April 5 – Sport and Social Change
Final is cumulative
We need to know major issues and major points and discussion in class
About 75% of exam on newer material
Look at midterms, and review it. Some concepts from the midterm may be used on
If an article wasn’t touched upon at all, we should look at that article
What does sport do for us?
Fosters a number of positive aspects:
• Self esteem
• Self assurance
• Not to mention the myriad of health benefits of active living
• These are all individual benefits
• Notice all these are personal factors.
Does sport discourse obscure the development of a social
• Some argue these benefits are not universally experienced
Sport can also reinforce various hegemonies of oppression and
• Sexism • Racism
• Homophobia (if your gay, theres a chance that sport wont
increase your confidence)
• Militaristic masculinity
• And a predilection for war
Marxist Approach to Sport
Marxist analytic terms
• Proletariat – the worker from whom labour is extracted. Proletariats have
relatively little control over working conditions and are in the service of those
who control such conditions.
• Alienation – workers are separated from the process of production, the means
of production, and his or her potential. This severely diminishes the potential
for sport to contribute to personal growth (outside the narrowly defined
benefits listed above)
• Capitalistic mode of production – athletes are in the service of capitalism,
driven by market forces (trade, games, sponsorships, marketability, etc. All
• Profits get generated through the proletariat (which is the athlete)
• Commodity fetishism – the process of transforming social relations between
people (such as who makes what, for whom, and the conditions under which
such production takes place) into economic relations between objects. This
masks the true nature of social relations by reducing them to mere economic
Sport as Political
Sport has a long history of being used for political purposes:
• Used as preparation for war (ex. WW1) including duty, honor, patriotism and
obedience. Sport was used as a vehicle for training adolescents.
• Staging nationalist demonstrations of power • Enculturation: immigrants introduced to the American way of life through
• This is sport for politics at the national and institutional levels
• When individuals attempt to be political through sport, often significant
• People get upset when athletes take a political stand
• “athletes are expected to play and not protest” (156)
A New Model for Sport
• Sport does have the potential to be other than it is
• Durkheim advocated a sociological theory that stressed “self-discipline,
diligence, obedience to (moral) authority and collective responsibility (157).
Certainly the team environment can foster these traits
• But can we reorient sport to include cooperation, cohesiveness, reciprocity,
and respect in a sense broader than just the team itself?
• Instead of a win at all costs attitude, could sport be used to promote justice,
citizenship, and equity?
• Based on those athletes who have been politically active, 4 dimensions of
sport are identified as important
1.) Social consciousness