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by Archaeology Newsroom

Violence and athletic games

Norbert Elias, in an article published in the “Actes en Sciences Sociales” no 6 Paris 1976, deals with violence in athletics, a characteristic that distinguishes modern from the ancient Olympic Games. For the overall appreciation of cultural phenomena in societies of the past, one has to carefully study relevant theoretical, ideological and methodological questions, since any “research on a social phenomenon remains incomplete if not related to other characteristics of the social structure to which it belongs”. The author concludes that violence is conditioned by” inner” factors, innate in a society as well as by “outer” ones, determined by the relationship between societies. Therefore, the notions of defence as combat, the notion of self-defence also the social status of an athlete relate to one another and can explain violence in athletic games, since violence is fundamental to the biological existence of human beings.