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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Play, game, and sport are ambiguous terms important to the study of folklore and folklife. Taken separately or together, they are universal acts of structured and unstructured forms most often occurring as recreation, but they have the potential to be understood as labor or duty. In this chapter I discuss situated activities, ranging from the free, unstructured practice of leisure and entertainment to the structured institutionalization of sport with respect to the intersections of participant–spectator relationships, public–private spaces, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age, class, ability, and location. This chapter will begin with a brief presentation of early conceptual frameworks. The rest of the chapter will outline the contents of key concepts and approaches to the study of play, game, and sport and how they address concerns for future research that folklorists share with social scientists and cultural studies specialists.

Keywords: childhood, fan culture, folklore, functionalism, games, performance, play, rites of passage, sport, structuralism

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