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Sport in Society: Issues & Controversies Sports and Children: Are Organized Programs Worth the Effort?

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Presentation on theme: "Sport in Society: Issues & Controversies Sports and Children: Are Organized Programs Worth the Effort?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sport in Society: Issues & Controversies Sports and Children: Are Organized Programs Worth the Effort?

2 Origins of Organized Youth Sports Organized youth sports emerged in the 20 th Century Organized youth sports emerged in the 20 th Century The first programs focused on masculinizing boys The first programs focused on masculinizing boys Organized youth sports grew rapidly in many industrialized countries after World War II Organized youth sports grew rapidly in many industrialized countries after World War II Programs in the U.S. emphasized competition as preparation for future occupational success Programs in the U.S. emphasized competition as preparation for future occupational success Girls interests generally were ignored Girls interests generally were ignored

3 Social Changes Related to the Growth of Organized Youth Sports Increase in working families Increase in working families New definitions of good parent New definitions of good parent Growing belief that informal activities lead to trouble for kids Growing belief that informal activities lead to trouble for kids Growing belief that the world is dangerous for children Growing belief that the world is dangerous for children Increased visibility of high-performance and professional sports in society Increased visibility of high-performance and professional sports in society

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5 Major Trends in Youth Sports Today Organized programs have become increasingly privatized Organized programs have become increasingly privatized Organized programs increasingly emphasize the performance ethic Organized programs increasingly emphasize the performance ethic An increase in elite training facilities An increase in elite training facilities Increased participation in alternative sports Increased participation in alternative sports

6 Youth Sports: Types of Sponsors 1.Public, tax-supported community recreation programs 2.Public non-profit community organizations 3.Private nonprofit sport organizations 4.Private commercial clubs

7 Privatized Youth Sport Programs Growth is associated with the decline in publicly funded programs Growth is associated with the decline in publicly funded programs Most common in middle- and upper- middle income areas Most common in middle- and upper- middle income areas –May reproduce economic and ethnic inequalities in society May not be committed to gender equity May not be committed to gender equity –Private programs are not accountable in the same way as public programs

8 The Performance Ethic Refers to emphasizing measured outcomes as indicators of the quality of sport experiences Refers to emphasizing measured outcomes as indicators of the quality of sport experiences Fun = becoming better Fun = becoming better Emphasized in private programs Emphasized in private programs Related to parental notions of investing in their childrens future Related to parental notions of investing in their childrens future

9 Elite Sport Training Programs Most common in private, commercial programs Most common in private, commercial programs Emphasize the potential for children to gain material rewards through sports Emphasize the potential for children to gain material rewards through sports Children often work long hours and become like laborers, but programs are not governed by child labor laws Children often work long hours and become like laborers, but programs are not governed by child labor laws Raise ethical issues about adult-child relationships Raise ethical issues about adult-child relationships

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11 New Interests in Alternative Sports A response to highly structured, adult- controlled organized programs A response to highly structured, adult- controlled organized programs Revolve around desires to be expressive and spontaneous Revolve around desires to be expressive and spontaneous May have high injury rates and patterns of exclusion related to gender and social class May have high injury rates and patterns of exclusion related to gender and social class Are being appropriated by large corporations for advertising purposes Are being appropriated by large corporations for advertising purposes

12 Different Experiences Formal Sports Emphasize: Formal rules Formal rules Set positions Set positions Systematic guidance by adults Systematic guidance by adults Status and outcomes Status and outcomes Informal Sports Emphasize: Action Action Personal involvement Personal involvement Challenging experiences Challenging experiences Reaffirming friendships Reaffirming friendships

13 Different Outcomes Formal Sports Emphasize: Relationships with authority figures Relationships with authority figures Learning rules and strategies Learning rules and strategies Rule-governed teamwork & achievement Rule-governed teamwork & achievement Informal Sports Emphasize: Interpersonal & decision- making skills Interpersonal & decision- making skills Cooperation Cooperation Improvisation Improvisation Problem solving Problem solving

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15 When Are Children Ready to Play Organized, Competitive Sports? Prior to age 12, children dont have the ability to fully understand competitive team sports Prior to age 12, children dont have the ability to fully understand competitive team sports –They play beehive soccer Children must lean how to cooperate before they can learn how to compete Children must lean how to cooperate before they can learn how to compete Team sports require the use of a third party perspective Team sports require the use of a third party perspective –Role Taking Ability –Game Stage Developmental level

16 What Are the Dynamics of Family Relationships in Youth Sports? Sports have the potential to bring families together Sports have the potential to bring families together Being together does not always mean that close communication occurs Being together does not always mean that close communication occurs Children may feel pressure from parents Children may feel pressure from parents Parent labor in youth sports often reproduces gendered logic ideas Parent labor in youth sports often reproduces gendered logic ideas –work –family

17 How Do Social Factors Influence Youth Sport Experiences? Participation opportunities vary by social class Participation opportunities vary by social class Encouragement often varies by gender and ability/disability Encouragement often varies by gender and ability/disability Self perceptions and the social consequences of participation vary by: Self perceptions and the social consequences of participation vary by: –social class –sex –race/ethnicity –ability/disability –sexuality

18 Recommendations for Changing Informal & Alternative Sports Make play spaces more safe and accessible to as many children as possible Make play spaces more safe and accessible to as many children as possible –Be sensitive to class and sex Provide indirect guidance without being controlling Provide indirect guidance without being controlling Treat sport as a worthwhile site for facing challenges Treat sport as a worthwhile site for facing challenges –developing competence

19 Recommendations for Changing Organized Sports 1.Increase action 2.Increase personal involvement 3.Facilitate close scores and realistic challenges 4.Facilitate friendship formation and maintenance

20 Recommendations for Changing High-performance Programs 1. Establish policies, procedures, and rules to account for: –the rights of children participants –the interests of children participants 2. Create less controlling environments –to promote growth –to promote development –to promote empowerment

21 Prospects for Change Often subverted when priority is given to efficiency and organization Often subverted when priority is given to efficiency and organization –over age-based developmental concerns May be subverted by national organizations concerned with standardizing programs May be subverted by national organizations concerned with standardizing programs May be subverted by adult administrators with vested interests in the status quo May be subverted by adult administrators with vested interests in the status quo

22 Coaching Education Programs Are useful when they provide coaches with information on Are useful when they provide coaches with information on –Dealing with children safely and responsibly –Organizing practices and teaching skills Are problematic when they foster a techno- science approach to controlling children Are problematic when they foster a techno- science approach to controlling children –Creating sports efficiency experts should not be the goal

23 Deviance in Sports: Is It Out of Control?

24 Problems Faced When Studying Deviance in Sports Forms & causes of deviance are diverseForms & causes of deviance are diverse No single theory can explain allNo single theory can explain all Sports behavior may be deviant in other settings (All Star Wrestling)Sports behavior may be deviant in other settings (All Star Wrestling) Sports often involves unquestioned acceptance of normsSports often involves unquestioned acceptance of norms –rarely the rejection of norms Training & performance have become medicalizedTraining & performance have become medicalized

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26 Using Functionalist Theory to Define Deviance 1.Deviance involves a rejecting of accepted goals 2.Or rejecting the means of achieving goals in society 3.Conformity is equated with morality 4.Deviance is caused by faulty socialization By inconsistencies in the social system By inconsistencies in the social system 5.Deviance is controlled by getting tough By enforcing more rules more strictly By enforcing more rules more strictly

27 Using Conflict Theory to Define Deviance 1.Deviance involves behavior that interferes with the interests of those with economic power 2.The behavior of those who lack power is more likely to be labeled as deviant 3.Those who deviate often are victims of exploitation in a system characterized by inequalities 4.The problem of deviance will be minimal when power is equally distributed in society

28 Using Interactionist & Critical Theories to Define Deviance 1.Most deviance in sports is not due to the moral bankruptcy of athletes 2.Much deviance in sports involves over conformity to established norms in sports 3.Sport deviance must be understood in terms of the normative context of sport cultures and the emphasis on the sport ethic

29 Deviant Over- Conform ity Deviant Over- Conform ity Deviant Under- Conform ity Deviant Under- Conform ity Normally Accepted Range of Behavior Normally Accepted Range of Behavior Deviance based on ignoring or rejecting norms Deviance based on ignoring or rejecting norms Deviance based on unquestione d acceptance of norms Deviance based on unquestione d acceptance of norms

30 The Sport Ethic A cluster of norms that represent the accepted criteria for defining what it means to be an athlete. A cluster of norms that represent the accepted criteria for defining what it means to be an athlete.

31 Four Norms of the Sport Ethic 1.An athlete makes sacrifices for the game 2.An athlete strives for distinction 3.An athlete accepts risks and plays through pain 4.An athlete accepts no limits in the pursuit of possibilities

32 Why Do Athletes Engage in Deviant Over- Conformity? Two reasons for over-conformity: 1.Sports are so exhilarating and thrilling that athletes want to play, and they will do almost anything to continue to do so 2.Being selected by coaches and managers is more likely when athletes over conform to the sport ethic

33 Athletes Most Likely to Over- Conform to the Sport Ethic Those who have low self-esteemThose who have low self-esteem Eager to be accepted by their peers Eager to be accepted by their peers Willing to sacrifices what they think others want them to Willing to sacrifices what they think others want them to Those who see achievements in sport as their only way to get aheadThose who see achievements in sport as their only way to get ahead make a name make a name become important in the world become important in the world

34 Deviant Over-Conformity and Group Dynamics Following the Norms of the Sport Ethic Special Bonds Among Athletes Hubris (arrogance)

35 Social Processes in Elite Power & Performance Sports Bond athletes in ways that normalize over conformity to the sport ethicBond athletes in ways that normalize over conformity to the sport ethic Separate athletes from the rest to inspire awe and admiration among community membersSeparate athletes from the rest to inspire awe and admiration among community members Lead athletes to develop HUBRIS (a sense of arrogance, separateness, and superiority)Lead athletes to develop HUBRIS (a sense of arrogance, separateness, and superiority)

36 Hypotheses About Deviance Among Athletes Deviance becomes more likely when 1.Social bonds normalize risk taking 2.Athletes are separated from the rest of the community 3.Athletes develop extreme degrees of hubris 4.When people in the community see athletes as being special

37 Controlling Deviant Over- Conformity in Sports Four ways to control deviant over-conformity: 1.Learn to identify the forms and dynamics of over-conformity among athletes 2.Raise critical questions about the meaning, organization, and purpose of sports 3.Create norms in sports that discourage over- conformity to the sport ethic 4.Help athletes to learn to strike a balance between accepting and questioning rules and norms in their sports

38 Research on Deviance Among Athletes On the Field Deviance Cheating, dirty play, fighting, & violence are less common today than in the pastCheating, dirty play, fighting, & violence are less common today than in the past This historical finding contradicts popular perceptions.This historical finding contradicts popular perceptions. Many people think deviance is more common todayMany people think deviance is more common today More rules than ever before More rules than ever before Expectations for conformity are greater. Expectations for conformity are greater.

39 Research on Deviance Among Athletes Off the Field Deviance Athletes do not have higher delinquency ratesAthletes do not have higher delinquency rates Data on academic cheating is inconclusiveData on academic cheating is inconclusive Athletes have higher rates of alcohol useAthletes have higher rates of alcohol use Felony rates among adult athletes do not seem to be out of controlFelony rates among adult athletes do not seem to be out of control BUT they do constitute a problem (see Ch. 7)BUT they do constitute a problem (see Ch. 7)

40 Is Sport Participation a Cure for Deviant Behavior? Research suggests that organized sport might reduce deviance if: 1.A philosophy of nonviolence 2.Respect for self and others 3.The importance of fitness and control over self 4.Confidence in physical skills 5.A sense of responsibility

41 DONT FORGET Athletes are not the only ones in sports who engage in deviant behavior. Think of other examples involving: Coaches Coaches Parents Parents Spectators Spectators Administrators Administrators Team owners Team owners Agents Agents

42 Using Performance Enhancing Substances in Sports The use of performance enhancing substances occurs regularly in high performance sportsThe use of performance enhancing substances occurs regularly in high performance sports Many cases of usage constitute a form of deviant over conformityMany cases of usage constitute a form of deviant over conformity Such substances will be used as long as athletes believe they will enhance performanceSuch substances will be used as long as athletes believe they will enhance performance

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44 Defining and Banning Performance Enhancing Substances Defining what constitutes a performance enhancing substance is difficultDefining what constitutes a performance enhancing substance is difficult Defining what is natural or artificial is difficultDefining what is natural or artificial is difficult Defining what is fair when it comes to the use of science, medicine, & technology in sports is difficultDefining what is fair when it comes to the use of science, medicine, & technology in sports is difficult Determining what is dangerous to health is difficultDetermining what is dangerous to health is difficult Studying and testing for substances is constrained by ethical and legal factorsStudying and testing for substances is constrained by ethical and legal factors

45 Eight Reasons Why Substance Use So Prevalent Today? 1.The high stakes in sports have fueled research and development of substances 2.Fascination with the use of technology to push human limits 3.The rationalization of the body 4.Heavy emphasis on self-medication 5.Changing sexual relations

46 Why Is Substance Use So Prevalent Today? 6.The organization of power and performance sports (must win to continue to play) 7.Coaches, sponsors, administrators, and fans clearly encourage most forms of deviant over-conformity 8.The social structure of elite sports (control over body and conformity to demands of coaches)

47 Arguments Against Testing Testing will never be able to identify all substances athletes use to enhance performanceTesting will never be able to identify all substances athletes use to enhance performance Athletes and substance manufacturers can stay one step ahead of the testersAthletes and substance manufacturers can stay one step ahead of the testers Mandatory testing, testing without cause, and using blood and tissue violates ideas about rights to privacy in many culturesMandatory testing, testing without cause, and using blood and tissue violates ideas about rights to privacy in many cultures

48 Arguments for Testing To be meaningful, sport performances must involve natural abilitiesTo be meaningful, sport performances must involve natural abilities Drug use destroys the basis for competition by subverting fairnessDrug use destroys the basis for competition by subverting fairness Drug use threatens the health and well- being of athletesDrug use threatens the health and well- being of athletes Drug use is immoral and must be stoppedDrug use is immoral and must be stopped

49 Controlling Substance Use: Where to Start (I) Critically examine the hypocrisy in elite sportsCritically examine the hypocrisy in elite sports Establish rules indicating that risks to health are undesirable and unnecessary in sportsEstablish rules indicating that risks to health are undesirable and unnecessary in sports Establish rules stating that injured athletes must be independently certified as well before they may playEstablish rules stating that injured athletes must be independently certified as well before they may play Educate young athletes to define courage and discipline in ways that promote healthEducate young athletes to define courage and discipline in ways that promote health

50 Controlling Substance Use: Where to Start (II) Establish a code of ethics for sport scientistsEstablish a code of ethics for sport scientists Make drug education part of deviance and health educationMake drug education part of deviance and health education Create norms regulating use of technology Create norms regulating use of technology Critically examine values and norms in sports Critically examine values and norms in sports Redefine meaning of achievement Redefine meaning of achievement Teach athletes to think critically Teach athletes to think critically Provide accurate and current information to parents, coaches, and athletes Provide accurate and current information to parents, coaches, and athletes

51 Violence in Sports: How Does It Affect Our Lives?

52 Definition of Violence The use of excessive force that causes or has the potential to cause harm or destruction The use of excessive force that causes or has the potential to cause harm or destruction Violence is not always illegal or disapproved Violence is not always illegal or disapproved –It may be praised and lauded as necessary When violence involves widespread rejection of norms, it may signal anarchy When violence involves widespread rejection of norms, it may signal anarchy When violence involves extreme over- conformity to norms, it may signal fascism When violence involves extreme over- conformity to norms, it may signal fascism

53 Definition of Aggression Verbal or physical behavior grounded in an intent to dominate, control, or do harm to another person Verbal or physical behavior grounded in an intent to dominate, control, or do harm to another person Aggression is not the same as assertiveness, competitiveness, or trying hard Aggression is not the same as assertiveness, competitiveness, or trying hard Intimidation refers to words, gestures, and actions that threaten violence or aggression Intimidation refers to words, gestures, and actions that threaten violence or aggression

54 Violence in Sports History Figurational research shows that violence was more severe in the past Figurational research shows that violence was more severe in the past –On the field & off the field Rates of sports violence have not automatically increased over time Rates of sports violence have not automatically increased over time Violence in sports remains a crucial social issue today Violence in sports remains a crucial social issue today –Sports violence can serve to reproduce an ideology of male privilege

55 Types of On-the-field Violence 1.Brutal body contact Hits, Tackles, Blocks, or any forceful body contactHits, Tackles, Blocks, or any forceful body contact 2.Borderline violence Brush Back Pitch, Elbow, the Bump in running, Fight in hockey, or any force with the intent to cause bodily harmBrush Back Pitch, Elbow, the Bump in running, Fight in hockey, or any force with the intent to cause bodily harm 3.Quasi-criminal violence Cheap Shot, Late Hits, or any use of force that violates the rulesCheap Shot, Late Hits, or any use of force that violates the rules 4.Criminal violence Physical Assault that usually brings criminal chargesPhysical Assault that usually brings criminal charges

56 Violence As Deviant Over Conformity to the Sport Ethic (I) Coaches may expect players to use violence Coaches may expect players to use violence Violence often attracts media attention Violence often attracts media attention Players may not like violence, even though most accept it as part of the game Players may not like violence, even though most accept it as part of the game Quasi and criminal violence are routinely rejected by athletes and spectators Quasi and criminal violence are routinely rejected by athletes and spectators

57 Violence As Deviant Over- Conformity to the Sport Ethic (II) Violence may be related to insecurities in high performance sports Violence may be related to insecurities in high performance sports Expressions of violence are related to gender, but not limited to men Expressions of violence are related to gender, but not limited to men Physicality creates drama and excitement, strong emotions, and special bonds among all athletes, male and female Physicality creates drama and excitement, strong emotions, and special bonds among all athletes, male and female

58 Commercialization and Violence Some athletes are paid to do violence Some athletes are paid to do violence Commercialization and money expand the visibility of violence in sports, and violent discourse in and about sports Commercialization and money expand the visibility of violence in sports, and violent discourse in and about sports Violence is not caused by TV and money – it existed long before TV coverage and big salaries Violence is not caused by TV and money – it existed long before TV coverage and big salaries

59 Violence and Masculinity Violence is grounded in general cultural norms Violence is grounded in general cultural norms Violence in sports is not limited to men Violence in sports is not limited to men Playing power and performance sports often are ways to prove masculinity Playing power and performance sports often are ways to prove masculinity

60 Violence, Masculinity, Social Class, & Race Among men from low-income backgrounds, violence may be a tool to bring respect Among men from low-income backgrounds, violence may be a tool to bring respect Black men may use violence to exploit white stereotypes Black men may use violence to exploit white stereotypes

61 Violence Is Institutionalized in Some Sports In non-contact sports, violence is usually limited to using violent images in talk In non-contact sports, violence is usually limited to using violent images in talk In contact mens sports, players learn to use violence as a strategy In contact mens sports, players learn to use violence as a strategy –Enforcers & goons are paid to do violence In womens contact sports, violence may be used as a strategy, but not to prove femininity In womens contact sports, violence may be used as a strategy, but not to prove femininity

62 Pain and Injury As the Price of Violence A popular paradox in todays sports: People accept violence while being concerned about injuries caused by violence A popular paradox in todays sports: People accept violence while being concerned about injuries caused by violence Disabling injuries caused by violence in some sports are serious problems Disabling injuries caused by violence in some sports are serious problems Dominant ideas about masculinity are related to high injury rates in mens sports Dominant ideas about masculinity are related to high injury rates in mens sports

63 Controlling On-the-field Violence Brutal body contact is the most difficult form of violence to control Brutal body contact is the most difficult form of violence to control –Most injuries occur on legal hits The most effective strategies might involve: –Suspensions for players –Fines for team owners

64 Off-the-field Violence Carryover data are inconclusive Carryover data are inconclusive Assault and sexual assault rates among male, heterosexual athletes are a serious problem Assault and sexual assault rates among male, heterosexual athletes are a serious problem –These behaviors are a serious problem in society as a whole –Debates about whether rates are higher among athletes distract attention from the problem of violence in culture

65 Hypotheses About Male Athletes Violence Against Women Violence is related to 1.Support from fellow athletes for using physical force as a strategy 2.Perceived cultural support for domination as a basis for status & identity among men 3.Deviant over-conformity to the norms of the sport ethic

66 Violence is related to 4.Support for the belief that women constitute groupies in sport worlds 5.Collective HUBRIS and the notion that outsiders do not deserve respect 6.Institutional support for elite athletes regardless of behavior 7.Institutional failures to hold athletes accountable for deviance Hypotheses About Male Athletes Violence Against Women

67 Learning to Control Violence in Sports Control may be learned if The social world formed around a sport promotes a mindset & norms emphasizing: The social world formed around a sport promotes a mindset & norms emphasizing: Non-violence Non-violence Self-control Self-control Respect for self and others Respect for self and others Physical fitness Physical fitness Patience Patience

68 Violence Is Most Likely When: Sports are organized in ways that Produce HUBRIS Produce HUBRIS Separate athletes from the community Separate athletes from the community Encourage athletes to think that others do not deserve their respect Encourage athletes to think that others do not deserve their respect

69 Violence in Sports & Gender Ideology Doing violence in sports reproduces the belief that men are superior to women Doing violence in sports reproduces the belief that men are superior to women Power & performance sports, when they encourage violence, emphasize difference between men and women Power & performance sports, when they encourage violence, emphasize difference between men and women Sports violence reproduces an ideology of male entitlement Sports violence reproduces an ideology of male entitlement

70 Violence Among Spectators No data on how watching sports may influence violence in everyday relationships No data on how watching sports may influence violence in everyday relationships Spectators at non-contact sports have low rates of violence Spectators at non-contact sports have low rates of violence Spectators at contact sports have rates of violence that constitute a problem in need of analysis and control Spectators at contact sports have rates of violence that constitute a problem in need of analysis and control –Rates today are lower than rates in the past

71 Celebratory Violence This form of violence has not been studied systematically by scholars in the sociology of sport This form of violence has not been studied systematically by scholars in the sociology of sport

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73 General Factors Related to Violence at Sport Events 1.Action in the sport event itself 2.Crowd dynamics & the situation in which spectators watch the event 3.Historical, social economic, & political context in which the event is planned and played

74 Crowd Dynamics & Situational Factors Crowd size Crowd size Composition of crowd Composition of crowd Meaning and importance of event Meaning and importance of event History of relationship between teams History of relationship between teams Crowd control strategies at event Crowd control strategies at event Alcohol consumption by spectators Alcohol consumption by spectators Location of event Location of event Motivations for attending the event Motivations for attending the event Importance of teams as sources of identity for spectators Importance of teams as sources of identity for spectators

75 Controlling Crowd Violence Be aware of the following factors: 1.Perceived violence on the field is positively related to crowd violence 2.Crowd dynamics and conditions 3.Historical, social, & political issues underlying spectator orientations


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