This paper is part of a project to write a book about the long-term transformations of Western masculinities. Its goal is to outline and to put into critical context the main theoretical references on which the historical analyses are based. First, the central statements of Pierre Bourdieu’s Masculine Domination are presented, then the French sociologist’s thesis, namely that the “structure of the gap is maintained between genders” is challenged. Next, in order to re-position Norbert Elias’ Civilizing Process as the founding text of Historical Studies on Men and Masculinities, the German sociologist’s work is subjected to critical scrutiny. Finally, Raewyn Connell’s conceptual framework is outlined from a critical perspective. In the wake of Bourdieu, it is intended to conceive of masculinities as habituses crystallized in social practice. However, contrary to Bourdieu, it is suggested that there are different layers of the habitus, and, as argued by Norbert Elias, these layers have crystallized in the long run as part of the European civilizing process. In the wake of Connell, this long term historical transformation is conceptualized as an interplay between hegemonic and non-hegemonic masculine dispositions. Finally, it is concluded that there is a strong family resemblance among these three authors, mostly, due to their relational thinking and qualitative research orientation.

Keywords: history; West; habitus; civilizing process; hegemonic and counter-hegemonic masculinities; Pierre Bourdieu; Norbert Elias; Raewyn Connell

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Sport is sometimes called the mirror of society and rightly so. All kinds of social relationships and developments can be found in the sports world of a country. The database Sporting organisations, sports clubs and sporting periodicals in the Netherlands until 1940 contains data on thousands of existing and past associations and clubs for six prominent sports: gymnastics, hockey, korfball, chess, tennis and football. This article shows how political relationships and philosophical differences had a major influence on the development of sports in the Netherlands until 1940. The article also deals with the naming of clubs, the background of their members and their size.

Keywords: sport databank; social relationships; leisure activities; sports practice; use of club names

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South-African Olympic Gold medalist Caster Semenya has been questioned for her sexual identity since the World Championships in 2009. She was subjected to gender verification testing ever since and has recently been excluded from international competition. The female athlete is only allowed to keep competing if she agrees to take medication to lower her naturally high testosterone levels. The treatment of Semenya’s case was justified on the basis that sport governing bodies are trying to ensure a level playing field. To what extent can the decision to discriminate and exclude an individual promote fair play? Should human rights not come before segregating categories in competition? This article will demonstrate how the female athlete’s discrimination was shaped by the “fair-play-ensuring” categorization of sports, by the sexist differentiation between ‘genetic gifts’ and ‘unfair performance advantages’, and by the white notion of femininity.

Keywords: genetic gifts; fair play; human biological diversity; ethics; natural advantages; differences of sexual development; sports gene

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Over the past years, physical culture has been considered for its role in promoting health and constructing identity in Iran. Physical education, recreation, and elite sports are identified as the main examples of physical culture by which these objectives could be achieved. Most studies on physical recreation are aimed at public health issues. After presenting a review of the relevant literature, a wide and diverse range of driving forces are categorized in social, technological, economic, environmental, political, value/cultural, and ‘sport/sport sciences’ domains, which may all influence Iranians’ participation in leisure-time physical activities. Following these findings in another study, the economic and technological drivers are specified as the most important uncertainties contributing to developing possible scenarios of participation in health-oriented activities. In addition to public health promotion, however, there is also evidence indicating that physical recreation (leisure-time physical activities) and indigenous sports can also result in identity construction purposes.

Further the capacity of elite sports to contribute to participation in leisure-time physical activities in Iran is examined. Since the relevant literature did not strongly support this finding, it was scrutinized in a separate research on Iran’s national soccer team in the 2018 FIFA World and the 2019 Asian Cups. The results indicated that elite sport successes can, indeed, lead to identity construction, which might have temporarily influenced Iranians’ participation. In this paper, we question if elite sport can also propel people to engage in leisure-time physical activity (physical recreation) programs. Since the same and even more consistent benefits of physical culture could be obtained from participation compared to competition, it is suggested to relevant decision-makers to also consider the role of physical recreation and indigenous sports for the promotion of health and identity construction.

Keywords: physical culture; Iran; physical recreation; elite sport; identity; health

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The photo of football star Mesut Özil together with Turkish President Erdogan sparked a controversy in German media with a political backlash in 2018. Criticism was manifold and linked to the athlete’s representative function and the authoritarian style of Erdogan. However, the reasons for such strong reactions are much less superficial. Deep cultural reasons lay the ground for criticism on Özil. German identity has assumed a patriotic representation of athletes before the founding of the state itself and is deeply integrated in today’s identity. How does this cultural-historical aspect matter today? The early 21st century has been a partial break with this tradition and a shift towards a more inclusive identity. However, since the European refugee crisis the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) demands a revival of traditional German identity. Insecurity in public opinion went beyond the AfD. Other parties have recognized the need to defend German identity and values vis-à-vis authoritarian ones. The general clash of identity, culture and politics heavily influence the backlash on an apparently unpolitical photo by Mesut Özil, who has been used as a political scapegoat.

Keywords: Özil; Erdogan; migrant crisis; integration in Germany; German identity

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