Throughout human history, sports have played an important role in defining identity and nationality. They represent communities as well as individuals. They also teach youth how to work as a team and learn valuable life skills.
In the late 19th century, outsider groups began using sports as a means of representing their nation’s identity. Cricket is seen as the essence of England and is often the focal point of national identification.
After World War II, basketball and volleyball were widely popular. Many Western nations recruited athletes from African nations to compete. Poorer nations lacked the economic resources to invest in athletics. They often lost the best players to richer nations.
The 20th century saw the advent of the global economy, a transnational cosmopolitan culture, and a series of international social movements. These events helped to facilitate the diffusion of modern sports. They were marketed as a sign of prestige and power.
Sports have been a part of the larger process of globalization. They are characterized by the standardization of rules, creation of national sports organizations, and worldwide acceptance of the rules. Despite these benefits, sports can also undermine hegemonic social relations.
A number of international sociologists formed a committee in 1966 to study sports in society. The following year, a journal was launched to explore the relationship between sports and society.
Emotional processes contribute to the formation of the relationship between sports and identity. They help define the roles of fans and coaches. These feelings may be orchestrated or occur spontaneously. They can also be driven by subcultures within sports.