The Politics of Sport Culture


Whether it was the concussive injuries to athletes due to the exploitation of violence in sport, sexual abuse by coaches, the profound corruption of Olympic and major sports associations and their harnessing by transnational corporations; whether it was sport’s ambiguous part in racism, its many-sided contributions to sexism, or the deep role big-time sport culture has played in nurturing authoritarian and anti-democratic values – that is, in shaping political culture – Varda Burstyn saw it, named it and wrote about it beginning in the mid-1980s. 

Book: The Rites of Men: Manhood, Politics, and the Culture of Sport. University of Toronto Press. Toronto 1999. Book of the Year Award (2000) North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (USA).

Her many predictions have come true on all these fronts, and her analysis of the impact and consequence of the commercial drivers of sport on society are highly relevant today. This is why her book, The Rites of Men: Men, Politics and the Culture of Sport continues to be used in university sports, gender, cultural and political science programs around the world. It is also why the book has become a touchstone for honest, enlightened and reform-minded athletes as they work to improve their own worlds, for athletes and for society.

Anthology: Sports as a Secular Sacrament.  Excerpted from The Rites of Men: Manhood, Politics and the Culture of Sport in Sport in Contemporary Society: An Anthology. Stanley Eitzen, ed. 2005. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder Colorado.

Encyclopedia: Women, Sport and Politics.  The International Encyclopaedia of Women and Sport. Vol 2, p.g. 882-889. Berkshire Reference Works. 1999. Berkshire Massachusetts.

Conference proceedings: Some Political Reflections on Globalization, Ideology, Gender and Olympic Sport Symposium Anthology - Problematizing the Olympic Games. Kevin B. Wamsley ed. 1998. International Centre for Olympic Studies University of Western Ontario. London, Ontario.

Magazine: The Sporting Life. Saturday Night. March 1990.  Anthologized in Peter Donnelly ed. Taking Sport Seriously: Social Issues in Canadian Sport 1997.  Thompson Educational Publications. Toronto. 

A political history of steroid use in Olympic sport.  

Anthology: Sport, Gender and Politics: Moving Beyond the O.J Saga. The Socialist Register 1996. Vol. 32. Leo Panitch ed. London (UK)

Radio documentary series: Play, Performance and Power. IDEAS. CBC Radio. 1986

Three hour-long documentaries on sport and society, on men’s sport, women’s sport and the Olympic Games.