Sports Sociology Sports Played Either by Professionals, Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Sports Sociology

Sports played either by professionals, amateurs, or just for leisure, are a large part of all industrialized societies. Nonetheless, early on sociologists have looked at sports with distain. For instance Emile Durkheim thought of sports as simply ritualized civic ceremonies, whereas early feminists viewed them as masculine cultural displays (Giulianotti, 2005). However, Bourdieu, Elias, and Dunning were among the first sociologists to take a serious approach in viewing sports as sociological phenomena, although they understood that there were issues involved as Bourdieu (1990, p. 156) notes: "The sociology of sport: It is disdained by sociologists and despised by sportspeople."

Karen and Washington (2001) reviewed the sports sociology literature between the late 1980s to the early 1990s and found that the field was oriented more towards micro-level analyses about gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and the media. Macro-oriented level research during that period was underrepresented and mostly oriented toward gender and ethnicity issues. The preferred trend according to many in the field is to focus more on macro -- level analyses or a synthesis of micro/macro approaches (Eckstein, Moss, & Delaney, 2010).

There are a number of different perspectives that can be used to view the functions of sports in these societies. Sociological perspectives of sports, or sports sociology, focuses on the perspective of sports as social phenomena, with the numerous cultural structures, presentations, and groups that interact with or participate in sports. Through the lens of the sociological paradigm there are several major perspectives through which sports are analyzed (Eckstein et al., 2010).

1. The Structural-Functional approach is a paradigm that focuses on the functions of society as a complex system that attempts to achieve stability and sodality; it is a macro-level approach. This approach considers the manifest functions, which are the recognized and intended consequences of a factor or pattern; the latent functions, unintended consequences, and dysfunctions, those aspects of a pattern or factor that produce negative effects (Giulianotti, 2005). Some of the manifest functions of spots include increased fitness in participants, recreation, and the constructive expression of aggression. Latent functions include the creation of social relationships and teamwork skills, sport's function in employing many people directly and indirectly, and the encouragement of competition. Sports also have negative effects, for example there is a large underground society devoted to illegal activities centered around sports such as gambling, fixing outcomes, the use of performance enhancing drugs, and many university students are chosen due to their athletic prowess instead of their academic value, this lowering the academic standards of higher education.

2. The Social-Conflict approach is a paradigm that views society as a venue for the expression…

Sources Used in Document:


Bourdieu, P. (1990). In other words. Cambridge: Polity.

Eckstein, R., Moss, D.M., & Delaney, D.J. (2010). Sports sociology's still untapped potential. Sociological Forum, 25(3), 500-518.

Giulianotti, R. (2005). Sport: A critical sociology. Malden, MA: Polity.

Karen, D. & Washington, R. (2001). Sport and society. Annual Review of Sociology 27, 187- 212.

Cite This Essay:

"Sports Sociology Sports Played Either By Professionals " (2012, July 14) Retrieved June 19, 2019, from

"Sports Sociology Sports Played Either By Professionals " 14 July 2012. Web.19 June. 2019. <>

"Sports Sociology Sports Played Either By Professionals ", 14 July 2012, Accessed.19 June. 2019,