Sport and politics have become inseparably entwined. From the volatile nationalism of international soccer to human rights controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics, sport is both an important factor in political discourse and shaped by the wider political environment. In this ground-breaking and thought provoking book, Alan Bairner offers a comprehensive and critical survey of the relationship between sport and politics and argues that, by understanding this relationship, we can develop a much more nuanced understanding of both sport and politics as aspects of culture. The book begins with three main propositions - that politicians use sport, that sport reflects political conditions and that sport itself contributes to political culture for good or for ill. Against this background, the book explores the key points of interaction between the two, including national and international sport policy, the political economy of sport, nationalism in sport, sport in political thought, globalization, the politics of sporting celebrity, and the neighbouring academic communities of sport and political science. With fascinating case studies woven throughout, this book is the perfect introduction to an important contemporary topic for all students of sport, politics and society.