ISSN 1652–7224  :::  Published november 30, 2005
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E-sport –
a movement with
no movement

Kalle Danielsson
Sport Science Institute, Malmö University College

This paper examines the phenomenon of e-sport (short for electronic sport). E-sport can briefly be described as competitive computer gaming. E-sport contains both amateuristic and professional elements which is one of many similarities – displayed in this study – with its analogous namesake, common sport. The global movement of e-sport depends on several technological factors, such as the world wide web, the online-function of computer games and the development and expansion of broadband (for the increasing spread of the phenomenon). 

The central thesis of the study is that e-sport is comparable to common sport, a statement based on the theories of Allen Guttmann. These theories describe sportification – a term that represents the process that ancient corporal and/or physical practices (be they religious or secular) went through to reach their contemporary forms, the phenomenon and movement we know as sport. The characteristics of a sportified practice is that it strives to generate equality (in terms of competitional conditions); is secular; creates specialization within it’s field; is a target for each of the forces of rationalization, bureaucratization and quantification; sets out on the epical quest for records.

The comparison of e-sport to common sport (both the movement’s reflexive and my theoretical) is an interesting arena of philosophical discussion, which raises questions like: what is sport? Which are the qualities of contemporary sport as a phenomenon? Despite the lack of physical and corporal coherence, can one claim that e-sport is just a sport among others, based on a phenomenological match? Is e-sport a mirror of sport as an ideal-type, and in such a case: can e-sport teach us something about sport?

Copyright © Kalle Danielsson 2005.  |  Redaktörer Bo Carlsson & Kjell E. Eriksson  |  Ansvarig utgivare Aage Radmann