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Week 10: Sport, Deviance and Violence Themes of presentation:  Defining deviancy in sports  The sport ethic and its effects  The problems of overconformity.

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Presentation on theme: "Week 10: Sport, Deviance and Violence Themes of presentation:  Defining deviancy in sports  The sport ethic and its effects  The problems of overconformity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Week 10: Sport, Deviance and Violence Themes of presentation:  Defining deviancy in sports  The sport ethic and its effects  The problems of overconformity  Types of deviancy on and off the sports field  Defining violence, aggression and intimidation in sports  Types of sport-related violence- players and fans  Conclusion

2 Defining Deviancy Deviancy: Under-conformity:Over-conformity:

3 Challenges of Studying Deviance in Sports 1.Causes and forms of deviance are diverse 2.Sports have different norms than other social spheres 1.What is normalized in sport, can be seen criminal outside of sports 2.Deviancy depends on the context 3.Over-conformity is more common than under- conformity 4.Medicalization of sports blurs the line between accepted action and deviance 1.The line of deviancy is blurry: a supplement that’s fine in daily life can be contraband for athletes

4 The Sport Ethic The Sport Ethic (in Coakley (2007)): A set of norms that many people in performance sports have accepted as the dominant criteria for defining what it means to be an athlete in power and performance sports. Also, what it takes to successfully claim an identity as an athlete

5 Four Norms of the Sports Ethic 1.An athlete makes sacrifices for “the game.” 1.Some people’s identity is so immersed in being an athlete 2.Rugby player: I wouldn’t die for my team, but I would consider going into an extended coma 2. Athletes strive for distinction. 1.Coach Gaines’ be perfect speech in the beginning of the movie in terms of winning state is confirmation of this aspect. 2.Ben Johnson

6 Four Norms of the Sports Ethic 3. An athlete takes risks and plays through pain 1.“The measure of a football player isn’t how well he performs on Sunday, but how well he performs in pain” –Ricky Williams- 2.No pain no Spain shirts 4. Athletes accept no limits in the pursuit of possibilities. 1.If you work hard and train hard, you will get success. 2.Anything can be accomplished if you work hard enough.

7 The sport ethic Those who refuse to follow the sport ethic are often shunned by teammates, coaches and fans: When players are unwilling to make sacrifices for the game and refuse to strive for distinction, they don’t last long in high-performance sports. Their underconformity is not tolerated

8 Over-conformity and Group Dynamics Over-conformity to the sport ethic encourages three social processes: 1. It bond athletes together in ways that encourage and normalize deviant over-conformity. 2. It separates athletes from the rest of the community and inspires awe and admiration from the larger community. 3. It leads athletes to develop “hubris”.

9 Research on Deviancy “On the Field” Findings suggest: Deviance (i.e., cheating, dirty play, fighting and violence) is less common today than in the past. Athletes do interpret rules loosely, create informal rules and expect/engage in certain on-the-field rule violations.

10 Research on Deviancy “Off the Field” “Sports do not turn athletes into models of virtue nor into delinquents in systematic ways” (Coakley, (2007)).

11 Defining Violence, Aggression, and Intimidation Violence (in Coakley, 2007)): Aggression (in Coakley, 2007)): Intimidation (in Coakley, 2007)):

12 Types of Sport-related Violence Brutal body contact – Borderline violence –

13 Types of Sport-related Violence  Quasi-criminal violence-  Criminal violence

14 Sport, Violence & Masculinity Violence and masculinity “Across many cultures, playing power and performance sports has become an important way to prove masculinity” (Coakley, 2007).

15 Sport, Violence & Masculinity Dominanct codes of masculinity and the control of pain Violence becomes a marker of self worth and reaffirms your identity. Athletes who don’t play through pain are failures and those who do are courageous. Playing through injuries honors the importance of the game and expresses dedication to team-mates and the value of high performance sports

16 Sport, Violence & Masculinity Over 80% of men and women in top level college sports in USA sustain atleast one serious injury while playing sport. Nearly 70% are disabled for two or more weeks The rate of disabling injury in the NFL is over 3 times greater than working in high-risk construction jobs

17 Sport, Violence & Masculinity Pro sports involving brutal body contact are the most violent and dangerous workplaces in the occupational world

18 War Language in Sports Commentators consistently use martial metaphors and language of war and weaponry to describe sports action.  Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. Its bound with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words: it is war minus the shooting (george orwell)  Nearly 5 times per hour of sports commentary, announcers use terms: battle, kill, reloading, detonate, exploded, attack mode, blast etc…

19 Sports and Violence “Off the Field” “Carry-over” Violence on the field that carries over into the athletes lives off the field. Research on carry-over is inconclusive Control sports participation teaches people to control violent actions, defeat hardship and pain, and enables them to avoid violence off the field when they face adversity

20 Violence and Sport Fans Two contexts:  Violence among television viewers- not much research about this.  Violence at sport events. Most fans do not participate in violence but it has been known to happen both in the past and today (not often but it happens) No systematic study of “celebratory violence” that occurs following wins

21 Celebratory Violence Most common in the U.S. U.S. research tends to re-enforce the notions of riots as an issue of race relations

22 Soccer Hooliganism Primarily studied by British and European scholars Figurational theory:  Synthesis of biological, psychological, sociological and historical approaches  Grounded in historical changes that have affected working-class men, their relationships with each other and their families, as well as their definitions of community, violence, and masculinity.

23 Sports violence and the media Media effects  The media can sometimes exaggerate the level of sports violence, leading to an amplification of the problem  This may lead to calls for a tougher approach and increased forms of surveillance and policing which actually serves to heighten rather than reduce the problem

24 Conclusion: Sport, deviancy and violence The relationship between deviancy and violence in sport and their effects on players and spectators is complex Different sports have different ethical and moral codes and these change from one cultural setting to another so it is difficult to make broad generalizations about deviancy, violence and sport

25 Conclusion: Sport, deviancy and violence The use and acceptance of violence in sport is often a way to re-enforce and celebrate heterosexual hegemonic masculinity. The sports ethic, taken to extremes can lead to violence and deviance in sport and can be damaging to players and spectators alike; although, there is some evidence that sport teaches people how to control violent behavior outside of sport.


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