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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Training the Sublime: Between the Spiritualization of Sport and the Sportization of Religion [Anthropology of Sports Commission]


Location: Poznań, Poland
Date: 29 Aug 15:30 - 17:15


Room 2.20

Sport has become ubiquitous in recent years turning the sport complex as the totality of activities, institutions, markets, and logics related to sport into a key motor of social change. People increasingly relate to sport as a form of self-fashioning and self-making, be it as consumers, readers, practitioners, and spectators. Why is this so? What is the meaning that people put into sports which could explain this phenomenon? In this panel, we want to trace the meaning-making in sports from the perspective of religion and spirituality. We think that despite anthropology’s tradition of analyzing sport as a form of collective effervescence, further investigation on how people understand sport in religious and spiritual terms is needed. The dichotomy between religion and sport as a solely secular activity has become obsolete as the meaning that practitioners and fans put into sport are imbued with religious signs. The shift towards individual experiences of religion, as currently most strongly expressed by Pentecostalism, further blurs the line between sport and religion in that it allows religious sport practitioners to understand physical exercising as an expression of religiosity. Sport may function as a substitute for religion, or as a ‘secular religion,’ in the contemporary spiritual marketplace. The feeling of community, of belonging to something bigger than oneself in conjunction with a sense of holism make sport practitioners understand the related corporeal activities as a spiritual practice. For this panel, we welcome analytical and ethnographic papers investigating the blurred borders between religion, spirituality, and sport.


  • P 54.1
    • Mr. Schapira, Raphael (The Graduate Institute Geneva)
    • Dr. Giorda, Mariachiara (Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici (RomaTre))

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Displaying 5 contributions out of 5
The idea of a nuclear family in Mexico has a strong foundation in the representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a national symbol that permanently connects the nuclear family, the politics and the religion. The data presented in this chapter were obtained from an ethnographic research conducted in a Mexican soccer fans group called La Perra Brava (The Fierce Dog) located in the city of Toluca. ... More
Presented by Dr. Ricardo Duarte BAJAÑA on 29/8/2019 at 15:50
In my paper, I will analyze the relation between urban peripheric space, sport, and evangelicalism using the case of evangelical Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Rio de Janeiro. Scholarship on martial arts and religion (Greve 2014; Alter 1993) has drawn attention to the embodiment of religious belief through martial arts training. Scholarship on religion in urban spaces on the other hand (Becci, Burchardt, ... More
Presented by Raphael SCHAPIRA on 29/8/2019 at 16:10
In the Khabarovsk territory, the traditional contests of the indigenous peoples (dog sledding, running as bears, wrestling, etc.) have now become actively revived by the efforts of the local cultural and educational institutions. Officially, the need for this activity is stated as a necessity to maintain the interest of the indigenous peoples to their ethnic identity, to keep their health and to g ... More
Presented by Dr. Tatiana BULGAKOVA on 29/8/2019 at 16:30
My interest in the relationship between corporeal arts and spirituality has led me to embark upon research in the Shaolin Temple, China. This is a place where the perception of corporeal arts is inseparable from Chan Buddhist self-cultivation. This paper aims to contribute to the discussion of this panel by treating Shaolin kungfu as an example of simultaneous development of corporeal art and reli ... More
Presented by Marta NESKOVIC on 29/8/2019 at 15:30
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