Sporting Heritage And National Identity Essay

4192 words - 17 pages

This paper will discuss how Sporting Heritage engenders national and group identities. The topics related too in this paper, are the types of identity represented by sporting Heritage, as sporting heritage has the ability to represent groups and entire nations across the world. Sport is a fundamental part of British and world culture and is an important aspect of modern life. This topic is relevant to recent trends within modern interest as it touches upon numerous essential museum issues, for instance questions related to sport having not always being perceived as real heritage by academics and furthermore the recent inclusion of sport in academic discussion, due to until fairly recently sport was not being considered to be a topic relevant to academic discourse. Although the importance of sport has been recognised by a selection of academics and historians, sport is yet to be entirely valued in the growing field of heritage studies, as a result of until recently sport and heritage have often operated as apparently separate spheres of study. Yet together sport and heritage have the ability to convey a powerful message to the people in modern society; convergence between the spheres of sport and heritage can be seen as on the increase as displayed by the rise in popularity of sports museums such as the national sports museum situated in Manchester, and the increase in collecting of sporting art and memorabilia, as well as the widespread concern over the demise of historic sporting buildings and other sport-related sites across the world. The representation of the identities of many individuals, groups and nations displays sporting heritages prominence on a global scale; therefore it seems apparent that the topic concerned is by nature widespread and far-reaching.

Sport can be considered to be heritage in modern society. This statement has little to do with whether sport is significant as a historical or cultural resource, but rather, it recognizes that anything can be heritage, tangible or non-tangible. This is due to heritage not being a fixed resource as noted by Howard; who argues every product of human cultural activity across the world can be considered to be heritage, regardless of when, where and why it was produced and regardless as to who considers it to be heritage; further support of this is Biek, who states “Strictly, every piece of evidence of early human activity should be categorized as an artefact.” Sport therefore, can be considered heritage simply for the reason that people have attached meaning to it and wish to make it heritage. Ashworth and Smith maintain that there is no such thing as heritage; heritage is not just the artefact itself like a trophy, a stadium, or some tangible item from the past, it can also be much more such as oral traditions and social practices that are non-tangible. Ashworth’s states that, heritage is not “an object or a site but…a process and an outcome: it uses objects and sites as vehicles for the...

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