1,100 video items, and considerable alumnae with their own personal records and scrapbooks. All of this archival material was being catalogued by the premier sports library in Australia,...


    • 1 The Library’s Role in Developing Web-Based Sport History Resources
      (pp. 35-52)

      In his 2005 essay “The Bookless Future: What the Internet is Doing to Scholarship,” historian David A. Bell extolled the virtues of online research and predicted that libraries likely would become “virtual information retrieval centers, possibly located thousands of miles from the readers they serve.” The advent of “bookless or largely bookless libraries,” wrote Bell, is “too large and powerful a change to be held back.”¹ Bell’s essay was a clear articulation of one widely held vision of the future of libraries, but it was old news to librarians, whose own professional literature since the 1990s had featured a steady...

    • 2 Sport History and Digital Archives in Practice
      (pp. 53-74)

      The nature of historical research is changing and changing fast.¹ Sources as varied as government minutes and medieval manuscripts are being digitized and made available online at a rate that makes it difficult for scholars to keep up with what is happening, even within their own specialized fields. Slowly, but steadily, it is becoming possible to conduct primary historical research from the comfort of one’s own desk. Expensive and hurried trips to archives and libraries are no longer quite so necessary. Keyword searches make it possible to locate information instantly. The archival experience, of long hours far from home trawling...


    • 3 Organizational Websites, E-Spaces, and Sport History
      (pp. 77-96)

      Being a sport historian can be frustrating. The occupation can often involve travelling vast distances to historic sites and/or sport organizations, long hours ferreting away in archival repositories, analyzing dusty documents in darkened rooms, tiresome genealogical searches on athletic ancestry, and pursuits of elusive characters and artifacts. Indeed, this is how many historians in the discipline come to learn their craft. More recently, however, the discipline has undergone significant shifts that have altered sport historians’ attitudes and practices.¹ Within these perpetual debates, challenging theoretical and methodological questions have been raised around the nature of archives, the modes of representation, the...

    • 4 “Dear Collective Brain . . .”: Social Media as a Research Tool in Sport History
      (pp. 97-112)

      I want to begin far away from sport history, but right at the heart of the issues surrounding social media. It is November 2011, and the presidential election campaign is entering its last week in Ireland. The position is one that is largely ceremonial, rather than political, but that in 2011 had attracted the biggest field of candidates ever to seek the office. With a few days to go before polling, an independent candidate, who had made his name as one of the dragons on the Irish version of the television showDragon’s Den,Seán Gallagher, was holding a ten-point...

    • 5 Into the Digital Era: Sport History, Teaching and Learning, and Web 2.0
      (pp. 113-131)

      With each passing day, there seems to be a new gadget, a new app, or a new functionality that allow users even more opportunities to network or connect with others. Far from the early days of the Internet, when websites provided static information that had to be sought out, the Web 2.0 revolution has created dynamic relationships with content and extensive global interactivity delivered directly to our screens or phones. Increasingly, teachers of sport history are encountering so-called digital natives, who are as comfortable conversing online as they are in person, and whose understanding of the digital superhighways often far...

    • 6 “Get excited, people!”: Online Fansites and the Circulation of the Past in the Preseason Hopes of Sports Followers
      (pp. 132-156)

      I want to start this chapter with a provocative quote from the American sociologist Gary Alan Fine: “The essence of sport,” claimed Fine in 1985, “is not exercise, but memory.”¹ Fine made this glorious rhetorical assertion at the end of an abstract detailing his pioneering ethnographic study of the significance of theseasonalnature of team sports—in this case Little League Baseball. The history of the season, he argued, becomes the lens through which meaning is given to specific sporting actions, and thus frames the memories and tales that come to be told. As is often the case, it...

    • 7 Interactivity, Blogs, and the Ethics of Doing Sport History
      (pp. 157-179)

      Recent theoretical developments have seen many historians rethink what history is, how it can be done, what it can contribute, and how it has impacts beyond the academy.¹ Such discussions may seem problematic for those professional historians solely interested in reconstructing the sporting past, but for a growing number of historians the process of writing and producing histories is unavoidably riddled with methodological, ethical, and political decisions and impacts.² Rather than “avoid[ing] questions about the meaning of their work,”³ or “remaining indifferent about the precise effects of their writing,”⁴ postmodern and cultural historians are interested in expanding their understandings of...

    • 8 Death, Mourning, and Cultural Memory on the Internet: The Virtual Memorialization of Fallen Sports Heroes
      (pp. 180-200)

      In his widely cited book,Theatres of Memory,Raphael Samuel pointed to the function of memory keeping and presentation as being “increasingly assigned to the electronic media.”¹ A few years later, John Urry proposed that the “electronification” of memory might provide another twist in understanding how societies and cultures remember the past within an extraordinarily changing present.² More recently, a growing number of historians and cultural studies and media scholars recognize that the processes of remembering (and forgetting) are “transforming under the impact of the digital revolution.”³ Digital culture is, according to José van Dijck, “revamping our very concepts of...


    • 9 On the Nature of Sport: A Treatise in Light of Universality and Digital Culture
      (pp. 203-226)

      In this chapter I attempt to identify and then show how specific cultural and historical studies help create a theory of sport that is compatible with essentializing of origins; these integrative statements help illuminate the human condition.

      In the past century the world¹ has seen all-encompassing alterations in communication and sport (both communication and sport broadly and loosely imagined and defined). It is widely understood that such changes in sport and communication are revolutionary, born of technological, industrial, performative, and material inventions and advances that have transformed, enhanced, democratized, and/or accelerated ways that carry on civic culture. Concurrently, there is...

    • 10 Who’s Afraid of the Internet? Swimming in an Infinite Archive
      (pp. 227-250)

      The Internet is altering fundamental practices of history, including how historians gather, interpret, and present the remnants of the past.² In this chapter we analyze the ways that historians of sport have engaged and might engage with the Internet, which we conceptualize as both an infinitely expanding archive (with multiple viewpoints and formats such as audio and video) and a potential host for different forms of history/histories.³ Like their colleagues working in other subdisciplines of history, historians of sport approach their subject matter through various ontological and epistemological lenses,⁴ and to grasp the full extent of their engagement with the...

  9. Conclusion: Digital History Flexes its Muscle
    (pp. 251-270)

    In the Introduction to this book, we created a tripartite conceptualizationof the relationship between history making and the digital era. It provideda hermeneutic device to position contributions from sport historians, to grouptheir ideas based on similarities or allegiances as much as to separate their perspectives around conceptual differences, and as a way of acknowledging the complexity of representing the past in this particular historical moment. In creating this conceptualization, the limitations are obvious. There is the slippage between the categories of digital history as approaches cross the porous membranes branes that we have created, and the impermanence of digital tools,...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 271-274)
  11. Index
    (pp. 275-281)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-282)