Sport and technology

An actor-network theory perspective

In today’s world, we are offered a constantly expanding number of technologies to integrate into our lives. We now utilise a range of interconnected technologies at work, at home and at leisure. The realm of sport is no exception, where new technologies or enhancements are available to athletes, coaches, scientists, umpires, governing bodies and broadcasters. However, this book argues that in a world where time has become a precious commodity and numerous options are always on offer, functionality is no longer enough to drive their usage within elite sports training, competition and broadcasting. Consistent with an actor-network theory approach as developed by Bruno Latour, John Law, Michele Callon and Annemarie Mol, the book shows how those involved in sport must grapple with a unique set of understandings and connections in order to determine the best combination of technologies and other factors to serve their particular purpose. This book uses a case study approach to demonstrate how there are multiple explanations and factors at play in the use of technology that cannot be reduced to singular explanations like performance enhancement or commercialisation. Specific cases examined include doping, swimsuits, GPS units, Hawk-Eye and kayaks, along with broader areas such as the use of sports scientists in training and the integration of new enhancements in broadcasting. In all cases, the book demonstrates how multiple actors can affect the use or non-use of technology.

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