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Title: Sport, fiction and sociology: novels as data sources
Authors: Bairner, Alan
Keywords: Sports fiction
Sociological concepts
Sports writers
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Sage / © The Authors.
Citation: BAIRNER, A., 2016. Sport, fiction and sociology: novels as data sources. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 52 (5), pp. 521-535.
Abstract: This paper is primarily concerned with the types of data that are of value to sociologists - in this instance, particularly to sociologists of sport. It is argued here that we can and should add works of fiction to the more commonly accepted data sources. Whilst most academic writers may be cautious about the excessive use of invention even in personal narratives, others are less diffident. The paper examines representations of sport in fiction with specific reference to three novels, their central characters, and the insights provided by their fictional beings into the relationship between sport, individuals and society. The novels selected as evidence are Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association, inc. J. Henry Waugh PROP (UBA), Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter (TS) and Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding (TAF). Based on the identification of emerging themes in the novels, and the application of relevant sociological concepts – anomie, alienation and figurations - it is argued that, although the novels’ authors are not sociologists, they could be and although the stories which they tell are not true, they too could be. It is these ‘facts’ that makes them valuable sources of data.
Description: This is the accepted version of a paper subsequently published in the journal, International Review for the Sociology of Sport. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1012690215617758
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1177/1012690215617758
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19592
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1012690215617758
ISSN: 1012-6902
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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