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Sociology of Sport and Social Theory

Sociology of Sport and Social Theory

$76.00 USD


Product Format

    Sociology of Sport and Social Theory presents current research perspectives from major sport scholars and leading sociologists regarding issues germane to the sociology of sport. Each chapter of this resource explains historical and contemporary social theories and applies these theories to current topics in sport, such as performance-enhancing drugs, gender, race and identity issues, and the role of religion in sport.

    Sociology of Sport and Social Theory introduces readers to the historical and theoretical underpinnings of social theory, how sport studies have incorporated or diverged from these theories, and how the application of various sociological lenses to sport contexts may converge for future research. Merging the fields of sport studies and sociology, the text provides readers with

    • a fresh view on how prominent social issues may be applied to exciting issues in sport;

    • an opportunity to analyze engaging topics in sport, including Tiger Woods’ dominance, the costs of building stadiums, and NCAA institutional logic; and

    • an accessible presentation of seemingly complex theories from scholars with backgrounds in sociology and sport studies.

    Structured in four parts, this text expands discussion beyond theoretical paradigms typically employed by sport sociologists to consider traditional theories (conflict theory and structural functionalism) and contemporary sociological theories (feminist theory, social capital theory, and relational theory) and their application in sport contexts. Each chapter begins with a theory overview and concludes with suggestions for future research and an annotated list of additional resources.

    In part I of the text, readers will encounter a Weberian analysis of sport, learn how Mills’ theory of the sociological imagination provides a lens through which an athlete-author can analyze athletic events, and read a discussion of Elias’ figurational theory as applied to issues of hooliganism in soccer. Mid-level sociological theories, which provide a moderate convergence of theory and empirical research, are the focus in part II of the text. Chapters in part III address sport-related issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and social class using the contemporary sociological views of feminist theory, social reproduction theory, hegemonic masculinity theory, and structuration theory. Part IV considers issues of power, personality, citizenship, and dominance in sport.

    Sociology of Sport and Social Theory addresses a range of topics at the forefront of both scholarly and public discourse and provides readers the opportunity to consider these issues in light of traditional and contemporary sociological theories. With its broad range of perspectives and analyses, Sociology of Sport and Social Theory illustrates for students, sport scholars, and social scientists how sociological theory can provide a suitable framework for understanding patterns that exist in the world of sport.


    A reference for sport sociologists, general sociologists or theorists with an interest in sport, and scholars in sport studies. Also for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students needing a text that relates sport with sociological theory.

    Part I. Great Theorists

    Chapter 1. Toward a Sport Ethic: Science, Politics, and Weber's Sociology

    Robert Beamish, PhD

    Four Pure Types of Action

    Science and Ethics: The Limits of Goal-Rational Action

    The Politics of Ethical Conduct in Sport


    Suggested Research

    Additional Sources

    Chapter 2. Civilizing Sports: Figurational Sociology and the Sociology of Sport

    Eric Dunning, PhD

    The Figurational Sociology of Sport and Its Critics

    Criticizing and Testing Elias

    The “Civilizing” of Modern Sports

    Soccer Hooliganism as an English and World Problem


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 3. Beyond the Sociological Imagination: Doing Autoethnography to Explore Intersections of Biography and History

    Nancy Spencer, PhD

    Sociological Imagination

    Applying the Sociological Imagination to Research

    Applying Critical Sociological Imagination to My Studies


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Part II. Research Guided by Mid-Level Sociological Theories

    Chapter 4. The Sociology of Science: Sport, Training, and the Use of Performance-Enhancing Substances

    Ian Ritchie, PhD

    Theories in the Sociology of Science

    Sport and the Science of Training: The Conservation of Energy and Beyond

    Understanding the Use of Performance-Enhancing Substances


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 5. Political Economy: Sport and Urban Development

    Kimberly S. Schimmel, PhD

    Urban Political Economy and Urban Regime Theory

    Sport Development and Urban Development in Historical Perspective

    Sport, Urban Regime, and Urban Development in Indianapolis


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 6. Institutional Logics Theory: Examining Big-Time College Sport

    Richard M. Southall, EdD, and Mark S. Nagel, EdD

    Theory of Institutional Logics

    Case Study: 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament Broadcasts


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 7. Playing for Whom? Sport, Religion, and the Double-Movement of Secularization in America

    David Yamane, PhD, Charles E. Mellies, BA, and Teresa Blake, BA

    The Double Movement of Secularization

    Societal-Level Secularization: The Differentiation of Sport from Religion

    Sport as Civil Religion?

    Organizational Innovation Connecting Religion and Sport

    Religion and Spirituality at the Individual Level


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Part III. Theories of Inequality

    Chapter 8. Feminist Theory and the Study of Sport: An Illustration from Title IX

    Angela J. Hattery, PhD

    The First Wave

    Modern Feminist Theory:The Second Wave

    Postmodern Feminism: The Third Wave

    Title IX and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Sport



    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 9. Social and Cultural Capital: Race, School Attachment, and the Role of High School Sports

    Rhonda F. Levine, PhD

    Theoretical Frameworks

    Sport Participation, Academic Achievement and School Attachment

    Role of Coaches


    Suggested Research Additional Resources

    Chapter 10. Race, Class, and Gender Theory: Violence Against Women in the Institution of Sport

    Earl Smith, PhD, and Benny Cooper, BA

    The Issue

    Methods and Data



    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 11. Masculinities and the Sociology of Sport: Issues and Ironies in the 21st Century

    Bryan E. Denham, PhD

    Hegemonic Masculinity

    Constructions of Masculinity in Professional Football

    Constructions of Masculinity in Hardcore Bodybuilding


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 12. Getting Girls in the Game: Negotiations of Structure and Agency in a Girls’ Recreational Sport Program

    Cheryl Cooky, PhD

    Overview of Theories of Structuration


    Girls in the Game

    Cultural Analysis: Discursive Constructions of Sport and the "At-Risk" Girls

    Helping Girls “At-Risk”: The Structure of “Girls in the Game”

    “Doing Whatever We Want”: Reproductive Agency at GIG

    Negotiating Agency and Constraint in Everyday Social Interactions: The Role of Culture in School-Sanctioned Verus Hip-Hop Femininities


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Part IV. Microlevel Theories

    Chapter 13. The Mundanity of Excellence: Tiger Woods and Excellence in Golf

    Earl Smith, PhD

    Tiger the Golfer

    Theory of Dominance in Sport



    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 14. Making it Big: Visible Symbols of Success, Physical Appearance, and Sport Figures

    Bonnie Berry, PhD

    The Null Hypothesis and Methodology

    Observations of Sport, Fitness, and “Health” Magazine Images

    Interpretations: Some Features on Which to Focus

    Symbolic Interaction, Dramaturgy, and Image-Making


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources

    Chapter 15. Sport and Multiple Identities in Postwar Trinidad: The Case of McDonald Bailey

    Roy D. McCree, PhD

    Theoretical Considerations


    Athletic Representation and Multiple Identities: Trinidadian or British


    Suggested Research

    Additional Resources




    About the Editor

    Earl Smith, PhD, is director of American ethnic studies and professor of sociology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has over 20 years of experience as an instructor and researcher of topics in sociology of sport, and he has gained recognition as a Rubin Distinguished Professor. He focuses on theintersection of sociological, psychological, and economic theories and empirical research in sport.

    In 2008, Smith was awarded the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Book Award. He has also served as president of NASSS. In 2008-2009, the department of anthropology and sociology at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, presented Smith with the Arnold A. Sio Distinguished Professor of Community and Diversity Award.

    A former competitive runner, Smith now walks to stay fit and enjoys bird watching and spending time outdoors. He resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.