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Sports Studies Research Talks: The Glocalization of Traditional Games – How UNESCO Influences the Adoption of National Sports

August 21 @ 9:15 am - 10:15 am

Presented by Professor Thomas Fabian.

Abstract: Since the Industrial Revolution, the modernization of sport has gone hand in hand with its globalization. The sports that received media attention and institutional backing caught on with general populations around the world and thus we have the global games of soccer, basketball, rugby, tennis, and volleyball today. But what about the games we played before? Traditional games like pétanque, or Aghan buzkashi, or oil wrestling in Turkey? This research uncovers how global trends have affected the marginalization and subsequent revival of traditional games around the world. At the forefront of this movement is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which, in 2003, adopted a Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). These immaterial elements of culture, including traditional games, are promoted as historical icons in need of preservation. In recent times, state agencies have adopted such ICH as national symbols, including traditional games as national sports. The focus of this presentation will be how global sporting policies affect national sporting policies and the local populations that adhere to them. Through an investigation of the interaction between global processes and local norms – a term referred to as glocalization – this study highlights the importance of heritage in governmental sport policy planning, the meaning of national sports, and the practical application of preservation in local physical activity contexts.

Thomas FabianAbout the Speaker: Originally from Toronto, Tom Fabian attended McGill University (B.Sc. Kinesiology) where he played varsity volleyball and developed a critical awareness of the sport industry. After working with Maple Leaf Sport & Entertainment, Basketball Ontario, and Les Centaures de Grenoble, he pursued a MA from De Montfort University (Sport History and Culture) and a PhD at the University of Western Ontario (Sociocultural Study of Sports). His current research focuses on globalization, traditional games, and national sport policy. Secondary research interests include university sport, esports, and athlete migration. Tom currently lives in Ste. Adele with his partner, offspring, and canine.


August 21
9:15 am - 10:15 am
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