This paper defends the amateur ideal of athletics. It suggests that the hypocrisy which surrounds the amateur ideal is not due to a fault in the ideal itself, but is rather a symptom of commercial pressures upon sport. The defense of the amateur ideal does not necessarily involve a return to aristocratic privileges. The amateurist vision of “pure sport’ ’ provides a worthy ideal embodying the true meaning of sport as an end in itself. The paper shows the fate of amateurism in a market society to be one of betrayal of the utopian and emancipatory potential of sport.
Direct all correspondence to John J. Sewart, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA 95053.