USC Annenberg Q&A Explores Grano’s Sport and Religion Book

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They had questions, he had answers — and both are available online! Dr. Dan Grano, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, recently shared his thoughts about his new book, The Eternal Present of Sport: Rethinking Sport and Religion, with Religion Dispatches, a series from USC Annenberg.

In the Q&A interview, Grano explains how some scholars see sport as “a form of ‘civil religion’ that creates social cohesion around shared values and rituals.

“I started to think about how crises in elite sport were taking shape around foundational religious ideals,” Grano added. “To cite a couple of examples from my book: fans and sportswriters have long emphasized how elite athletic accomplishments prove we can “transcend” previously-held limits in human potential, yet performance enhancement (doping, prosthetics) visibly shifts the bases of that transcendence from human to extrahuman sources of agency; or, live sport broadcasts remain the most valuable television commodity in the world in large part because of religious ideals surrounding the “witnessing” of history, but contemporary media technologies (especially instant replay) train viewers to question leagues’ and governing bodies’ authority over determining outcomes and writing histories.”

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