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Sociology 370

by: Sequoia Brown

Sociology 370 SOCY 370 001

Sequoia Brown
GPA 3.614

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Here are the notes from Monday March 28, 2016.
Sociology of Sport
Derek M Silva
Class Notes
Socy 370, sociology help
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sequoia Brown on Monday March 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCY 370 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Derek M Silva in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 154 views. For similar materials see Sociology of Sport in Sociology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 03/28/16
Sociology Class Notes March 28, 2016 Social Class and Sport Social class: a concept centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped together into a set of hierarchical social categories: - Social stratification: categorization of people into socioeconomic strata o Based upon their occupation, income, wealthy, and social status - Most common hierarchical categories: o Upper class o Middle class o Lower class Social Class and Sport - Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between a person’s social class and their participation in sports - This means that people who are ‘higher’ on the social class hierarchy are more likely to be involved in sport - That being said, research also demonstrates that people of higher social class are also less likely to participate in what are known as ‘prole’ sports Prole sports • Social class in inversely related to involvement in certain “prole” spores, so called because they are usually avoided by the upper class and have therefore become associated with the proletariat or working class (Curry and Jiobu 1984; Eitzen and Sage 1991; Nixon and Frey 1996) • Examples: boxing, wrestling, rugby, bodybuilding, football The “Lower Class” and sport • Almost always, athletes in the “lower-class” suffer from a lack of suitable opportunities to fruitfully participate in sport – Insufficient public facilities – Lack of quality instruction – Poor equipment – Transportation difficulties The “Middle Class” and sport • Many middle class sports require significant amounts of money to participate • While the members of the middle class are typically not member of exclusive (and expensive) private clubs, they usually enjoy better conditions than those in “lower class” – Public facilities – Adequate instruction – Poor to adequate equipment – Means of transportation – Financial resources for facility dues, coaching, and equipment costs • While there is little difference in the kind of sports the middle and lower class play, what distinguishes the lower and middle class is how they choose to play their sports Example: Soccer (rugged field vs turf) Basketball (full court vs man made court) The “Upper Class” and sport • Sports tend to be much more expensive to participate and often times considered very “exclusive” • Many sports work to reinforce class division through exclusivity – Private golf clubs – Private ski clubs – Equestrian clubs - Such sports often require a high degree of both economic and social capital to participate in - More, they often actively seek to exclude those who do not have high degrees of economic and social capital – this is often very institutionalized in the form of rules and regulations (i.e., Augusta National Golf Club) Example: skiing, rowing, golf Social and Cultural Capital and Sport • Social capital – How social networks can provide resources that help in attainment of upward mobility • Cultural capital – General knowledge, experience, style, and self-presentation that one has acquired that enables him or her to succeed in certain social settings Social Capital and Sport • Levine’s (your reading) ethnography of Parlington High School – Argues that sports play as a mediating factor that can lead to a positive school experience, greater school attachment, and greater academic achievement – Sport provides low-income African Americans with the social and cultural capital which they often lack and which is so important for positive school outcomes - Social Capital and voluntary sport organizations: three social mechanisms (Seippel 2006): 1. Information: members acquire more knowledge and develop stronger commitments to social and political issues. 2. Influence: Those active in voluntary sport organizations have more social capital than those outside because they have more influence. 3. Identify and recognition: sport provides communicative structures and builds narratives necessary for supporting feelings of belonging and empowerment. Cultural Capital and Sport - Stempel (2006) uses data from the US National Health Interview Survey adult American’s frequency and intensity of participation in sport to illustrate: 1. Many sports are highly class exclusive 2. Dominant classes use strenuous aerobic sports to draw boundaries 3. Competitiveness within civilized constraints on physical domination appear to be an important secondary principle of distinction between upper and middle/lower classes Findings are consistent with Lamont’s notion of “concerted cultivation” – style of parenting that is marked by attempts to foster their child’s talents by incorporating organized activities in their children’s lives Class and Sport - While economic capital is indeed important and may be a fundamental cause of sport divisions along class lines, recent research suggests that social and cultural capital are just as, if not more, important in terms of class division in sport. - Social and cultural capital have been shown to influence the type of sports we participate in and our roles within those sports. - Sport also significantly contributes to our access to, and ability to acquire, social, cultural, and economic capita. Summary • We tend to believe that the sports we take part in seem almost natural to us (i.e., love of the game), but in reality there are numerous social forces behind our access to and preferences for participation in sport • As research suggests, social class (in particular our economic and social capital) plays a fundamental role in which sports we play, and the degree to which we participate in sport


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