In only 138 pages of text he manages a broad sweep across sports history and culture...Schirato brings the eye of a critical fan to his analysis of sport - he treats it seriously as a social practice and as a social institution...[He] achieves his aims by providing a useful, provocative and non-dogmatic text that should be useful to undergraduate and graduate sport studies programmes. - Malcolm MacLean, Sport in History A particular strength of Understanding Sports Culture is the author's ability to meet the claim for breadth of student readership. The book is clearly structured, flagging from the outset a journey from ancient sporting times and the assumed human need of play to the development of modern and ultimately global and highly commercialized sporting cultures. - John Hughson, European Journal of Cultural Studies ?Understanding Sport Culture traces and analyzes the development of the modern field of sport from its ancient and medieval precursors (the festivals of Greece and Rome, and games such as folk football), through to its inception in the mid-nineteenth century as a set of activities designed to instill character and discipline in students in exclusive British public schools, up to its transformation into a global institution and popular spectacle. The narrative also focuses on and provides a detailed account of the gradual coming together of sport and the media. It explains how this relationship has accentuated sport's status as one of the most important sites in contemporary culture, while simultaneously threatening its existence. As part of the Understanding Contemporary Culture series this book is aimed at a broad range of students from undergraduate to graduate level, who want to know more and be fully informed on sport, its relationship to the media, and its cultural dynamics.