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This anthology aims to throw a historical and a sociological light on the relation between sports, body culture and humanistic health science. More precisely it intends to analyse how the health aspect from the beginning formed an important part when sports developed into a social institution in the second part of the 19th century and how it is still used in a legitimative fashion. In this connection the gender aspect has to be taken into consideration as sports pertain to the two sexes in very different ways; thus much time was spent on debating whether sports were healthy for women while the health aspect was not discussed in relation to men. The basic idea of the anthology is that there are manifold cultural meanings and discourses surrounding sports, body and health. These meanings and discourses not only vary from time to time, but also function to mark the boundaries between social classes, races, nations, gender and ageing. Thus the anthology provides an introduction to the cultural ambiguity and pluralism of the triplex: sports, body and health - and it rejects any notion of fundamentalism and universalism in the field.
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