An Interdisciplinary Study of Sport as a Symbolic Hunt a Theory of the Origin and Nature of Sport Based on Paleolithic Hunting

Author: Carroll, Douglas
The interdisciplinary approach uses historical analysis supplemented with anthropological and education research in developing the theory of sport based on Paleolithic hunting. This theory explains the origin of proto-sport based upon recreational hunting, practicing component hunting skills and training the young for subsistence hunting. Primary sources include ancient sculptures, coins and sport equipment, government documents, and portions of televised sportscasts. Figures include graphs that depict the types of hunting, the evolution of sportive contests and the historical development of major sports. With many color illustrations.


“In light of my interest in women’s sports, I was particularly pleased to see the attention Dr. Carroll pays to the historical and cultural elements of women’s participation in sport throughout history. This is most evident in the section about North American Indian women in Chapter Six, where he has identified several categories of women’s sports that no one else has written about. . . . The photographs are breathtaking, and give the reader a feeling of excitement and ‘being there’. . . . Sport as Symbolic Hunt is an important work. Not only does Dr. Carroll prove his hypothesis, he proves it thoughtfully, completely, and with attention to the interdisciplinary nature of his subject.” – Donna M. Schaeffer

”. . . provides an extremely interesting, varied, and comprehensive review of the literature in regard to the various theories which form the substance of the text; additionally, Dr. Carroll has provided and in some cases discussed numerous ancillary references of interest. . . the interdisciplinary approach is one of the sterling features, including, as it does, historical, esthetic, anthropological, and educational overviews along with the highly important but not easily categorized ‘mystical’ or shamanistic considerations.” – Peter G. Arnovick

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Search for the Origin of Sport
2. Theories of the Nature and Origin of Sport (Religious & Cult Theories; Marxist Theories; Sansone’s Theory; Guttmann’s Theory)
3. Symbolic Hunt Theory
4. Categorization of Sports as Types of Contests Symbolizing Subsistent Hunts
5. Prehistorical and Historical Development of Sport
Middle Ages
Colonialism & Enlightenment
Industrial Revolution
Modern Era)
6. Ancient Mesoamerican and Traditional North American Indian Sports
7. Summary and Conclusion
Author Index
Subject Index