The visual in sport history: approaches, methodologies and sources
- Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Historians of sport now increasingly accept that visual inquiry offers another dimension to social and cultural research into sport and its history. It is complex and its boundaries are rapidly evolving. This overview offers a justification for placing more emphasis on visual approaches and an introduction to the study and interpretation of visual culture in relation to the history of sport. It stresses the importance of adopting a critical approach and the need to be reflective about that critique. An ever-widening range of visual data are now being explored; so, this paper begins with a brief survey of sources that potentially offer rich returns, from film and photographs to posters and paintings or standards and statues. It next provides a critical assessment at an introductory level of some of the more important methodologies now emerging to help interpret these. This can be no more than a personal choice, given their sheer variety and interdisciplinary nature, and the reality that many historians of sport adopt a mixture of methods and approaches. Approaches covered include content analysis, iconography and iconology, semiology, psychoanalysis, discourse analysis, and reception and audience studies. Examples of recent studies of visual studies are used to illustrate the discussion.
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