In his 1993 presidential address to the Philosophic Society for the Study of Sport, aptly titled ‘Sport, theater, and ritual: Three ways of worldmaking’, Gunter Gebauer argued that sports create worlds that represent fundamental sets of attitudes and shared values, and thus are reflective of the culture in which they emerge (e.g. American culture), and contribute to the creation of subcultures (e.g. the subculture of NFL sport viewing on Sundays in the U.S.). Gebauer’s work was focused on traditional sports.
In this essay, Klein argues that alternative sports can play similar roles in creating culture, and even pushing those cultural values and norms to the mainstream. In particular, some alternative sports such as climbing and surfing represent relationships between humans and natural features, and that such sports, as a subcategory of alternative sports, are in a position to create new and original frameworks that can help us to better comprehend our relationships with natural environments. These relationships can be leveraged for environmental education, environmental awareness-building, and environmental policy.
CITE: Klein, K. (2008). Sport, nature and worldmaking. Sports Ethics and Philosophy, 2(3), 285-301.