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ISBN 9781904558439

Quest for Excitement

sport and leisure in the Civilising Process





University College Dublin Press


Elias effectively founded the modern sociology of sport in collaboration with Eric Dunning in the 1960s and 1970s. They argue that in highly constrained, ‘civilised’ societies, sports – as well as a spectrum of other cultural and leisure activities – are to be understood not in terms of ‘relaxation’ but rather of the need for pleasurable excitement and its pleasurable resolution.The topics range historically from the violence of the ancient Greek Olympic Games to foxhunting, early forms of football, and the question of why Britain proved to be the cradle of so many modern sports. And, today, what are the effects of achievement striving in elite sports? Why has spectator violence become such a problem? Why do so many sports retain the character of a ‘male preserve’? Originally written in English, this volume has been thoroughly revised by Eric Dunning and includes one hitherto unpublished essay by Elias and a new essay by Dunning, bringing up to date his interpretation of football hooliganism.


ELIAS, Norbert; DUNNING, Eric. Quest for Excitement: sport and leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2008.
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