Sport Medicine, Injured Athletes and Norbert Elias’s Sociology of Knowledge

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper seeks to develop understanding of both clinician-patient encounters within sport and Elias’s sociology of knowledge. Premised on a belief that there is a relatively high degree of consensus between figurational and “non-figurational” research on the social organization of sport medicine, and that such a consensus contrasts with the rather acrimonious relations which have characterized similar perspectival relations in the past, a review of literature is undertaken to highlight aspects of implicit agreement. Using a range of Elias’s concepts, this paper argues that there is broad agreement between researchers that clinician-patient relations are fundamentally structured according to mutually coexisting bodies of knowledge, and that there is cross-theoretical acceptance that such bodies of knowledge are shaped by, and make sense within, the distinct social context in which the respective parties are located. In examining aspects of Elias’s theoretical perspective which have hitherto received relatively little attention in the sociology of sport, this paper invites a revision of readings of this theoretical approach within the subdiscipline.

Malcolm is with Loughborough University, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough, United Kingdom.

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