Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-5

Date: Latest Version

Aesthetics and Sport

  • Christopher Donald CordnerAffiliated withUniversity of Melbourne Email author 


The meaning of sport for spectators; Sport’s relation to beauty and art; Drama, struggle and grace in sport


People participate in sport, and also watch it. While they overlap, the attractions of playing sport are not the same as those of watching it. The field of aesthetics and sport is concerned with exploring and spelling out the kinds of interest and fulfillment sport can offer spectators. This article surveys the main themes of reflection on those issues in the last fifty years or so. During that time the focus of those reflections has changed. A tendency to separate off an interest in the competitive and ‘agonistic’ dimensions of sport from an interest in its ‘aesthetic’ dimensions of grace and beauty has given way to wider-ranging attention to ‘the whole experience of sport’ and its human meanings.

As well as benefits for participants, sport evidently provides entertainment and recreation to spectators. The field of aesthetics and sport reflects on whether sport ...

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