10 Pages

Introduction: Sport and international relations: Continued neglect?

WithRoger Levermore, Adrian Budd

Academic analysis of the mutual impact of sport and society is fairly well established, with literature examining the sociology of sport expanding rapidly, as the titles in this Sport in the Global Society series testify. From this literature it is evident that analysis of sport can tell us a good deal about international relations; from global neo-liberal economics, diplomacy and war to cultural globalization, national identity formation and the media. However, these examples of the relationship between sport and the international environment have been overwhelmingly written by specialists in history, law, sports studies and particularly sociology. Very little text has been devoted to sport from the academic discipline of international relations (IR).1 This lack of attention has attracted a degree of criticism. In 1986, for instance, Trevor Taylor argued that sport and IR were strangers and that there was a ‘mutual neglect’; from an IR position, sport came a very distant second to IR’s primary consideration – the ‘inter-state struggle for security and power’.2 More recently, Peter Beck has argued that IR has shown a ‘high distaste’ for sport, an argument echoed in Christopher Hill’s prologue to this volume. Roger Levermore suggests that there are areas in which sport has some, if not a major, role to play where IR is silent; this is particularly the case, he argues, in security studies, conflict resolution, and how competing IR paradigms view the interplay of sport and international relations.3