A playful democrat has passed away

Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game

Henning Eichberg speaking at Play the Game 2015. Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game

Play the Game mourns the passing of a long-time inspirational force and friend, Professor Emeritus Henning Eichberg, 74, University of Southern Denmark.

Since his arrival to Denmark in the early 1980’s, Henning Eichberg left an original and indelible mark on the development of the humanistic and social research in sport and body culture, in Denmark and worldwide.

As an author or contributor to almost 300 books, as well as innumerable scientific and popular articles, published worldwide in 17 languages, the mild-mannered Eichberg was a giant in international sports research. Over the past 30 years there is hardly a debate on body culture, sport in modernity, sports critique, popular play and games, the relation between physical activity, national identity and government – not to mention side-kicks such as labyrinths and leprechauns (“nisser”) -  that has taken place without being inspired by Eichberg’s thinking, directly or indirectly.

As a part of the Gerlev research group (“Idrætsforsk”) in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Eichberg was a co-creator of the wider framework for understanding and discussing sport that came to define the activities of Play the Game from 1997 and on. From the start his own contributions to Play the Game were deeply creative and constructive. Who else would think of setting off a discussion about the role of sports journalists by building on European folklore like “The Town Musicians of Bremen”?

At Play the Game we are grateful for having had such a brilliant mind, generous spirit and warm-hearted person as a long-time playmate and supporter. We mark his passing by inviting you to read one of his longer texts on our website, given in 2002 to the International Sports and Culture Association – a text that shows how Henning Eichberg could convincingly combine his comprehensive anthropological knowledge and his sports critique with a clear democratic perspective for the community of mankind:

Popular Identity in Sport and Culture – about living democracy

His game was played to go on.



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