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Sociology of Leisure And Sport - Syllabus

Sociology of Leisure and Sport, Books on Sociology of Leisure and Sport

Middle Tennessee State University - Anthropological and sociological perspectives of sport in contemporary society.

Sociology 647: Sociology of Sport - UW Madison

MSc. by Distance Learning: - Sociology of Sport, Sports Management, Physical Education
Sport as a field of study
Sport, leisure, recreation and entertainment constitute one of the great areas of economic and employment growth on a world-wide scale.

This expansion includes participation in active recreational and leisure sports, as well as all forms of mass entertainment spectator sport, whether watched live or relayed nationally and internationally by television and radio. Aligned to this growth is a developing awareness of the political and cultural importance of sport.

The development of the sociology of sport has been linked to this expansion. Sociologists of sport focus on such issues as the development of sport and the sports industry; the development of physical education; the political and cultural significance of sport; the part played by sport in international relationships; the relationship between sport, gender, class and ethnicity; a range of sports-related issues such as health, drugs, and violence, and the management of sports activities both in educational establishments and in the wider society.

MA Sociology of Sport - The Centre for Research into Sport & Society, University of Leicester
The staff of the CRSS are uniquely qualified to design and run an MA in the Sociology of Sport. The Senior Director, Professor Eric Dunning, is one of the pioneers of the Sociology of Sport and has an international reputation in the area. Course leader, Dominic Malcolm, is co-editor of the recently established Journal Soccer and Society .

MA Sociology of Sport - The Centre for Research into Sport & Society - The Field of Study
The course recognises that the field of sport, leisure, recreation and entertainment is now one of the great areas of economic and employment growth on a global scale. This expansion includes participation in active, recreational and leisure sports as well as all forms of mass entertainment, spectator sport, whether watched live or relayed nationally and internationally, by television and radio.


The development of the sociology of sport has been linked to this expansion. It is concerned with issues such as the development of the sports/leisure industry, the development of physical education in schools, the cultural importance of sport, the part played by sport in international conflict, the relationship between sport and gender and sport and race, the commercialisation of sport, sports related violence, drug use, the medicalisation of sport and the growth of sports science.

The Course: The course is a one-year taught Masters course beginning in September, designed for suitably qualified graduates of social and sports sciences, or with other relevant degrees. The course is also available over ten months (September- June) for those seeking a Diploma rather than a Masters Degree.

Course Structure and Content
The degree /diploma will entail lectures and seminars organised in five modules:

Theories of Sport: Following an overview of the philosophical and psychological theories of sport and leisure, the course will involve a systematic exposition, comparison and appraisal of the various sociological theories in the field. Particular attention will be paid to functionalist, Marxist, symbolic interactionalist, figurational and feminist theories.

The Development and Structure of Modern Sport: The module will focus on the development of sport as a modern social phenomenon. This module analyses 'sport' in Greek, Roman and Medieval societies before focusing upon the emergence of modern sport and its development in the 19th Century. The module concludes with a discussion of the diffusion and globalisation of sport in the 20th Century.

Issues in Contemporary Sport: It is argued by many that 'politics should be kept out of sport'. However, sport is a contested political terrain, full of tensions, conflicts, group struggles and emergent social problems. This module will focus on such areas of conflict and sports-related problems as: amateurism v professionalism; the professionalisation, commercialisation and
commodification of sport; the politics of sport; the relationship of sport to class, race and gender; nationalism and sport; sport in capitalist and socialist societies; sport and violence; sport and warfare; sport and drugs; 'alternatives' to competitive sport.

Sociological Research Methods: This unit covers issues in the philosophy of social science as they apply to social research (including ethical issues); research strategies and design; sources and types of data (including documentary research, survey research, ethnography and forms of interviewing); techniques of data analysis; the relationship of theory to research; the role of
values in sociological research.

Dissertation Preparation: In this module, students give a 20 minute presentation to the class, and submit a 4000 word essay outlining the subject matter of their proposed dissertation. This module brings together the 4 previous modules of the course, examining sociological theories and research methods and applying them to the development of sport and contemporary sporting issues.


Middle Tennessee State University - Anthropological and sociological perspectives of sport in contemporary society.
Required Texts:
(1) Sands, Robert R (ed). Anthropology, Sport and Culture. Bergin and Garvey 1999.
(2) Sands, Robert R. Sport Ethnography. Human Kinetics Press 2001.

Supplemental Readings:
There will several required readings the student will be responsible for not included in the two texts. These readings can be accessed from the internet, found in your packet or else available at libraries. Those readings are identified in the course syllabus when assigned.
Course Objectives:
*Acquaint the student with anthropological and sociological perspectives of sport in contemporary society.

*Acquaint the student to the different social/cultural institutions that intersect with sport.

*Acquaint the student with historical and contemporary issues of sport in reference to race, gender, ethnicity, and cultural identity.

*Explore the role of sport in western and non-western cultures.

*Introduce qualitative methodology as a means of studying sport, culture and society, and the use of cross-cultural comparison in such an endeavor.

Assignment #1
Introduction to Sport Studies

Reading Assignment:
Objective: This assignment will introduce the student to the historical place of anthropology and sociology in the study of sport. Implicit in the readings are reasons why the study of sport has been embraced by sociology and other social sciences, but not anthropology.

Key Terms:
Sport: anthropology and sociology
cross-cultural or comparative method

Written Assignment (50 pts.):
1) Define sport from a cultural research perspective. What is anthropology and what is sociology? Explain the differences between disciplines and methods.

2) Explain the adaptation of sport in sociology and contrast that with the lack of enthusiasm by anthropologists for the use of sport as a means to study human behavior.

3) According to the author, why and how can sport be a useful vehicle for studying human behavior?

Assignment #2
Sport Reflects Culture

Objective: Sport, much like other cultural and/or societal institutions, can be said to reflect the surrounding culture or society. In other words, the types of behaviors, norms, values and symbols that seem to characterize a culture as being distinct can also be said to be an integral part of sport, not only in the construction and performance of the sport, but in the behaviors that make up that performance. In order to understand this assertion, the notion of culture must be understood in the ways that anthropologists and other cultural researchers define it. Chapter Three explores how the term “culture” can take on different meanings and how those meanings can relate to the study of sport and culture. Briefly, a culture can be thought of as shared behavior, symbols and identity. Sport then exists as a mirror or reflection of one culture, but as well can be thought of as a distinct grouping, perhaps a culture in and of itself. This initial section explores how sport fits into both of those situations, part of a larger culture and a culture of itself.

Written Assignment (50 pts.):
After reading Chapter Three, explain the different “dimensions” of culture discussed in the Chapter. Then using examples of two or three sports, show how sport can be seen in both these dimensions. For example, American football is said to contain behaviors, symbols and elements of American society, such as violence, the drive for numbers, money, etc. At the same time, sport and its participants (athletes) can also be seen as a group with shared behavior and symbols. Using the above sport or a different one, give examples on how this might be.

Assignment #3
Sport Ethnography

Objective: Introduce student to various methods of inquiry in the study of culture and behavior, with an emphasis on ethnography (participant-observation) as a means of in-depth research into sport, athletes and performance.

Written Assignment (50 pts.):

1) Explain the work of Mailinowski as it shaped ethnography.
2) Ethnography is a time consuming process that demands a personal commitment that goes well beyond usual social science methodology. Included in this section is a brief summary of buskanzi, a Pakistani sport that incorporates polo and battle. Explain the difficulties a sport ethnographer would encounter doing ethnography in this sport which has never before been observed or participated in by the ethnographer. Include in your answer a discussion of Malinowski’s three fieldstones and how they would relate to your study.

Assignment #4

Doing Ethnography

Objective: Ethnography, as any other social science research method, has its proscribed methods, involving fieldwork, acquisition of data, recording of data and write-up. Yet, in ethnography, unlike many other methods, the fieldworker has far more invested in the research and outcome. This gives ethnography a distinctive subjective “flavor” to its methodology. In this exercise, the student will become familiar with the key ingredients and steps of the ethnographic method.

Written assignment (75 pts.):

1) Define or discuss the importance of the above terms or concepts in ethnography and give an example of each as it would relate to doing cultural research in sport.
2) Conduct an afternoon or evening of participant-observation of a sport in a playing field or gym near you. Include in this “fieldwork” some of the recording methods introduced in the reading. Spend part of the fieldwork observing, part participating and then interview some of the players about their playing history and reasons for playing the sport. Write up your observations and interviews in a mini- ethnography, 3-4 pages in length.

Assignment #5

What's it all Mean?

Sands (1), Chapters 3 and 4
Sands (2), Chapters 5 and 6

Objective: Introduce the student to the process of writing ethnography, specifically the various theoretical orientations of ethnography as it relates to the study of sport. With understanding, student will reflect on his/her ethnography just completed and discover after experiencing fieldwork, how the different orientations impact on fieldwork. Important to this section is the active or passive role of the ethnographer in doing fieldwork and how the ethnographic text is presented. In addition, the student will be introduced to ethical concerns of ethnography and the dangers of doing cultural research in the field.

Written Assignment (50 pts.):

1) What kind of role does the ethnographer undertake in each of the three schools of thought? How does this affect the fieldwork and kinds of data accessed? What is meant by reflexivity? And finally, how different is a narrative-driven ethnography from the classic ethnographies done in the past?
2) What is meant by covert and overt ethnography? What is the position of the AAA (American Anthropological Association) and ASA (American Sociological Association) on the openness of the ethnographer to those being studied? Is there ever a time when covert research is necessary? Give examples. Does Wheaton make a strong case for her research strategy?
3) What kinds of precautions should ethnographers take prior to and during fieldwork to minimize the dangers of doing ethnography? Give examples.

Contemporary Issues and Debates in Sport and Culture research

Assignment #6

Race, Genes and Performance

Objective: To critically and analytically explore the current dialogue on race, genes and performance. The student will explore, through current research, the effects of race, genes, environment and culture on athletic performance and will after reading, provide non-emotional and critical perspectives of the positions taken by the authors.

Sociology at UW Madison
PROFESSOR: Jane Piliavin

D. Stanley Eitzen and George H. Sage, Sociology of North American Sport, 6th edition,Boston, MA: WCB/McGraw-Hill, 1997
D. Stanley Eitzen, Ed., Sport in Contemporary Society: An Anthology, 6th edition, New York: Worth Publishers, 2001

What is sports[man]ship?

What is the sociology of sport?

Why study sport? What is the Sociology of sport? Methodological issues.

Sport and societal values.

Gender in sport, I What difference does it make for boys and girls? Why? High school sports

The student-athlete and big-time college sports

Sports and religion

Gender in sports, II:

College sports and beyond

Homosexuality and sport

Winning and losing: The humanisticcritique of sport

Character, attitudes, personality, & sport

Sports and deviant behavior

Sports and aggression; male bonding

The economics of sport: college and beyond

Racial discrimination and stereotyping in sports; "stacking"

Prof. Gary Sandefur, Sociology on Indian mascots and the perpetuation of stereotypes.

Sports and social stratification.

Social mobility. Is sport a way up and out?

gender and race differences in power, position, and earnings E&S: Chapter 12

Sports and politics; focus on the Olympics

Athletic role identity, injury, and retirement from sport.