Sociology of Leisure And Sport - Syllabus
Abstracts, Bibliography, Journals, Books on Sociology of Leisure and Sport
Tennessee State University - Anthropological and sociological perspectives of sport in
647: SOCIOLOGY OF SPORT - UW Madison
MSc. by Distance Learning: - Sociology of Sport, Sports
Management, Physical Education - le.ac.uk/crss/teach/msc.html
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
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. -
(1) Sands, Robert R (ed). Anthropology, Sport and Culture. Bergin and Garvey 1999.
(2) Sands, Robert R. Sport Ethnography. Human Kinetics Press 2001.
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
*Acquaint the student with anthropological and sociological perspectives of sport in
*Acquaint the student to the different social/cultural institutions that intersect with
*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.
Introduction to Sport Studies
Prologue, Introduction and Chapter 1 in Sands (2)
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
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
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.
history of culture
the concept of culture today
realism versus idealism
the culture of athletes
common boundaries and behavior
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.
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.
relationship between fieldworker and cultural members
social and physical parameters of where behavior is observed and participated in, or the
feelings of culture shock that all ethnographers experience, in some form or another
necessity of building a mutually beneficial rapport with cultural members
amount of time invested in fieldwork.
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 Malinowskis three fieldstones and how they would relate to your study.
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.
Key Terms or Concepts:
selection of those to interview
formal structured and open-ended interviews
life or oral histories
the use of historical sources
collecting cultural myths and legends
Recording Methods include: fieldnotes, photography, audiotaping, and videotaping
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
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.
Key terms and/or concepts for writing ethnography:
kinds of ethnographic data: qualitative and quantitative
theoretical positions: interpretivism; postmodernism, positivism
writing culture: "voice"
Key concepts or terms for doing ethical ethnography:
The relationship between ethnographer and cultural member
overt and covert ethnography
ethnographic intent and informed consent
public versus private knowledge
the means by which cultural knowledge is elicited
the use of cultural knowledge
Key terms relating to the dangers of ethnography:
There is risk associated with ethnography
The ethnographer needs to decide what risk is acceptable
Exposure to the risks involved, helps you experience what you are studying
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
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
Race, Genes and Performance
Sands (1), Chapters 4, 5 and 6
Supplemental Readings (Suggested Readings are *, required readings +):
+Anderson, Jesper, Peter Schjerling and Bengt Salrin (2000). Muscle, genes and
performance. Scientific American (September), pps: 49-55.
+Entine, John (2000). Breaking the taboo. Skeptic (8) 1: 29-34.
*Entine, John (2000). Taboo: Why athletes dominate sports and why were afraid
to talk about it. Public Affairs.
+Hoberman, John (2000). Totem and taboo: The myth of race in sports. Skeptic
(8) 1: 35-37.
+OShaughnessy, Glen (unpublished paper). Rise or Demise.
+Sarich, Vincent (2000). The final taboo: Race differences in ability. Skeptic
(8)1: 38- 43.
+Shermer, Michael (2000). Blood, sweat and fears: Why some Black athletes dominate
sport and what it really means. Skeptic (8)1:44-53.
+Taubes, Gary (2000). Deconstructing the taboo. Scientific American (11)3:
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 647: SOCIOLOGY OF SPORT
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
TOPICS OF THE COURSE AND READINGS:
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
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