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    A critical overview of the nature and influence of sport in society, exploring how sport intersects with the fields of science, health, education, politics and the economy.

    SPEX 101 Sport, Science and Society examines the cultural, psychological, political and economic impacts of sport on society. In particular, the paper will explore sport as a social practice and institution that impacts on health, educational achievement, diversity, national identity and the economy within an emerging bicultural nation. Such impacts are far reaching, influencing how society views the human body, human behaviour, social and cultural identities, social structures and institutions, and state politics and policy. Key questions explored include: how has science influenced the nature of sport? Does sport build character? How does the media represent female athletes? Why do some people believe some racial/ethnic groups have a genetic advantage in sport? Why do governments invest in elite sport, and how do they measure success? In light of corruption should the Olympics be dismantled?

    About this paper

    Paper title Sport, Science and Society
    Subject Sport, Physical Education and Exercise
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,016.55
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    PHSE 101
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Commerce, Science

    Suitable for undergraduate students.


    Teaching staff

    Professor Steve Jackson

    Paper Structure

    The paper covers the following areas:

    • Conceptualising Sport
    • Agents and Institutions of Sport
    • Sport, Exercise and Health
    • Sport and Social Identity
    • Māori Perspectives on Sport, Exercise and Health
    • Global Sport


    • Internal assessment: 50%
    • Final 2-hour examination: 50%
    Teaching Arrangements

    Three 1-hour lectures per week.


    A reading list will be provided with most readings available via Blackboard or electronically through the Central Library.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of sport as a multidisciplinary field of analysis
    • Demonstrate understanding of the scientific, cultural, social, economic and political significance of sport in New Zealand and globally
    • Demonstrate understanding of how the science, practice and meaning of sport is contested within and across different disciplines and within and across different cultural, social and political groups
    • Apply a range of perspectives and concepts, including te ao Māori, to the critical analysis of sport
    • Describe the key agents and institutions of the sport sector and how they influence both policy and everyday practices for citizens
    • Recognise and explain the ethical dimensions of decision making in contemporary sport practice
    • Demonstrate understanding and ability to apply basic academic skills, including: use of library and website search engines, structuring an essay, citation and referencing


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 19:00-20:50 9-11
    Tuesday 10:00-10:50 12-13, 15-22
    Thursday 10:00-10:50 12-13, 15-16, 18-22
    Friday 10:00-10:50 12, 15-22
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