Sports Sociology Chapter 18. Kristin Gulliford Allison Whalen. Sports Sociology. Although sports sociology is a sub-discipline of exercise science, it is also a part of the parent discipline of sociology which is the study of human behavior and social interactions within particular contexts.
Although sports sociology is a sub-discipline of exercise science, it is also a part of the parent discipline of sociology which is the study of human behavior and social interactions within particular contexts.
Examines sports as a part of cultural and social life.
Examines relationship between sports and society and tries to answer issues and questions regarding sports and culture.
Pervasive part of culture
Considered to be social constructions within society created by groups of individuals and based on values, interests, needs, and resources.
Cultures create and use sports for their own purposes causing sports to take different forms from culture to culture.
It is only since 1970 that sports sociology has gained significant attention as a serious area of study due to the increasing major role sports play in our lives and the intelluctual traditions in both physical education and sociology.
In 1978, the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport was organized as a professional association, and its scholarly outlet for research, the Sociology of Sport Journal, was established in 1984.
Scholars like Kenyon and Loy defined sports sociology as the “study of social order,” and in later works, Kenyon set the tone for sociology of sports to take a positive perspective, noting that sports sociology is a “value-free social science” in which the researcher is to describe and explain values and attitudes, not shape them.
Sociology of sports poses critical and controversial issues.
Sports are considered a microcosm of society, the same social issues that exist in larger society also exist in sports.
Sociology forces us to explore alternative ways to view the place and organization of sports in our society as well as how issues and problems presented in sports affect individuals because it uses critical and conflicting approaches.
Sociology is concerned with the social and cultural context in which behavior occurs and the connection between that behavior and the setting, and sports sociology specifically focuses on the relationship between sports and society
As with culture, there is also a need to explore subcultures.
Subcultures: subunits of culture that have a cluster of values that are different from the larger culture.
Example of subcultures: gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, politics, physical ability, age, and sexual orientation
Can belong to more than one subculture
To understand the importance of sports, values within American culture must be understood
Values are based on a number of traditions that originate from religion, race, ethnicity, and geographic location.
Foundation of our values are the ideas and concepts about what is good, bad, right, wrong, and what is desired.
Daily routine and/or weekend schedules of many families are planned around the children’s involvement in sports
Youth sports play as a unifying agent, bringing the family closer together
The social institution of a family, depending on the degree of support and encouragement offered, has the potential to be a socializing agent for children’s participation.
Sports have developed a solid foundation within educational systems
Become so important that a schools worth is judged based on the success or failure of its athletic teams
Sports show many positive values and opportunities for students, but we must examine the extent to which the value of sports is placed above the value of education.
Future direction and success of college, professional, and Olympic sports have been paved by the media.
Defines the important sports as well as the importance of sports; interpret concepts such as the athletic body, femininity, and masculinity; and create sports heroes and antiheroes.
Sports have become a form of entertainment for some rather than being an activity characterized by enjoyment, fun, and challenge.
Sports are the product and the athlete is the entertainer
Religion and sport have a strong relationship
Churches sponsor leagues but athletes themselves profess and promote religious beliefs
Organizations for Christian athletes have been established
College and professional athletes often engage in religious practices or rituals before, during, or after games
Help us understand the realities of sports and how they affect different groups and individuals in society.
Critical Theorists examine the sources from which power originates and how power changes and affects individuals when seeking answers to issues in society.
Do not believe that there is one broad explanation for the problems in society
combination of history, social, and material conditions make up social life
Try to explain sports within contexts
Socially constructed vs. reflection on society*
What activities are regarded as sports?
Explains that we as athletes behave according to the manner in which we envision the effect of our behavior on ourselves and others and thus develop a sense of who we are.
Create identity from our sport
Assumes that our behavior involves choices that are based on the way we define our interactions in certain situations, allowing us to explore our identity.
MEDIA & SPORTS
The media is a profit making industry, therefore it uses the commodity of sport and exercise for economic reasons
1 Ton Man, etc.
Also plays an interesting role in reflecting cultural conditions back to society
Men’s games get major air time vs. women sport
It is becoming more and more competitive as we progress into the future
Went from playing in casual settings and loosely based teams to being on travel and adult controlled teams
There is a big emphasis on being skilled at a younger age and being competetive
How far is too far?
Children should play as children, not at an adult level
Is there too much pressure being put on children to play competitively?
The relationship between sports and education creates many conflicts.
Athletic programs in American society are generally linked to educational institutions and are thought to offer valuable positive learning experiences and opportunities for students
Reality: neglect towards education
Place sport as number one priority
Why individuals go to school is questioned, learning vs. scholarship
NCAA Div. 1A level causes problems, issues of recruitment, the awarding of scholarships
Need to obtain the best players
GENDER & SPORT
She’s the Man
Women are neglected to secondary status due to men having political and social dominance
positions such as managers of exercise and fitness clubs, ownership of sports franchises, and political appointments within professional sports organizations are hard for women to attain.
Sexist team names
Advances by women have been significant
Many more women have been able to participate in sports and physical activity than ever before
No discrimination based on sex by any institution receiving federal funds
The number of women and who hold college coaching or athletic administrator positions has been decreasing.