Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

Sport as a key partner in the Big Four’s Reign in the Western World

1 Comment

In RSS 4092, we recently attempted to look at sport in the “big picture”, particularly how it relates to systems in the West.


In his big picture “take”, renowned scholar Earle Ziegler described the “big four” ruling the Western World as:

  1. democracy as a most desirable type of political institution
  2. economic capitalism as a most desirable social institution
  3. nationalism as a most desirable form of identification AND
  4. sport as a most desirable human behaviour

Each force is said to bring more “good” than “bad”, hence its perceived desirability.

However, Ziegler goes on to state that in the 21st century West, we are experiencing a:

Ziegler concludes by asking about sport:

  • How does our model of sport fit?
  • Is sport fulfilling its presumed function of promoting good in a society?

and perhaps even more critically for RSS 4092ers,

  •  “Exactly what is it that we are promoting, and why are we doing it?”

Any thoughts?


UNB Faculty of Kinesiology: Bachelor of Recreation & Sports Studies, MBA in Sport & Recreation Management, and Master of Arts in Sport & Recreation Studies

One thought on “Sport as a key partner in the Big Four’s Reign in the Western World

  1. Like anything, sport provides both “good” and “bad” elements to society. The “good” can be found within the purity of sport, and the positive effects that individuals can get out of participation. The “bad” elements arise in the personas and attitudes that can come out of individuals when strict competition is in affect. While competition can be healthy and a great learning experience; if treated in the wrong way (e.g. cheating, pushing children to hard, etc.) it can lead to sport having very negative effects on society. As such a healthy relationship with sport needs to be established in each individual and family sect in order for sport to have a greater positive influence on society as a whole rather then a negative one.
    The reason for promotion of sport (grassroots) is due to the positive elements it embodies and the potential of providing these elements to it’s participants. Children who are part of an organized activity have a sense of belonging, more self efficacy and are able to apply skill sets such as sharing, communicating and discipline into real world situations. The skills learned through sport have the ability to positively affect children and make them more prepared and ready for society.
    – TC


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