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the sociology of sports

1. You can look at sports from several theoretical perspectives including conflict, functionalist, interactionist, and feminist. Which of these is most useful in looking at the sociology of sports? Why?

2. Why do so many people participate in sports, either as fans, players, or as a business?

3. What do sports answer in terms of human needs?

4. How can sports be explained from a sociological point of view?

5. Find at least 2 outside sources on the sociology of sports, and present a brief discussion of this field of study. Summarize what you found in your research.

Solution Preview

As you know, I cannot answer the question for you. But I can give you the tools needed to write a solid and defensible answer.

Here's a nice intro piece:

I think, first of all, the interactionist and conflict views are the easiest to grasp.
The former stresses the idea of symbolic interpretation. Sports has such a hold on the American mind that it lays a groundwork for what it is to "belong." Teams integrate aspects of social life that otherwise are divided. Major cities like Cleveland or Detroit come together to cheer for the Browns or the Lions. For that moment, they are a unified group.

The conflict approach is essentially Marxist and socialist. Two specific views can come from this - first, that sport itself is a system-financed diversion that permits fans to take out their aggression vicariously. Frustrations of social inequality and job issues can be taken out through sport, both playing and watching. At the same time, sports leagues (NFL, NBA) are monopolies who create and construct the vision of the perfect athlete and the perfect male.

An important book is Contemporary Issues in Sociology of Sport; Andrew Yiannakis, Merrill J. Melnick (on Google books), and
The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction; ...

Solution Summary

In this solution, the sociology of sports is generally exhibited. Various theories are integrated and cited.