Gibson, Kass (2020) ANIMALS, SPORT, AND THE ENVIRONMENT. In: Sport and the Environment: Politics and Preferred Futures. Emerald. ISBN 9781787690301


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Purpose – To outline the multiple ways in which animals are inserted into sporting practices, outline historical and contemporary approaches to studying human-animal sporting practices, and advocate for the centring of sociological problems in human animal research in sporting contexts and cultures and for considering such problems in relation to environmental issues. Design/methodology/approach -- In the first part of the chapter, conceptual differentiation of animals in the animal-sport complex is presented. Subsequently, studies of interspecies sport are reviewed with reference to the ‘animal turn’ in the literature. In the second part, a critique is presented relating to: i) the privileging of companion animals, especially dogs and horses, which overlooks the multiple ways animals are integrated into (multispecies) sport; ii) micro-sociological and insider ethnographies of companionship displacing of sociological problems in favour of relationship perspectives; and iii) the environment as absent from analysis. The conclusion offers implications for understanding multispecies sport and the environment. Findings -- I chart a general shift in emphasis and focus from animals as an ‘absent presence’ in pursuit of sociological knowledge towards a clearly defined focus on interspecies sport as a field of research characterised by investigations of relationships with companion animals through the ‘animal turn.’ Research limitations/implications – The focus on companion species means other animals (i.e., non-companions) are understudied, big picture sociological questions are often side-lined, environmental concerns marginalised, and sociological understanding of the environment more generally is either ignored or reduced to a conduit of human-animal interactions.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Human-animal studies, sport, interspecies sport, multispecies sport, sociology, sensitising concepts, animal-sport complex
Depositing User: Ms Raisa Burton
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2020 14:33
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2020 14:33

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