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Sport in Society: Issues & Controversies. Sports and Children: Are Organized Programs Worth the Effort?. Origins of Organized Youth Sports. Organized youth sports emerged in the 20 th Century The first programs focused on “masculinizing” boys

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sport in society issues controversies
Sport in Society:Issues & Controversies

Sports and Children:

Are Organized Programs Worth the Effort?

origins of organized youth sports
Origins of Organized Youth Sports
  • Organized youth sports emerged in the 20th Century
  • The first programs focused on “masculinizing” boys
  • Organized youth sports grew rapidly in many industrialized countries after World War II
  • Programs in the U.S. emphasized competition as preparation for future occupational success
  • Girls’ interests generally were ignored
social changes related to the growth of organized youth sports
Social Changes Related to the Growth of Organized Youth Sports
  • Increase in working families
  • New definitions of “good parent”
  • Growing belief that informal activities lead to trouble for kids
  • Growing belief that the world is dangerous for children
  • Increased visibility of high-performance and professional sports in society
major trends in youth sports today
Major Trends in Youth Sports Today
  • Organized programs have become increasingly privatized
  • Organized programs increasingly emphasize the “performance ethic”
  • An increase in “elite training” facilities
  • Increased participation in “alternative sports”
youth sports types of sponsors
Youth Sports:Types of Sponsors
  • Public, tax-supported community recreation programs
  • Public non-profit community organizations
  • Private nonprofit sport organizations
  • Private commercial clubs
privatized youth sport programs
PrivatizedYouth Sport Programs
  • Growth is associated with the decline in publicly funded programs
  • Most common in middle- and upper-middle income areas
    • May reproduce economic and ethnic inequalities in society
  • May not be committed to gender equity
    • Private programs are not accountable in the same way as public programs
the performance ethic
The “Performance Ethic”
  • Refers to emphasizing measured outcomes as indicators of the quality of sport experiences
  • Fun = becoming better
  • Emphasized in private programs
  • Related to parental notions of investing in their children’s future
elite sport training programs
Elite Sport Training Programs
  • Most common in private, commercial programs
  • Emphasize the potential for children to gain material rewards through sports
  • Children often “work” long hours and become like “laborers,” but programs are not governed by child labor laws
  • Raise ethical issues about adult-child relationships
new interests in alternative sports
New Interests in Alternative Sports
  • A response to highly structured, adult-controlled organized programs
  • Revolve around desires to be expressive and spontaneous
  • May have high injury rates and patterns of exclusion related to gender and social class
  • Are being appropriated by large corporations for advertising purposes
different experiences
Formal Sports Emphasize:

Formal rules

Set positions

Systematic guidance by adults

Status and outcomes

Informal Sports Emphasize:


Personal involvement

Challenging experiences

Reaffirming friendships

Different Experiences
different outcomes
Formal Sports Emphasize:

Relationships with authority figures

Learning rules and strategies

Rule-governed teamwork & achievement

Informal Sports Emphasize:

Interpersonal & decision-making skills



Problem solving

Different Outcomes
when are children ready to play organized competitive sports
When Are Children Ready to Play Organized, Competitive Sports?
  • Prior to age 12, children don’t have the ability to fully understand competitive team sports
    • They play “beehive soccer”
  • Children must lean how to cooperate before they can learn how to compete
  • Team sports require the use of a “third party perspective”
    • Role Taking Ability
    • Game Stage Developmental level
what are the dynamics of family relationships in youth sports
What Are the Dynamics of Family Relationships in Youth Sports?
  • Sports have the potential to bring families together
  • Being together does not always mean that close communication occurs
  • Children may feel pressure from parents
  • Parent labor in youth sports often reproduces gendered logic ideas
    • work
    • family
how do social factors influence youth sport experiences
How Do Social Factors Influence Youth Sport Experiences?
  • Participation opportunities vary by social class
  • Encouragement often varies by gender and ability/disability
  • Self perceptions and the social consequences of participation vary by:
    • social class
    • sex
    • race/ethnicity
    • ability/disability
    • sexuality
recommendations for changing informal alternative sports
Recommendations for Changing Informal & Alternative Sports
  • Make play spaces more safe and accessible to as many children as possible
    • Be sensitive to class and sex
  • Provide indirect guidance without being controlling
  • Treat sport as a worthwhile site for facing challenges
    • developing competence
recommendations for changing organized sports
Recommendations for Changing Organized Sports
  • Increase action
  • Increase personal involvement
  • Facilitate close scores and realistic challenges
  • Facilitate friendship formation and maintenance
recommendations for changing high performance programs
Recommendations for Changing High-performance Programs
  • Establish policies, procedures, and rules to account for:
    • the rights of children participants
    • the interests of children participants
  • Create less controlling environments
    • to promote growth
    • to promote development
    • to promote empowerment
prospects for change
Prospects for Change
  • Often subverted when priority is given to efficiency and organization
    • over age-based developmental concerns
  • May be subverted by national organizations concerned with standardizing programs
  • May be subverted by adult administrators with vested interests in the status quo
coaching education programs
Coaching Education Programs
  • Are useful when they provide coaches with information on
    • Dealing with children safely and responsibly
    • Organizing practices and teaching skills
  • Are problematic when they foster a “techno-science” approach to controlling children
    • Creating “sports efficiency experts” should not be the goal
problems faced when studying deviance in sports
Problems Faced When Studying Deviance in Sports
  • Forms & causes of deviance are diverse
  • No single theory can explain all
  • Sports behavior may be deviant in other settings (All Star Wrestling)
  • Sports often involves unquestioned acceptance of norms
    • rarely the rejection of norms
  • Training & performance have become medicalized
using functionalist theory to define deviance
Using Functionalist Theory to Define Deviance
  • Deviance involves a rejecting of accepted goals
  • Or rejecting the means of achieving goals in society
  • Conformity is equated with morality
  • Deviance is caused by faulty socialization
    • By inconsistencies in the social system
  • Deviance is controlled by getting tough
    • By enforcing more rules more strictly
using conflict theory to define deviance
Using Conflict Theoryto Define Deviance
  • Deviance involves behavior that interferes with the interests of those with economic power
  • The behavior of those who lack power is more likely to be labeled as deviant
  • Those who deviate often are victims of exploitation in a system characterized by inequalities
  • The problem of deviance will be minimal when power is equally distributed in society
using interactionist critical theories to define deviance
Using Interactionist & Critical Theories to Define Deviance
  • Most deviance in sports is not due to the moral bankruptcy of athletes
  • Much deviance in sports involves over conformity to established norms in sports
  • Sport deviance must be understood in terms of the normative context of sport cultures and the emphasis on “the sport ethic”

Deviant Under- Conformity

Normally Accepted Range of Behavior

Deviant Over- Conformity

Deviance based on unquestioned acceptance of norms

Deviance based on ignoring or rejecting norms

the sport ethic
The Sport Ethic

A cluster of norms that represent the accepted criteria for defining what it means to be an athlete.

four norms of the sport ethic
Four Norms of the Sport Ethic
  • An athlete makes sacrifices for “the game”
  • An athlete strives for distinction
  • An athlete accepts risks and plays through pain
  • An athlete accepts no limits in the pursuit of possibilities
why do athletes engage in deviant over conformity
Why Do Athletes Engage in Deviant Over- Conformity?

Two reasons for over-conformity:

  • Sports are so exhilarating and thrilling that athletes want to play, and they will do almost anything to continue to do so
  • Being selected by coaches and managers is more likely when athletes over conform to the sport ethic
athletes most likely to over conform to the sport ethic
Athletes Most Likely to Over- Conform to the Sport Ethic
  • Those who have low self-esteem
    • Eager to be accepted by their peers
    • Willing to sacrifice what they think others want them to
  • Those who see achievements in sport as their only way to get ahead
    • make a name
    • become important in the world
deviant over conformity and group dynamics
Deviant Over-Conformity and Group Dynamics

Following the Norms of the Sport Ethic

Special Bonds Among Athletes

Hubris (arrogance)

social processes in elite power performance sports
Social Processes in Elite Power & Performance Sports
  • Bond athletes in ways that normalize over conformity to the sport ethic
  • Separate athletes from the rest to inspire awe and admiration among community members
  • Lead athletes to develop HUBRIS (a sense of arrogance, separateness, and superiority)
hypotheses about deviance among athletes
Hypotheses About Deviance Among Athletes

Deviance becomes more likely when

  • Social bonds normalize risk taking
  • Athletes are separated from the rest of the community
  • Athletes develop extreme degrees of hubris
  • When people in the community see athletes as being special
controlling deviant over conformity in sports
Controlling Deviant Over-Conformity in Sports

Four ways to control deviant over-conformity:

  • Learn to identify the forms and dynamics of over-conformity among athletes
  • Raise critical questions about the meaning, organization, and purpose of sports
  • Create norms in sports that discourage over- conformity to the sport ethic
  • Help athletes to learn to strike a balance between accepting and questioning rules and norms in their sports
research on deviance among athletes
Research on Deviance Among Athletes

On the Field Deviance

  • Cheating, dirty play, fighting, & violence are less common today than in the past
  • This historical finding contradicts popular perceptions.
  • Many people think deviance is more common today
    • More rules than ever before
    • Expectations for conformity are greater.
research on deviance among athletes39
Research on Deviance Among Athletes

Off the Field Deviance

  • Athletes do not have higher delinquency rates
  • Data on academic cheating is inconclusive
  • Athletes have higher rates of alcohol use
  • Felony rates among adult athletes do not seem to be out of control
  • BUT they do constitute a problem
is sport participation a cure for deviant behavior
Is Sport Participation a Cure for Deviant Behavior?

Research suggests that organized sport might

reduce deviance if:

  • A philosophy of nonviolence
  • Respect for self and others
  • The importance of fitness and control over self
  • Confidence in physical skills
  • A sense of responsibility
don t forget

Athletes are not the only ones in sports who engage in deviant behavior. Think of other examples involving:

  • Coaches
  • Parents
  • Spectators
  • Administrators
  • Team owners
  • Agents
using performance enhancing substances in sports
Using Performance Enhancing Substances in Sports
  • The use of performance enhancing substances occurs regularly in high performance sports
  • Many cases of usage constitute a form of deviant over conformity
  • Such substances will be used as long as athletes believe they will enhance performance
defining and banning performance enhancing substances
Defining andBanningPerformanceEnhancing Substances
  • Defining what constitutes a “performance enhancing substance” is difficult
  • Defining what is natural or artificial is difficult
  • Defining what is fair when it comes to the use of science, medicine, & technology in sports is difficult
  • Determining what is dangerous to health is difficult
  • Studying and testing for substances is constrained by ethical and legal factors
eight reasons why substance use so prevalent today
Eight Reasons Why Substance Use So Prevalent Today?
  • The high stakes in sports have fueled research and development of substances
  • Fascination with the use of technology to push human limits
  • The rationalization of the body
  • Heavy emphasis on self-medication
  • Changing sexual relations
why is substance use so prevalent today
Why Is Substance Use So Prevalent Today?
  • The organization of power and performance sports (must win to continue to play)
  • Coaches, sponsors, administrators, and fans clearly encourage most forms of deviant over-conformity
  • The social structure of elite sports (control over body and conformity to demands of coaches)
arguments against testing
Arguments Against Testing
  • Testing will never be able to identify all substances athletes use to enhance performance
  • Athletes and substance manufacturers can stay one step ahead of the testers
  • Mandatory testing, testing without cause, and using blood and tissue violates ideas about rights to privacy in many cultures
arguments for testing
Arguments for Testing
  • To be meaningful, sport performances must involve natural abilities
  • Drug use destroys the basis for competition by subverting fairness
  • Drug use threatens the health and well-being of athletes
  • Drug use is immoral and must be stopped
controlling substance use where to start i
Controlling Substance Use: Where to Start (I)
  • Critically examine the hypocrisy in elite sports
  • Establish rules indicating that risks to health are undesirable and unnecessary in sports
  • Establish rules stating that injured athletes must be independently certified as “well” before they may play
  • Educate young athletes to define courage and discipline in ways that promote health
controlling substance use where to start ii
Controlling Substance Use: Where to Start (II)
  • Establish a code of ethics for sport scientists
  • Make drug education part of deviance and health education
  • Create norms regulating use of technology
  • Critically examine values and norms in sports
  • Redefine meaning of achievement
  • Teach athletes to think critically
  • Provide accurate and current information to parents, coaches, and athletes
violence in sports how does it affect our lives
Violence in Sports:

How Does It Affect Our Lives?

definition of violence
Definition of Violence

The use of excessive force that causes or has the potential to cause harm or destruction

  • Violence is not always illegal or disapproved
    • It may be praised and lauded as necessary
  • When violence involves widespread rejection of norms, it may signal anarchy
  • When violence involves extreme over-conformity to norms, it may signal fascism
definition of aggression
Definition of Aggression

Verbal or physical behavior grounded in an intent to dominate, control, or do harm to another person

  • Aggression is not the same as assertiveness, competitiveness, or trying hard
  • Intimidation refers to words, gestures, and actions that threaten violence or aggression
violence in sports history
Violence in Sports History
  • Figurational research shows that violence was more severe in the past
    • On the field & off the field
  • Rates of sports violence have not automatically increased over time
  • Violence in sports remains a crucial social issue today
    • Sports violence can serve to reproduce an ideology of male privilege
types of on the field violence
Types of On-the-field Violence
  • Brutal body contact
    • Hits, Tackles, Blocks, or any forceful body contact
  • Borderline violence
    • Brush Back Pitch, Elbow, the Bump in running, Fight in hockey, or any force with the intent to cause bodily harm
  • Quasi-criminal violence
    • Cheap Shot, Late Hits, or any use of force that violates the rules
  • Criminal violence
    • Physical Assault that usually brings criminal charges
violence as deviant over conformity to the sport ethic i
Violence As Deviant Over Conformity to the Sport Ethic (I)
  • Coaches may expect players to use violence
  • Violence often attracts media attention
  • Players may not like violence, even though most accept it as part of the game
  • Quasi and criminal violence are routinely rejected by athletes and spectators
violence as deviant over conformity to the sport ethic ii
Violence As Deviant Over- Conformity to the Sport Ethic (II)
  • Violence may be related to insecurities in high performance sports
  • Expressions of violence are related to gender, but not limited to men
  • Physicality creates drama and excitement, strong emotions, and special bonds among all athletes, male and female
commercialization and violence
Commercialization and Violence
  • Some athletes are paid to do violence
  • Commercialization and money expand the visibility of violence in sports, and violent discourse in and about sports
  • Violence is not caused by TV and money – it existed long before TV coverage and big salaries
violence and masculinity
Violence and Masculinity
  • Violence is grounded in general cultural norms
  • Violence in sports is not limited to men
  • Playing power and performance sports often are ways to prove masculinity
violence masculinity social class race
Violence, Masculinity, Social Class, & Race
  • Among men from low-income backgrounds, violence may be a tool to bring respect
  • Black men may use violence to exploit white stereotypes
violence is institutionalized in some sports
ViolenceIs Institutionalized in Some Sports
  • In non-contact sports, violence is usually limited to using violent images in talk
  • In contact men’s sports, players learn to use violence as a strategy
    • Enforcers & goons are paid to do violence
  • In women’s contact sports, violence may be used as a strategy, but not to prove femininity
pain and injury as the price of violence
Pain and Injury As the Price of Violence
  • A popular paradox in today’s sports: People accept violence while being concerned about injuries caused by violence
  • Disabling injuries caused by violence in some sports are serious problems
  • Dominant ideas about masculinity are related to high injury rates in men’s sports
controlling on the field violence
Controlling On-the-field Violence
  • Brutal body contact is the most difficult form of violence to control
    • Most injuries occur on “legal hits”

The most effective strategies might involve:

    • Suspensions for players
    • Fines for team owners
off the field violence
  • Carryover data are inconclusive
  • Assault and sexual assault rates among male, heterosexual athletes are a serious problem
    • These behaviors are a serious problem in society as a whole
    • Debates about whether rates are higher among athletes distract attention from the problem of violence in culture
hypotheses about male athletes violence against women
Hypotheses About Male Athletes’ Violence Against Women

Violence is related to

  • Support from fellow athletes for using physical force as a strategy
  • Perceived cultural support for domination as a basis for status & identity among men
  • Deviant over-conformity to the norms of the sport ethic
hypotheses about male athletes violence against women66
Hypotheses About Male Athletes’ Violence Against Women

Violence is related to

  • Support for the belief that women constitute “groupies” in sport worlds
  • Collective HUBRIS and the notion that outsiders do not deserve respect
  • Institutional support for elite athletes regardless of behavior
  • Institutional failures to hold athletes accountable for deviance
learning to control violence in sports
Learning to Control Violence in Sports

Control may be learned if

  • The social world formed around a sport promotes a mindset & norms emphasizing:
      • Non-violence
      • Self-control
      • Respect for self and others
      • Physical fitness
      • Patience
violence is most likely when
Violence Is Most Likely When:

Sports are organized in ways that

  • Produce HUBRIS
  • Separate athletes from the community
  • Encourage athletes to think that others do not deserve their respect
violence in sports gender ideology
Violence in Sports & Gender Ideology
  • Doing violence in sports reproduces the belief that “men are superior to women”
  • Power & performance sports, when they encourage violence, emphasize difference between men and women
  • Sports violence reproduces an ideology of male entitlement
violence among spectators
Violence Among Spectators
  • No data on how watching sports may influence violence in everyday relationships
  • Spectators at non-contact sports have low rates of violence
  • Spectators at contact sports have rates of violence that constitute a problem in need of analysis and control
    • Rates today are lower than rates in the past
celebratory violence
Celebratory Violence

This form of violence has not been studied systematically by scholars in the sociology of sport

general factors related to violence at sport events
General Factors Related to Violence at Sport Events
  • Action in the sport event itself
  • Crowd dynamics & the situation in which spectators watch the event
  • Historical, social economic, & political context in which the event is planned and played
crowd dynamics situational factors
Crowd size

Composition of crowd

Meaning and importance of event

History of relationship between teams

Crowd control strategies at event

Alcohol consumption by spectators

Location of event

Motivations for attending the event

Importance of teams as sources of identity for spectators

Crowd Dynamics & Situational Factors
controlling crowd violence
Controlling Crowd Violence

Be aware of the following factors:

  • Perceived violence on the field is positively related to crowd violence
  • Crowd dynamics and conditions
  • Historical, social, & political issues underlying spectator orientations
gender and sports does equity require ideological changes
Gender and Sports:

Does Equity Require Ideological Changes?

what is sex

What is sex?

The biological characteristics of maleness of femaleness.

three biological characteristics can be used to identify a person s sex
Three biological characteristics can be used to identify a person’s sex.
  • Physical Appearance
  • Genitalia are commonly used at birth, but not without some occasional errors.
    • Hermaphrodite
    • Physical abnormality
the second biological characteristic
The Second Biological Characteristic
  • Hormones
  • Hormones can also be used, but hormone levels vary greatly between members of the same sex.
  • Hormone levels are also influenced by physical activity.
  • Males and females have the same hormones.
      • Estrogen
      • Testosterone
the third biological characteristic
The Third Biological Characteristic
  • Chromosomes
  • Chromosome testing is used to measure the presence of either XX or XY pairs.
  • Chromosome testing is not frequently done, but when the test is done some errors do occur.
  • Olympic FEM-testing has been criticized for many years.
  • Errors are associated with all methods of determining individual sex.
sex category is the assigning of a person or self to either male or female sex
Sex Category –is the assigning of a person (or self) to either male or female sex.

What attributes do people use to identify someone's sex?

  • Hair length?
  • Physique?
  • Skin complexion?
  • Voice?
  • How often are you wrong???
will women ever be able to
Will women ever be able to:
  • Run as fast?
  • Jump as high?
  • Lift as much?
  • The belief that a persons behavior is the product of their biological sex.
participation and equity issues
Participation and Equity Issues

Participation by girls & women has increased dramatically since the early 1980s due to:

  • New opportunities
  • Government equal rights legislation
  • Global women’s rights movement
  • Expanding health & fitness movement
  • Increased media coverage of women’s sports
reasons for caution when predicting future participation 1 4
Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future Participation (1-4)
  • Budget cutbacks and the privatization of sport programs
  • Resistance to government regulations
  • Backlash among those who resent strong women
  • Under representation of women in decision-making positions in sport programs
reasons for caution when predicting future participation 5 7
Reasons For Caution When Predicting Future Participation (5-7)
  • Continued emphasis on “cosmetic fitness”
  • Trivialization of women’s sports
  • Homophobia and the threat of being labeled “lesbian”
gender and fairness issues in sports
Gender and Fairness Issues in Sports
  • Inequities in participation opportunities
    • Often grounded in dominant definitions of femininity in a culture
    • May be related to religious beliefs
  • Establishing legal definitions of equity
  • Support for athletes
  • Jobs for women in coaching and administration
legal definitions title ix in the us
Legal Definitions: Title IX in the US

Title IX requires compliance with one of these three tests:

  • The proportionality test
    • A 5 percentage point deviation is okay
  • The history of progress test
    • Judged by actions & progress over past 3 years
  • The accommodation of interest test
    • Programs & teams meet the interests and abilities of the under represented sex
title ix categories of support for athletes
Access to facilities

Quality of facilities

Availability of scholarships

Program operating expenses

Recruiting budgets

Scheduling of games & practice times

Travel and per diem expenses

Academic tutoring

Number of coaches

Salaries for all staff and administrators

Medical training services and facilities

Publicity for players, teams, and events

Title IX Categories of Support for Athletes:
coaching and administration reasons for under representation
Coaching and Administration: Reasons for Under Representation
  • Women have fewer established connections in elite programs
  • Subjective evaluative criteria used by search committees
  • Support systems & professional development opportunities for women have been scarce
coaching and administration reasons for under representation94
Coaching and Administration: Reasons for Under Representation
  • Many women do not see spaces for them in corporate cultures of sport programs
  • Sport organizations are seldom sensitive to family responsibilities among coaches and administrators
  • Women may anticipate sexual harassment and more demanding standards than those used to judge men
strategies to promote gender equity 1 4
Strategies to Promote Gender Equity (1-4):
  • Confront discrimination and be an advocate for women coaches and administrators
  • Be an advocate of fair and open employment practices
  • Keep data on gender equity
  • Learn and educate others about the history of discrimination in sports and how to identify discrimination
strategies to promote gender equity 5 9
Strategies to Promote Gender Equity (5-9):
  • Inform media of unfair and discriminatory policies
  • Package women’s sports as revenue producers
  • Recruit women athletes into coaching
  • Use women’s hiring networks
  • Create a supportive climate for women in your organization
cheerleaders reproducing definitions of femininity
Cheerleaders: Reproducing Definitions of Femininity?
  • Cheerleading in the late 1800s was a male activity; it changed after World War II
  • Cheerleading today is a diverse phenomenon, but cheerleading sometimes is organized in ways that reproduce traditional gender logic
    • Be attractive, and pure & wholesome
    • Support men as they work
    • Be an emotional leader without receiving material rewards
girls and women as agents of change
Girls and Women As Agents of Change

Sport participation can empower women

  • But this does not occur automatically
  • But personal empowerment is not necessarily associated with an awareness of the need for gender transformation in society as a whole
  • But elite athletes seldom are active agents of change when it comes to gender ideology
why elite athletes seldom challenge traditional gender ideology
Why Elite Athletes Seldom Challenge Traditional Gender Ideology
  • Women athletes often fear being tagged as ungrateful, “man-haters,” or “lesbians”
  • Corporation-driven “celebrity-feminism” focuses on individualism and consumption, not everyday struggles related to gender
  • “Empowerment discourses” in sports are tied to fitness and heterosexual attractiveness
  • Women athletes have little control or political voice in sports or society at large
boys and men as agents of change
Boys and Men As Agents of Change

Gender equity also is a men’s issue:

  • Equity involves creating options for men to play sports not based exclusively on a power and performance model
  • Equity emphasizes relationships based on cooperation rather than conquest and domination
changes in gender ideology prerequisites for gender equity
Changes in Gender Ideology: Prerequisites for Gender Equity

Gender ideology is crucial because:

  • Gender is a fundamental organizing principle of social life
  • Gender logic influences how we
    • Think of self and other
    • How we relate to others
    • How we present ourselves
    • How we think about and plan for our future
gender logic
Gender Logic

Based on a

Two-category Classification System

  • Assumes two mutually exclusive categories: heterosexual male and heterosexual female
  • These categories are perceived in terms of difference, and as “opposites”
  • System leaves no space for those who do not fit into either of the two categories
  • The two categories are not equal when it comes to access to power
sports celebrations of masculinity
Sports: Celebrations of Masculinity
  • Gender is not fixed in nature – therefore, people must work to maintain definitions
  • Sportsare sites for preserving forms of gender logic that privilege men & marginalize women
  • Dominantsportforms highlight and reward virility, power, and toughness
  • Sport images and discourse glorify a heroic manhood based on being a warrior
gender logic in sports girls and women as invaders
Gender Logic in Sports: Girls and Women As Invaders
  • Girls and women in sports often threaten the preservation of traditional gender logic
  • Through history, myths have been used to discourage participation by girls and women
  • Encouragement varies by sport, and whether the sport emphasizes grace or power
  • Being a “tomboy” is okay as long as traditional “femininity cues” are presented
women bodybuilders expanding definitions of femininity
Women Bodybuilders: Expanding Definitions of Femininity?
  • Competitive bodybuilding for women did not exist before the 1970s
  • Women bodybuilders often are perceived as deviant in terms of gender definitions
  • Women bodybuilders challenge traditional definitions of gender, despite commercial images that highlight heterosexual attractiveness
  • Femininity insignias are used to avoid social marginalization
gender based double standards do they exist in sports
Gender-based Double Standards:Do They Exist in Sports?

What would happen if:

  • Mia Hamm beat up a man or a couple of women in a bar fight?
  • A rugby team “mooned” tourists in Washington, DC?
  • A basketball player had four children with four different men?
  • Anna Kournikova was photographed with near naked men ogling and hanging on her?
homophobia in sports
Homophobia in Sports
  • Popular discourse erases the existence of gay men and lesbians in sports
  • Gay men and lesbians challenge the two-category gender classification system
  • Being “out” in sports creates challenges
    • Women risk acceptance
    • Men risk acceptance and physical safety
  • Most people in sports hold a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy concerning homosexuality
strategies for changing ideology and culture
Strategies for Changing Ideology and Culture

There is a need for

  • Alternative definitions of masculinity
    • Critically question violent & destructive behavior
  • Alternative definitions of femininity
    • Becoming “like men” is not the goal
  • Changing the ways we talk about & do sports
    • Lifetime participation, an ethic of care, gender equity, and bringing boys and girls and men and women together to share sport experiences
race and ethnicity are they important in sports
Race and Ethnicity:

Are They Important in Sports?

defining race ethnicity
DefiningRace& Ethnicity
  • Race refers to a category of people regarded as socially distinct
  • Share “genetic” traits believed to be important by those with power and influence in society
  • An ethnic group is a socially distinct population that shares a way of life
  • Committed to the ideas, norms, and things that constitute that way of life
minority group
Minority Group

Refers to a socially identified collection of people who

  • Experience systematic discrimination
  • Suffer social disadvantages because of discrimination
  • Possess a self-consciousness based on their shared experiences
the concept of race
The Concept of Race
  • Racial categories are social creations based on meanings given to selected physical traits
  • Race is not a valid biological concept
    • Verified by data from Human Genome Project
  • Racial classifications ambiguous
    • because they are based on continuous traits with arbitrary lines drawn to create categories
    • Racial classifications vary from culture to culture

Racial Categories:

Drawing Lines in Society

Snow white

Midnight black

Continuous Traits=skin color, height, brain size, nose width, leg length, leg length ratio, # of fast twitch muscle fibers, etc.

Discrete Traits =blood type, sickle cell trait, etc.

Racial category lines can be drawn anywhere and everywhere!We could draw 2 or 2000; the decision is a social one, not a biological one. Some people draw many; others draw few.

race in the united states
Race in the United States
  • A primitive but powerful classification system has been used in the U.S.
  • It is a two-category system based on the rule of hypo-descent or the “one-drop rule”
  • The rule was developed by white men to insure the “purity” of the “white race” and property control by white men
  • Mixed-race people challenge the validity of this socially influential way of defining race
tiger woods disrupting dominant race logic
Tiger Woods:Disrupting Dominant Race Logic


CA = Caucasian

BL = Black

IN = Indian

ASIAN = Asian

using critical theory to ask questions about racial classification systems
Using Critical Theory to Ask Questions About Racial Classification Systems
  • Which classification systems are used?
  • Who uses them?
  • Why are some people so dedicated to using certain classification systems?
  • What are the consequences of usage?
  • Can negative consequences be minimized?
  • Can the systems be challenged?
  • What occurs when systems change?
race ideology in history
Race Ideology in History

Racial classification systems were developed as Caucasian Europeans explored and colonized the globe

  • These systems were used to justify colonization, conversion, and even slavery and genocide
  • According to these systems, white skin was the standard, and dark skin was associated with intellectual inferiority and arrested development
race ideology in sports today
Race Ideology in Sports Today

Race logic encourages people to

  • “See” sport performances in racial terms, i.e., in terms of skin color
  • Use whiteness as the taken-for-granted standard
  • Explain the success or failure of people with dark skin in racial terms
  • Do studies to “discover” racial difference
traditional race logic used in sports
Achievements of White Athletes are due to:




Achievements of Black Athletes are due to:


Natural physical abilities

Traditional Race LogicUsed in Sports
searching for jumping genes in black bodies
Searching For ”Jumping Genes” in Black Bodies

Why is the search misleading?

  • Based on oversimplified ideas about genes and how they work
  • Assumes that jumping is a simple physical activity related to a single gene or interrelated set of genes
  • Begins with skin color and social definitions of race
a sociological hypothesis
A Sociological Hypothesis

Race logic + discrimination + sport opportunities

Beliefs about biological & cultural destiny


Motivation to develop skills


the power of race logic
The Power of Race Logic
  • Black male students often have a difficult time shaking “athlete” labels based on race logic
  • Young people from all racial backgrounds may make choices influenced by race logic
  • In everyday life, race logic is related to the cultural logic of gender and social class
sport participation and african americans
Sport Participation andAfrican Americans

The facts show that

  • Prior to the 1950s, African Americans faced a segregated sport system
  • African Americans participate in a very limited range of sports
  • African American men and women are under represented in most sports
sport participation and native americans
Sport Participation andNative Americans
  • Native Americans comprise dozens of diverse cultural groups
  • Traditional Native American sports combine physical activities with ritual and ceremony
  • Native Americans often fear losing their culture when they play Anglo sports
  • Stereotypes used in sports discourage Native American participation
images of native americans in sports
Images of Native Americans in Sports
  • Using stereotypes ofNative Americansas a basis for team names, logos, and mascots is a form of bigotry
    • regardless of the intentions
  • Are there conditions under which a group or organizations could use the cultural and religious images of others for their own purposes?
  • What would happen if a school named their teams the Olympians and used the Olympic logo (5-Rings) as their logo?
sport participation and latinos hispanics
Sport Participation andLatinos & Hispanics
  • The experiences of Latino athletes have been ignored until recently
  • Stereotypes about physical abilities have influenced perceptions of Latino athletes
  • Latinos now make up 25% of Major League Baseball players
  • Latinos often confront discrimination in school sports
  • Latinos have been overlooked due to faulty generalizations about gender and culture
sport participation and asian americans
Sport Participation andAsian Americans
  • The cultural heritage and histories of Asian Americans are very diverse
  • The sport participation patterns of Asian Americans vary with their immigration histories
  • Little is known about how the images of Asian American athletes are represented in the media and minds of people in the U.S.
the dynamics of racial ethnic relations in sports
The Dynamics of Racial & Ethnic Relations in Sports
  • Race and ethnicity remain significant in sports today
  • Today’s challenges are not the ones faced in the past
  • Racial and ethnic issues DO NOT disappear when desegregation occurs
  • The challenge of dealing with inter-group relations never disappears
    • changes in terms of the issues that must be confronted
eliminating racial ethnic exclusion in sports i
Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Exclusion in Sports (I)

Changes are most likely when

  • People with power and control benefit from progressive changes
  • Individual performances can be measured precisely and objectively
  • Members of an entire team benefit from the achievements of teammates
eliminating racial ethnic exclusion in sports ii
Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Exclusion in Sports (II)

Changes are most likely when

  • Superior performances do not lead to automatic promotions
  • Team success does not depend on off-the-field friendships
the biggest challenge integrating positions of power
The Biggest Challenge: Integrating Positions of Power
  • Power in sports is not readily shared
    • Even when sport participation is racially and ethnically mixed
  • The movement of minorities into coaching and administrative positions has been very slow
  • Social and legal pressures are still needed before power is fully shared
needed changes
Needed Changes:
  • Regular and direct confrontation
    • of racial and ethnic issues by people in positions of power
  • A new vocabulary
    • dealing with new forms of racial and ethnic diversity
  • Training sessions dealing with practical problems and issues
    • Not just feelings
the racially natural athlete
The Racially “Natural Athlete”?
  • There is no evidence showing that skin color is related to physical traits that are essential for athletic excellence across sports
  • or in any particular sport
socially constructing the black male body race ideology in action
Socially Constructing the Black Male Body: Race Ideology in Action

In Euro-American history there has been

  • Strong fears of the physical power and prowess of (oppressed) black men
  • Powerful anxieties about the sexual appetites and capabilities of (angry) black men
  • Deep fascination with the movement of the black body

THEREFORE, the black male body =

valuable entertainment commodity

research summary genetic factors athletic performance
Research Summary(Genetic Factors & Athletic Performance)
  • Are there genetic differences between individuals? YES
  • Are genetic characteristics related to athletic excellence? YES
  • Could one gene account for success across a range of different sports? PROBABLY NOT
  • Might skin color genes & physical performance genes be connected? NO EVIDENCE
research summary continued
Research Summary(Continued)
  • Are physical development & the expression of skills in sports related to cultural definitions of skin color and race? DEFINITELY YES
  • Do cultural ideas about skin color & race influence the interpretation of and meaning given to the movement and achievements of athletes? DEFINITELY YES
social origins of athletic excellence
Social Origins of Athletic Excellence
  • A cultural emphasis on achievement in activities that have special cultural meaning
  • Resources to support widespread participation among young people
  • Opportunities to gain rewards through success
  • Access to those who can teach tactics and strategies
consequences of race ideology in sports
Consequences of Race Ideology in Sports
  • Desegregation of revenue producing sports
  • Continued racial exclusion in “social” sports
  • Position stacking in team sports
  • Racialized interpretations of achievements
  • Management barriers for blacks
  • Skewed distribution of African Americans in U.S. colleges and universities