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Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies

Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies

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Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies

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  1. Sports in Society:Issues and Controversies Chapter 4 Sports and Socialization: Who Plays and What Happens to Them?

  2. Are children influenced more by athletes they see only in the media, or by those who play with them every day? Research shows that people choose role models they know and with whom they interact on a regular basis.

  3. Socialization: Main Definition Socialization • Is an active process of learning and social development • Occurs as we • Interact with others • Become familiar with the social worlds in which we live

  4. Socialization: A Functionalist Approach Based on an internalization model that focuses on • The characteristics of those being socialized • The people who do the socializing • The context in which socialization occurs • The specific outcomes of socialization, i.e., the types of learning that occurs

  5. Figure 4.1 Fathers are significant others in socialization processes. “I know this is starting early, but I can’t let him get too far behind the other kids if he’s ever going to make a team in high school.”

  6. Socialization: A Conflict Approach Based on an internalization model that focuses on • How sports and sport participation divides people in the working class • How people with few resources are denied opportunities to play sports • The lack of rights among athletes • How money and power are used to control sports and exploit others to maintain the status quo

  7. Socialization: Interactionist Models • Utilize qualitative more often than quantitative research methods • Obtain detailed descriptions of sport experiences and cultures • Seek information on how people make decisions about sports in their lives • Connect meanings given to sports and sport experiences with the larger social and cultural context

  8. Becoming Involved andStaying Involved in Sports Functionalist research indicates that sport participation is related to: • The influence of significant others • The availability of opportunities to play and to experience success in sports • People’s abilities & characteristics

  9. Becoming Involved & Staying Involved in Sports Interactionist research indicates that sport participation is related to: • Ongoing processes in people’s lives • Decision making processes in which decisions • Change as social circumstances change • Are not made once and for all time

  10. Significant others are important but continued participation involves processes of social involvement and continuously making a commitment to be an athlete

  11. Stevenson’s Findings (1999) Becoming an elite athlete involves: • The process of introduction and involvement • The process of developing commitment

  12. Donnelly & Young’s Findings (1999) Becoming an athlete in a sport subculture involves: • Acquiring knowledge about the sport • Associating with people in the sport • Learning the norms of the sport • Receiving recognition and acceptance from other athletes

  13. Coakley & White’s Findings (1999) Deciding to play sports depends on: • Ideas about sport’s connection to other interests and goals • Desires to develop & display competence • Social and material support • Memories of past experiences in sports • General cultural images and messages about sports

  14. Functionalist and Conflict Theory: Research on Changing or Ending Sport Participation • People don’t drop out forever, nor do they cut all ties with sports • Dropping out is tied to other changes and transitions in a person’s life • Dropping out is not related only to bad experiences • Dropping out may cause problems among those who • Have identities grounded totally in sports • Lack social & material resources

  15. Coakley’s Findings (1992) Burnout among elite adolescent athletes was most likely when: • High performance sports were organized so that athletes had little control over their lives • Sport involvement was perceived to interfere with accomplishing important developmental tasks

  16. Ending sport participation in high school or college does not mean that participation is over forever. These seventy year olds went to a national tournament

  17. Sometimes people end sport participation due to unfortunate experiences; but most often they alter what and when they plays sports in connection with other changes in their lives.

  18. Koukouris’ Findings (1994) Ending or reducing sport participation was associated with: • The need to find a job and become independent • Realistic assessments of sport skills and potential for future achievements • Efforts to stay physically active and connected with sports

  19. Wheeler’s Findings (1999) When competitive sport careers ended, the main challenges faced by athletes with disabilities were: • Reinvesting time and energy into other spheres of life • Reconnecting with family members and friends • Going back to school and getting on with occupational careers

  20. Summary: Changing or Ending Competitive Sport Participation • Changes in participation are grounded in decision-making processes tied to people’s lives, life courses, and social worlds • Identity issues and developmental issues are important • Problems are most likely when sport participation has constricted a person’s life

  21. Being Involved in Sports:What Happens? In some cultures people believe that playing sports automatically builds positive traits (character) and relationships among all participants

  22. Factors Often Overlooked in Research on Character Building in Sports • Different sports offer different experiences • Selection processes in organized sports favor some characteristics over others • Different people define sport experiences in different ways • Meanings given to sport experiences often change over time • Social relationships mediate sports experiences • Many activities other than sports can provide character-building experiences

  23. Sport Participation Is Most Likely to Produce Positive Effects When (I) • New non-sport identities are formed • Knowledge is gained about the world beyond sports • Experiences go beyond sports • New relationships are formed that go beyond sports (continued)

  24. Sport Participation Is Most Likely to Produce Positive Effects When (II) • Lessons learned in sports are applied to situations outside of sports • Participants are seen by others as total human beings, not just athletes • General competence and responsibility are learned • Meet mentors and advocates

  25. General Summary: • If playing sports constricts or limits a person’s life, expect negative socialization effects • If playing sports expands or diversifies a person’s life, expect positive socialization effects

  26. All sports are not the same when it comes to socialization experiences

  27. Some sports emphasize power and performance, others emphasize pleasure and participation

  28. Pleasure & Participation Sports Emphasis on connections between people Ethic of expression, enjoyment, health Body = source of pleasure Inclusion & accommo- dation of differences Democratic structures Compete with others Power & Performance Sports Use power to push limits in pursuit of victories Excellence proved through winning Body = tool and weapon Competence-based inclusion/exclusion Hierarchical structures Opponents = enemies Power & PerformanceVersusPleasure & Participation

  29. Sport Participation and Health • The healthiest physical activities are rhythmic, noncompetitive exercises in which people control and regulate body movements • Health benefits decline in competitive sports • Health costs of competitive sport are due to • Injuries (cuts, teeth, knees, broken bones, spines) • Violence (when body is used as a weapon) • Risk taking (when athletes exceed limits) • Unhealthy lifestyles (disordered eating, drinking)

  30. Sport Participation and Obesity • Physical activity reduces weight • When people equate activity with competitive sports, activity rates often decline • Sports in which large bodies are valued encourage overeating and other unhealthy weight gain strategies – such as in the NFL where obesity rates are high

  31. Studies of Sport Experiences The voices of sport participants indicate that • People define and give meaning to their sport experiences in connection with theirsocial relationships • Meanings given to sport experiences are grounded incultural definitionsabout gender, race & ethnicity, social class, sexuality, and other characteristics defined as socially important

  32. Fine’s Findings (1987) The moral socialization that occurs in little league baseball • Depends on how the boys “hear” and apply the moral messages from adults • Emphasizes masculinity as involving toughness and dominance

  33. Theberge’s Findings (2000) The locker rooms of women’s ice hockey teams are key places in which • Women bond with each other and form a sense of community • The players use relationships with each other to develop meanings for their sport participation and apply those meanings to their lives

  34. Woog’s Findings (1998) The personal stories of gay male athletes in the U.S. indicate that • Combining a gay identity with an athletic identity is often a challenging process • Individual sports and “cosmopolitan” sports are more gay-friendly than team sports and “macho” sports • Being out in sport is liberating, but it can also be dangerous • Being out is easier when friends, teammates, and organizations provide active support

  35. Studies of the Social Worlds of Sports • Social worldrefers to a way of life and an associated mindset that revolves around a particular sport • Sport experiences and the actions of people in sports can be understood only when placed in the context of the social world in which they occur

  36. Adlers’ Findings (1991) Athletes in high profile sports may experience a form of “role engulfment” that • Deeply affects their identities and how they make decisions about their lives • Separates them from the relationships and experiences they need to have if they are to learn lessons from their sport experiences • Influences how other people define and respond to them

  37. Klein’s Findings (1993) The lives of bodybuilders revolve around issues of gender and sexuality • Men and women learn to project images of power while experiencing doubts about their identities and self-worth • The social world of bodybuilding fosters a desperate need for attention and approval • Ideas about masculinity are so narrow that male bodybuilders develop homophobic attitudes and self-presentations based on caricatured ideas about manliness

  38. Crosset’s Findings (1995) The lives of women athletes in the LPGA were influenced by gender relations in U.S. culture • The women developed an “ethic of prowess” – a mindset highlighting a commitment to physical competence as a basis for evaluating self and others on the tour • This ethic existed to neutralize the negative effects of traditional ideas about femininity • Conformity to the ethic helped the women legitimize their roles as professional athletes

  39. Wacquant’s Findings (1992) The social world of the boxing gym • Was created in connection with the social forces in the black ghetto and its masculine street culture • Sheltered black men from the full destructive impact of social and cultural forces in their lives • Provided a disciplined regime of body regulation that established a positive identity and separated the men from the negative influences of a chaotic environment

  40. Socialization and Ideology Sportsare sites for struggling over how we think and what we do Sports are sites where people create and learn “stories” they can use to make sense of the world Sportsconsist of vocabularies and images that influence ideology

  41. Socialization as a Community and Cultural Process Hegemonyis the process of maintaining leadership and control by gaining the consent of other groups, including those that are being led or controlled. Sportsare important sites for hegemonic processes because they provide pleasurable experiences for masses of people Corporate sponsors use sportsto establish “ideological outposts” in people’s heads; this defuses resistance to corporate power & policies

  42. Nike and other corporations worked hard to sever the “Jordan persona” from African American experiences. The French liked this image on a Paris building because they could identify with Jordan without acknowledging the legacies of African colonialism and racism that were part of their culture.Jordan could be seen with color blind eyes, and this made whites comfortable.

  43. Sport, Socialization, & Ideology • Research shows thatnone of us lives outside the influence of ideology • The stories that emerge in connection with sports and sport experiences generally reproduce dominant forms of ideology, but they also can challenge and even transform dominant ideology

  44. The bodies of athletes with disabilities challenge expectations in the Empire of the Normal. Athletes with disabilities are expected to have stories that explain “why my body is different from your body.” This influences their socialization experiences and their identities as athletes.

  45. What Socialization Research Doesn’t Tell Us • How socialization processes operate in the lives of people from various ethnic groups & social classes • The dynamics of sport participation careers among young children • How people make participation decisions about different types of sports

  46. Figure 4.2 The meanings given to sports vary by person and situation. “I don’t think these guys agree about the meaning of boxing”

  47. The Most Informative Research on What Happens in Sports Deals with • The everyday experiences of people who play sports • The social worlds created around sports • Community and cultural processes that are related to the ideological messages associated with sports in society