PERLS104 Lecture Notes - Invented Tradition, Canadian Identity, Olympism

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Chapter 13: Sports And Politics
Politics: processes and procedures of making decisions that affect collections
of people
Gov’ts: formal organizations with the power to make and enforce rules in a
particular territory or collection of people
Power: the ability to influence people and achieve goals even in the face of
opposition from others
Authority: a form of power that comes with a recognized and legit status or
office in gov’t, an organization, or an established set of relationships
Reasons for Connections Between Canadian Gov’t and Sports
1. Safeguard the public order
2. Maintain health and fitness
3. Promote the prestige and power of a group, community, or nation
4. Promote a sense of identity, belonging, and unity among citizens
5. Reproduce values consistent with dominant ideologies in society
6. Increase support for political leaders and gov’t
7. Promote economic development
1.)Safeguarding Public Order
Gov’t make rules about:
What sports are legal and illegal
How sports should be organized to protect rights and well being
Who has the right to play sports
Where sports may be played
Who can use public facilities and when can they use them
2.)Maintaining Health and Fitness
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Past gov’t support based on beliefs that
Playing sports improves fitness
Fitness improves health
Good health reduces medical costs
Recent govt support may take into account research showing that:
Illness is related to environmental factors more than worker fitness
Competitive sports have few benefits when it comes to productivity
Peoples concerns about sport performance may increase demands for HC
3.)Promoting Prestige and Power
Govt support is based on beliefs that success in sports provides recognition
and status for the sponsoring govt unit/agency
National teams bring international recognition
Local teams bring publicity to communities
4.)Promoting Identity, Belonging, and Unity
Govts often use sports to promote identity and unity when constituents
are diverse or when change is rapid and widespread in society
Sports often are constructed as invented traditions to reaffirm ties to
“imagined communities”
Sport-based unity is temporary and superficial
Sports don’t change the realities of divisive everyday differences and
Canadian identity and unity were displayed at the Vancouver Olympics.
But there was also ethnic disunity
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