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Gigliola Gori, Sport and Gender Matters in Western Countries: Old Borders and New Challenges

Gigliola Gori, ed. Sport and Gender Matters in Western Countries: Old Borders and New Challenges. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2008.

Sport historians present their evidence of, and arguments about the past in different ways, but this collection of diverse and interesting approaches to the role of gender in sport history is proof of the discipline’s richness and creativity. These welcome shifts in approaches to gender provide a compelling reason to bring together this interesting collection of studies around the history and sociology of women in sport, physical education, dance, games. Together they convey the complexity of gender as a topic of study both thematically and geographically while each chapter introduces a perspective which asks different questions, challenges traditional thinking and throws new light upon women’s abilities to play, lead, jump, manage and boldly go where men have told them not to tread. We can see how important it is to continue to focus upon the complexities and contradictions that still face women and girls as a result of their gender and culture. More subtly, the studies in this transnational and diverse collection provide cogent examples of ‘doing gender’ in sport and physical education that offer the potential to decode gender arrangements, debate them, and provide inspiration for critical and tactical engagement with the lived messiness of contemporary life.