Out of Left Field

Social Inequality and Sport

By Gamal Abdel-Shehid and Nathan Kalman-Lamb  

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High-performance sport, like other social and cultural formations, is a site of social, economic and racial inequalities emerging from larger histories of colonialism and capitalism. In this introductory text, the authors explore the nature of historical and contemporary social inequality in high-performance sport, both globally and locally – understanding high-performance sport as a model that is emulated on other sports fields. In addition, the authors examine the enduring appeal of high-performance sport and its role in the making of identity as well as high-performance sport as a site for resisting the forces of colonialism and capitalism.

“Out of Left Field provides an accessible and engaging account of the ways in which colonialism, capitalism, gender, race and sexuality shape the structure and experience of sport.It <http://sport.It> is an ideal text for introducing students to a cultural studies approach to sport and to tools for analyzing the ideological implications of key facet of contemporary social life.”

— Samanatha King, School of Kinesiology & Health Studies Queen’s University

“Out of Left Field deserves a wide audience. Out of Left Field offers an engaging synthesis of the leading currents in critical social theory and ably applies them to the world of sport. The book also has a global focus. It weaves together examples and writings from North America, Europe, Latin American, and the Caribbean. A strength of the volume is its thorough and insightful considerations of race, gender, sexuality, nation, empire, modernity, and media culture. Written in a readable style, Out of Left Field encourages engagement and fosters application.”

— C. Richard King
, Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies
, Washington State University

“… engages readers in a structural analysis of how sport, particularly high-performance sport, within a colonial, racist, sexist and homophobic/heterosexist structure not only exploits athletes, but also is or can be a site for social and political struggle for justice.”

— Carl James, York University

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  • Part 1: The Nature of Sport
  • Alienation and Discipline in High-Performance Sport
  • Racism and Exploitation in Sport
  • Sport and Art: C.L.R. James and the Anti-Colonial Movement
  • Eduardo Galeano: Imperialism and Pleasure in Sport
  • Part 2: Sport and Identity
  • Racial Inequality and Capitalism in Women’s Sport
  • Women’s Sport Today: Transnational Feminism and Neoliberalism
  • Sport, Normative Masculinity, Racial Inequality and the Ethos of Capitalism
  • Sport and Sexual Regulation
  • Part 3: Sport, Culture and Ideology
  • Sport, Spectacle and Desire
  • Sport and Representation
  • Sport and Film
  • Sport and the Nation
  • Conclusion
  • Glossary
  • References


  • Gamal Abdel-Shehid

    York University

    Gamal Abdel-Shehid is an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University. He is the author of Who Da Man: Black Masculinities and Sporting Cultures.

  • Nathan Kalman-Lamb

    Nathan Kalman-Lamb is a lecturing fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where he teaches on social inequality and sports. His research and teaching focus on labour, race, multiculturalism, gender, spectatorship and sport.

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