The disciplinary confrontation to which this research workshop gave rise made it possible to identify on the methodological level (in the broad sense) a certain number of points of convergence, in particular between anthropologists and historians, but which also benefited from the insights provided by geography and sociology. It was in particular an opportunity to revisit a certain number of commonly accepted ideas concerning the respective methods of approach to anthropology and history. The complexity and richness of the questions raised prevent us from offering an exhaustive report. However, it seems to us that, without making an excessive simplification, it is possible to group them around the opposition between the “how” and the “why”.
At the center of the reflection
In fact, is the observation that the object of history would be to describe the way in which events unfolded, whereas anthropology, and sociology no doubt, would be more interested in understanding of why events happened this way and not otherwise. Gavin Kitching’s contribution clearly poses the problem. In his analysis of the different ways in which “football” was played in the North East of England in the 1870s and 1880s, he gives a meticulous description of the modalities of the game at a pivotal time in the differentiation between two sports.
Soccer and rugby, and uses numerous match reports in newspaper articles to do so.
The methodology here is classically historical. However, by focusing on a set of actions and behaviors of particular individuals, he is led to ask the question of their motivations: why, in this specific spatio-temporal context, the practice of what was to become has soccer shown more dynamism than that of the future rugby, to the point of becoming the dominant sport in this part of England?
This reference to “why” leads directly to an essential distinction, present to varying degrees in all the contributions, between “extrinsic” and “intrinsic” factors. Can we highlight an extrinsic type explanation in the relative success of soccer over rugby in this place and at this time? No economic or political reason seems to be advanced. On the other hand, Gavin Kitching identifies a dimension generally neglected in work on the 무료스포츠중계– that of the “pleasure” that the players (and the spectators, because at that time they were still often interchangeable) take from the game. This dimension refers precisely to the “formal properties” of the sport in question that is to say to the specificities of the practice which derive directly from its rules of the game, whether these are tacitly accepted or recorded in explicit codes. One cannot indeed neglect the fact that if a game is particularly appreciated, it is because of what its rules allowed or prohibit. The way in which these rules evolve, under the influence of the practitioners themselves, is obviously historical. But, in daily practice, players experiment very concretely with the device which, offers him to them and causes adherence or rejection.
This question leads to another:
Why do these rules evolve in one direction or another? If there is “intentionality”, where is it located? Certainly not on an individual level, which would summon either a legendary intervention (William Webb Ellis grabbing the ball on the Big Side or Abner Doubleday “inventing” baseball in Cooperstown) or a more historically grounded influence (James Naismith and basketball)? Ball, William G. Morgan and volleyball); but rather as the result of an ideology shared by a group of practitioners. Tony Collins thus shows how the introduction of the penalty kick in rugby union, far from being a simple technical modality, is the expression of a desire by managers to maintain some form of social hierarchy in a sport born within the Victorian middle class; it is a question of elaborating methods of sanction in the event of transgression of a code of conduct capable of repelling the working classes, and which goes hand in hand with the development of strict rules of amateurism. It doesn’t matter if the distribution of rugby has to be affected: the main thing is to stay “together”.