In this three-part article I examine the relationship between sport and popular culture through the concept of affect. In particular, I am interested in the historiographical implications of this relationship. In the first part, I argue that social historians of sport typically consider sporting bodies as social constructions to the exclusion of (embodied) affective experiences that I place at the core of popular culture. In the second part, I discuss the recent affective turn in the social sciences and humanities and what this is beginning to mean, and could mean in the future, for historians of sport with a social bent. In the third part, I touch on ethics, an implicit theme in the social history of sport. Popular culture presents alternative contexts for examining ethics and, for the historian, raises additional issues around narrative representation. Throughout the article I draw on examples from surfing—a popular pastime, an established sport with professional world tours, and an affective experience.

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