Dynamics of group sports with reference to football.


Elias, Norbert; Dunning, Eric

British Journal of Sociology, Dec66, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p388, 15p


In studying football and other sport-games, one encounters from the start certain semantic difficulties. People often speak of a game of football as if it were something outside of, and apart from, the group of players. It is not entirely incorrect to say that the same game, a game such as football can be played by many different groups. At the same time, the pattern of each individual game is itself a group pattern. In order to play a game, people group themselves in specific ways. As the game runs its course, they continually regroup themselves in a manner similar to ways in which groups of dancers regroup themselves in the course of a dance. The initial configuration from which these players start changes into other configurations of players in a continuous movement. It is to this continuous movement of the configuration of players to which we refer when we use the term game-pattern. The term can be misleading if it makes one forget what one actually observes when watching a game, one observes small groups of living human beings changing their relations in constant interdependence with each other.


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