Future challenges of sports science on the backround of the historical development of sports, society and culture

Por: Erika Dilger.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The tasks of sports science are to investigate present developments in top sport, popular sport and leisure sport, to oppose against wrong developments and to create new concepts. The emphasis lies here on leisure sports in Germany as an example of industrial countries. A deeper understanding of present time and the connected tasks assumes the knowledge of social and cultural aspects of the historical development of sport, the motor of which was the so-called physical fitness movement after World War II. In this way this study wants to show some aspects for further, especially empirical or elaborated, research assignments.

Hermeneutic strategies are used, in this case description which relates to the development of past, present and future perspectives.


Though the development in each society has its special characteristics there are general influences and parallels.
Originating from the USA [1], a world wide physical fitness movement started [2], whose development and success is based on the background of economics, politics, society and culture [3] [4]. An analysis of the literature shows the following results: The differentiation of sport [4] [5] and the rising of different social theories [6] [7] proves that the following subjects play a special role: Differentiation and individualization [3] [7], the changed role of women [3] [5], a modified understanding of health [8] [11], the increase of leisure [3] and the necessity of a sensible behaviour in free time [3] [11], the social changes of values [6], a different understanding of the body [5] [10], and a manifestation of life styles [6] [9] [11].


The above results show the starting-points of research, namely that sports science has to pursue further on to develop new concepts. These are especially the subjects in the following area: leisure time behaviour and social environment, public health and possibilities of an education for children and adults on a health-oriented life style over their life spans, and further integration of women and seniors and handicapped people. Interdisciplinary researches are necessary.


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[3]. Wopp C. (1995). Entwicklungen und Perspektiven des Freizeitsports. Aachen, Meyer & Meyer.
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[7]. Wopp C. (2002). Gesellschaft und Freizeitsport. In Dieckert J. / Wopp C. Handbuch Freizeitsport (pp. 45 - 61). Schorndorf, Hofmann.
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[10].Grupe O. (1998). In Grupe O ./ Mieth D. (Eds.). Lexikon der Ethik im Sport (pp. 326 - 330). Schorndorf, Hofmann.
[11]. Rütten A. (1993). Sportwissenschaft, 23, 345 - 370.






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