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An introduction to sociology

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1 An introduction to sociology
Figueroa’s framework An introduction to sociology

2 Chapter overview Sociology and sport page 295
Equity and access page 298 Figueroa’s framework page 299 Now that you’ve finished … answers

3 What is it? “Figueroa’s framework is a useful tool for examining the socio-cultural factors influencing equity and access to sport and physical activity in Australia.” Senior Syllabus 2010 page 12

4 Back to chapter overview Sociology and sport Page 295

5 Sociology Sociology is the scientific study of how human society and culture are developed and organised. Sports sociologists analyse social and cultural influences through a sports perspective.

6 Identify and understand social problems and issues in sport
Figueroa’s framework is a tool to examine issues in sociology of sport: Identify and understand social problems and issues in sport Drugs Violence Racism Commodification of sport Allocation of funding and facilities Marketing of sport Sexploitation Discuss how aspects within society can increase access and opportunities to physical activities.

7 Back to chapter overview Equity and access Page 298

8 Equity and access Equity: whether resources are distributed fairly to all members of society Access: opportunities to participate in sports of their choice

9 What opportunities do you need to succeed in your chosen sport?
The study of equity and access in sport is primarily about reducing and removing the unreasonable and irrelevant barriers to participation: Discrimination Prejudices Stereotyping This may require a shift in current attitudes to determine: Formation of barriers Reinforcing of barriers Personal reflection Have any barriers prevented you from participating in a particular sport or activity? What opportunities do you need to succeed in your chosen sport?

10 Back to chapter overview Figueroa’s framework Page 299

11 Figueroa’s framework Examines equity and access through five levels in society: Cultural Structural Institutional Interpersonal Personal


13 Cultural level Socially shared set of values, beliefs and assumptions
Influenced by historical opinions and events Hegemonic (voice of the dominant group over others) Enshrined racism and sexism Stereotypical views: Tall poppy syndrome

14 Socio-cultural influences on sports participation
Australian sporting identity Regional sporting culture Socialisation (cultural) Stereotypes Hegemonic masculinity (cultural) Ethnicity Religion

15 Structural level The structural level looks at the distribution of resources. This covers the allocation of funding through government and how the corporate sectors influence the opportunities experienced by an individual. Government funding Development programs Government policies Media Marketing of sports Sponsorship

16 Institutional level Examines institutions within society and what rules and regulations they impose which affect access and opportunities for sport and recreational activity. Sporting associations and funding (institutional level) Community groups Schools (a significant institution) Facilities Rules and regulations Traditions Religious groups

17 Interpersonal level The influence of relationships, both positive and negative, that affect whether an individual will develop a lifelong association with sport. Parents Peers Siblings Teachers Coaches Role models Personal reflection Which three people have had the greatest influence on your sports participation?

18 Individual level Personal reasons that affect an individual’s involvement in physical activity. Genetics Values Attitudes Personality Experiences

19 How have Figueroa’s levels affected how you participate in sport?
Personal reflection How have Figueroa’s levels affected how you participate in sport?

20 Now that you have finished ...
Back to chapter overview Now that you have finished ... Answers

21 1a. Sociologists study human society
1a. Sociologists study human society. List features of our society that can have an effect on sports participation. Sport is a microcosm of society. Many aspects that impact on society, can also have an impact on sport. Examples of societal issues that effect sport are: Socio-economic status Distribution of resources (access and opportunities) Religion and cultural influences Stereotyping Media representation Racism Violence Drugs Values and beliefs Peer pressure Gender

22 1b. Of the features you listed above, which might have a negative effect on an individual’s decision to participate in sport? Suggest ways to reduce these barriers. Each factor can have either a positive or negative effect on an individual’s decision to play sport. An example of this can be socio-economic status: Due to family circumstances (family size, cost of living or income), a lack of money to purchase equipment and pay the affiliation fees could be a major factor for an individual. This could be overcome if sports reduced their costs, the individual chose a different sport that meets their financial situation, or equipment was donated to the club. If financial consideration is not a concern, opportunities may be found with private coaching, purchase of better equipment, and access to more competitions.

23 1b. Continued Religious and cultural beliefs Barriers
Possible solutions Cannot play on certain days of religious significance Increase awareness Structure format to cater for this Clothing and modesty New outfits have been made to reflect religious beliefs and allow for greater movement (see swimming costumes) Ignorance of cultural sports Increase community and school opportunities to promote different sports through open days

24 1b. Continued Media representation Values Barriers Possible Solutions
Lack of publicity Gender imbalance in coverage Activities promoted Advocate for your sport by developing articles for local media outlets promoting positive aspects. Values Barriers Possible Solutions Drugs and cheating Reduce societal pressure on winning. Violence Reduce “air time” provided by the various media promoting negative behaviours.

25 2. List the five levels of Figueroa’s framework.
Cultural Structural Institutional Interpersonal Individual Cultural Structural Institutional Interpersonal Individual

26 3. Explain why Figueroa’s framework is a useful tool to analyse sport in society.
One advantage of using Figueroa’s framework is that it provides a structure to analyse sport within society. This structure looks at five different levels. Each level has its own range of issues that allows for a deeper analysis of how sport affects an individual and their decision to participate. Each level influences other levels. This allows for an understanding of the complexity of many sociological issues within sport and explains why some existing practices actually reinforce barriers and inequities. Due to the values, beliefs and experiences of each individual, the impact of each level may be different.

27 4. Read the following statements and:
agree or disagree identify the relevant levels from Figueroa’s framework list the social aspects that make these statements difficult to solve.

28 4a. Problems in sport have steadily increased since more athletes turned professional.
Agree National expectations for winning (cultural level) to maintain and/or develop national pride (e.g., Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games) has lead to increased pressures on athletes to consider performance-enhancing drugs (personal level). Recognition and financial gain for wining national competitions has seen NRL teams try to manipulate their playing roster as in the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal 2010 (structural level). Only a few Australian sports allow athletes to be full-time professionals (cultural). Within these sports, only a small percentage are on significant wages. Opportunities are there for others to make extra money through “match fixing”. This issue has arisen in cricket, horse racing and rugby league. The choice to do this can be linked to both individual level (beliefs) and interpersonal level through pressure from peers. Role models (interpersonal) and the saturation of sports on TV and other media outlets (structural), highlighting negative sportsmanship (swearing, arguing).

29 4a. Continued Disagree Sport is a microcosm of society (cultural). Hence, issues that cause concern within society will also be evident in sport across all levels. Examples of these are: Violence: games were more violent in the 50s but rule changes and better equipment have minimised this. The concern here is the increase in violence amongst spectators (sport can be a cathartic release for both players and spectators). Drugs: increased opportunities and accessibility Racism: greater multicultural population, therefore, more education is required to increase understanding of different customs. Alcohol culture associated with sporting teams. This culture is present in all levels within society, and as such is a societal problem. Equal promotion of male and female sports in the media will not occur while the controlling bodies are male dominated (cultural, structural). Societal values (cultural level) have changed and the cultural belief of “winning at all costs” is also evident in amateur sports. See articles discussing great public schools rugby debate (pages 366–8).

30 Agree: Interpersonal level
4b. Parents are the real role models, not sport stars! Sports stars are just talented athletes and should not be placed on a pedestal for children to emulate. Agree: Interpersonal level The family is the earliest and most significant influence on an individual’s attitude towards sport. Research indicates that about one child in three states that parents are the main influence on their activity choices. Parents who value sport will positively influence their children’s participation. Not all successful sport stars are excellent role models. Some elite athletes, although successful, can become known for inappropriate temper tantrums. Others are exposed by the media (structural level) for acting immorally in their private lives. Australians idolise their sporting heroes (cultural) and will often ignore indiscretions mentioned above (e.g. Shane Warne).

31 4c. The easiest way to reduce obesity and inactivity is to provide more sporting facilities in each community. Is the provision of facilities the dominant factor in increasing participation rates and reducing obesity? Agree Possible factors which would increase chances of success are: Opportunity to use new facilities (institutional) Friends are keen to try and possibly form a team (interpersonal) Organised competition structure provided (institutional and individual) Parents have an interest in this activity (interpersonal) You have played this activity at school and enjoyed this experience (institutional) Cheap fees to use facility (individual) You live within walking distance from the venue (individual) Free coaching clinics (structural) Equipment provided (institutional) Uniforms are excellent (individual)

32 4c. Continued Disagree Possible factors which would decrease chances of success are: Costs for fees and/or equipment (individual) Peers not interested (interpersonal) (More relevant to adolescents) Work commitments (individual) Negative experiences at school (institutional) Facilities are not culturally aligned with community strengths (cultural) Lack of competition or social avenues catered for (structural) Distance from facility (institutional) Opening hours of facility

33 4d. The media should provide equal coverage when representing male and female sport
Agree 50% of population are females and would like to see more of their sports in the media. Consistent sport coverage can benefit the sport and promote positive role models (interpersonal and individual). Media reinforces stereotypes and affects our values. There is an increase in the manner and representation of female sports, but this change is very slow (cultural, structural). Australian women have won a greater percentage of gold medals and world championships than males, yet media reports will focus on the failures of the men’s teams rather than successes from women’s sport (cultural).

34 4d. Continued Disagree Dominant sports in the media are male (cultural). Stereotype of male sport is more aggressive (cultural). Hegemony: men have held the power and authority to influence society and set rules that govern behaviour and promotion of sport (cultural, structural). Commodification of sport: sport is a business, and the sports which have yielded the best business opportunities are male dominated (cultural).

35 4e. Change can only occur when it begins at the cultural level
Agree The cultural level refers to the development of society’s beliefs, attitudes and values. Australians are proud when Australia is identified as a sporting nation. Sport has long been a central feature of Australian culture—so much so that enthusiasm for sport has widely been described as a characteristic of Australians (page 313). Dominant sports are closely linked to our international success, which has led to increases in funding and development of business opportunities for these sports. Despite an increase in tolerance, multiculturalism, and understanding of the benefits of many sports, stereotypical views about certain sports has still seen some sports marginalised because of “cultural views”, and the dominant sports still receive most of the funding and promotion opportunities.

36 5. Discuss how the following social determinants have influenced your opinions, beliefs and values:
family peers school gender media ethnic background

37 5. Discuss how the following social determinants have influenced your opinions, beliefs and values
Answers will vary.

38 Image credits Slide 1, Getty Images/Ian Hitchcock
Slide 5, Newspix/Phil Hillyard Slide 8, Newspix/Phil Hillyard Slide 13, Photolibrary/Walter Bibikow Slide 17, Newspix/Marc Mccormack

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