Sociology of sport

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Sociology of sport, alternately referred to as sports sociology, is a sub-discipline of sociology which focuses on sports as social phenomena. It is an area of study concerned with various socio-cultural structures, patterns, and organizations or groups involved with sport.

There are many perspectives through which sport can be viewed. Therefore, very often some binary divisions are stressed, such as: professional vs. amateur, mass vs. top-level, active vs. passive/spectator, men vs. women, sports vs. play (as an antithesis to organized and institutionalized activity). Following feminist or other reflexive and tradition-breaking paradigms sports are sometimes studied as contested activities, i.e. as activities in the centre of various people/groups interests (connection of sports and gender, mass media, or state-politics).

The emergence of the sociology of sport (though not the name itself) dates from the end of the 19th century, when first social psychological experiments dealing with group effects of competition and pace-making took place. Besides cultural anthropology and its interest in games in the human culture, one of the first efforts to think about sports in a more general way was Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens or Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class.[1] In 1970, sports sociology gained significant attention as an organized, legitimate field of study. The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport was formed in 1978 with the objective of studying the field.[2] Its research outlet, the Sociology of Sport Journal, was formed in 1984.

Today, most sports sociologists identify with at least one of four essential theories that define the relationship between sports and society, namely structural functionalism, conflict theory, critical theory, and symbolic interactionism.

Alternative viewpoints[edit]

Jean-Marie Brohm in "Sport: A Prison of Measured Time"[3] presents a Marxist critique of organized sport as an instrument of indoctrination and subordination.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lueschen, G. 1980. Sociology of Sport: Development, Present State, and Prospects. Annual Review of Sociology, 6: 315 — 347.
  2. ^ "About NASSS". North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 
  3. ^ Jean Marie Brohm (1978). Sport, a prison of measured time: essays. Ink Links Ltd. ISBN 0906133017. 
  4. ^ "Sport: A Prison Of Measured Time: Essays by Jean-Marie Brohm". Goodreads. Retrieved February 4, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bourdieu, Pierre (1993). How can one be a sports fan?. London: Routledge In The Cultural Studies Reader, During, S. (ed.). pp. 339–355. ISBN 0-415-07708-7. OCLC 28818343. 

External links[edit]