Christianity as Public Religion: A Justification for using a Christian Sociological Approach for Studying the Social Scientific Aspects of Sport

Tom Gibbons, Nick Watson, Mark Mierzwinski

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Abstract

The vast majority of social scientific studies of sport have been secular in nature and/or have tended to ignore the importance of studying the religious aspects of sport. In light of this, Shilling and Mellor (2014) have sought to encourage sociologists of sport not to divorce the ‘religious’ and the ‘sacred’ from their studies. In response to this call, the goal of the current essay is to explore how the conception of Christianity as ‘public religion’ can be utilised to help justify the use of a Christian sociological approach for studying the social scientific aspects of sport. After making a case for Christianity as public religion, we conclude that many of the sociological issues inherent in modern sport are an indirect result of its increasing secularisation and argue that this justifies the need for a Christian sociological approach. We encourage researchers to use the Bible, the tools of Christian theology and sociological concepts together, so to inform analyses of modern sport from a Christian perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalSport in Society
Volume22
Issue number2
Early online date9 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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