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What is the relationship between sports and society? How can we understand sport in relation to physical activities, leisure and physical culture? In this far-reaching and inter-disciplinary textbook, Karl Spracklen brings together ideas and research from sports studies, sociology, cultural studies, history, philosophy and psychology, in order to explore the meaning and purpose of sports in society. Unique in its critical outlook, the text explicitly aims to challenge readers to question their assumptions about sports and physical culture, through chapters that focus in on the issues and controversies in sports and identify the tensions in the role of sport and physical culture in our everyday lives. Combining exposition of key concepts with critical analysis of relevant and up-to-date research examples, this informative and provocative textbook makes a distinct companion for students and lecturers across all sports-related courses, from sports science and physical education to sports studies and leisure studies.