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Contested Terrain and Terrain That Contests: Donald Trump Golf’s Environmental Politics and a Challenge to Anthropocentrism in Physical Cultural Studies

This article focuses on the case of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland (TIGLS), a golf course in Aberdeenshire that opened in 2012 after a lengthy and contentious application and development phase. Herein, we draw from a larger study of golf and the environment with the aim of assessing both the TIGLS case in itself and its implications for the study of sport/physical culture in general. The TIGLS case on the one hand provides an empirical example of the concept of ‘environmental managerialism’ – which is to say it exemplifies how governments, even with an ostensible commitment to sustainability in place, can still give approval to environmentally impactful development projects. It also provides an empirical example of a new social movement at work. Once the TIGLS development earned government approval, it was met by opposition during the construction phase by a group called ‘Tripping Up Trump’. On the other hand, we use the TIGLS case as a platform for a broader research commentary, one focused especially on the recently emergent Physical Cultural Studies (PCS) literature. Our contention at this time is that PCS as thus far conceived is anthropocentric in its scope; the important and necessary role that non-humans play in physical cultural contexts has largely been overlooked. We call for further consideration of how ‘new materialist’ perspectives can inform research on sport and other dimensions of physical culture.