Chapter 12: Sports And Politics

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Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Melanie Muise

Chapter 13: Sports And Politics • Politics: processes and procedures of making decisions that affect collections of people • Gov’ts: formal organizations with the power to make and enforce rules in a particular territory or collection of people • Power: the ability to influence people and achieve goals even in the face of opposition from others • Authority: a form of power that comes with a recognized and legit status or office in gov’t, an organization, or an established set of relationships Reasons for Connections Between Canadian Gov’t and Sports 1. Safeguard the public order 2. Maintain health and fitness 3. Promote the prestige and power of a group, community, or nation 4. Promote a sense of identity, belonging, and unity among citizens 5. Reproduce values consistent with dominant ideologies in society 6. Increase support for political leaders and gov’t 7. Promote economic development 1.)Safeguarding Public Order Gov’t make rules about: • What sports are legal and illegal • How sports should be organized to protect rights and well being • Who has the right to play sports • Where sports may be played • Who can use public facilities and when can they use them 2.)Maintaining Health and Fitness Past gov’t support based on beliefs that • Playing sports improves fitness • Fitness improves health • Good health reduces medical costs Recent govt support may take into account research showing that: • Illness is related to environmental factors more than worker fitness • Competitive sports have few benefits when it comes to productivity • Peoples concerns about sport performance may increase demands for HC 3.)Promoting Prestige and Power Govt support is based on beliefs that success in sports provides recognition and status for the sponsoring govt unit/agency • National teams bring international recognition • Local teams bring publicity to communities 4.)Promoting Identity, Belonging, and Unity • Govts often use sports to promote identity and unity when constituents are diverse or when change is rapid and widespread in society • Sports often are constructed as invented traditions to reaffirm ties to “imagined communities” • Sport-based unity is temporary and superficial • Sports don’t change the realities of divisive everyday differences and inequalities • Canadian identity and unity were displayed at the Vancouver Olympics. But there was also ethnic disunity 5.)Emphasizing Values Consistent With Dominant Ideology • Sports may be used to promote the idea that success is based on discipline, loyalty, determination, and fortitude • Sports in nations with market economies are linked to competition and individualism • Using sports to promote values doesn’t work when govts lack legitimacy 6.)Increasing Support For Political leaders Political leaders use sports to boost their legitimacy in the eyes of citizens • Most citizens “see through” this strategy when leaders lack legitimacy • Leaders like to be photographed with top athletes • Canadian PM’s miss few opportunities to show their sporting interests 7.)Promoting Economic Development • Cities may use public resources to bid on and host major sport events • The stated goal is to bring new revenues into the city as a whole • Special interests often receive the buld of economic benefits from events, even though public sponsorship is justified in terms of the “common economic good” Critical Issues and Questions • Govt involvement in sports often fosters the interests of some
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