Assessing the Sociology of Sport: On Age and Ability
On the 50th anniversary of the ISSA and IRSS, a leading scholar on ageing, sport, and physical activity, ISSA President Elizabeth Pike considers the increasing numbers of "Third Age Societies" and the trajectory, challenges, and future directions of sociological research on sport, age, and ability. Noting longstanding interest in sport and ageing dating back to the late 1800s, the trajectory of research in this area has accelerated with both longer life spans and evidence of a more 'heroic' model of the possibilities of aging. A continuing challenge for sociologists of sport is to critique dominant perceptions of ageing that suggest many activities are inappropriate for the ageing body. Future inquiry in the area of sport, age, and ablility needs to expand in coming years in recognition that people over 60 constitute the fastest growing segment of the population in many societies and many received conceptions about the roles and possibilities for physical activity and sport need more careful interrogation in companion with more nuanced understandings of both the populations and processes.