Sport, Power, and Society

Institutions and Practices: A Reader


Edited by Robert E. Washington; David Karen

First Edition • March 1, 2010 • 488 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813344874 • $62.00 USD$56.50 CAN

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This comprehensive collection focuses on sports culture and its relationship to institutions in the surrounding society. The editors’ introduction describes the many ways that sport as a meritocratic contest may be diverted from meritocratic practices by the powerful social structures within which it is embedded. Sections focus on political economy, violence, the media, education, politics, fans and community, and the body. These readings address a variety of compelling and contentious issues: What is the role of sports in educational institutions? How are sports linked to politics? To what extent have the media transformed sports? How have sports influenced our cultural images of the body and physical health? In what ways do fans and social community influence sports? Augmenting the primary readings, the collection also presents engaging and provocative journalistic essays that complement the scholarly analyses with insightful discussions that spotlight key issues. Section introductions from the editors connect the readings to relevant theoretical perspectives for understanding the sociology of sports: new institutionalism, cultural hegemony, social capital, symbolic interaction, and cultural construction. Providing a cohesive foundation for a wide range of readings, Sport, Power, and Society is a must-have resource for understanding the current issues and debates surrounding the interactions of sport and society.

Robert E. Washington is professor of sociology and Africana studies at Bryn Mawr College.

David Karen is professor of sociology at Bryn Mawr College.

Introduction: Sport as a Model of Meritocracy

Part One. Raiding the Public Treasury: The Political Economy of Professional Sports
1. Introduction
2. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums, Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein
3. Rooting the Home Team: Why the Packers Won’t Leave—and Why the Browns Did, David Morris and Daniel Kraker
4. America’s Fastest Growing Sport, Brian O’Keefe and Julie Schosseri
5. May the Best Team Win: Making Baseball Competitive, Andrew Zimbalist
6. Building a Mini Metropolis Known as the US Open, Bill Pennington

Part Two. The Faustian Bargain: Big-Time Sports and the Media
1. Introduction
2. Money, Myth and the Big Match: The Political Economy of the Sports Media, David Rowe
3. Losing Control of the Ball, The political economy of football and the media in Australia, Murray Phillips and Brett Hutchins
4. The Global Sport Mass Media Oligopoly, Alan Law, Jean Harvey, and Stuart Kemp
5. Football, Television, and the Supreme Court: How a Decision 20 Years Ago Brought Commercialization the World Of College Sports, Welch Suggs
6. Marketers Are Joining the Varsity Stuart Elliott

Part Three. True Love or a Marriage of Convenience: Sports and Education
1. Introduction
2. Who’s Playing College Sports? Trends in Participation, John Cheslock
3. The Game of Life, James L. Schulman and William G. Bowen
4. Race, Cultural Capital, and the Educational Effects of Participation in Sports, Tamela McNulty Eitle and David Eitle
5. High School Football: Deep in the Heart of South Texas, Douglas FoleyBake Sales and Trash Pickup Help College Teams Stay Afloat, Teddy Kider

Part Four. The Power of Athletics: Sports and Politics
1. Introduction
2. Where are the Jocks for Justice?, Kelly Candaele and Peter Dreier
3. Sport, Masculinity, and Black Cultural Resistance, Ben Carrington
4. Televised Sport, Masculinist Moral Capital, and Support for the Invasion of Iraq, Carl Stempel
5. Gay Games or Gay Olympics? Implications for Lesbian Inclusion, Helen Jefferson Lenskyj
6. Argentina’s Left-Wingers, Leslie Ray
7. Carlos Delgado Stands Up to War, Dave Zirin

Part Five. Socializing the Anatomy: Body Culture and Sport
1. Introduction
2. Making Sense of Muscle: The Body Experiences of Collegiate Women Athletes, Molly George
3. Managing Bodily Capital, Loic Wacquant
4. Hindu Nationalism, Cultural Spaces, and Bodily Practices in India, Ian McDonald
5. Athletes Embrace Size, Rejecting Stereotypes, Jere Longman

Part Six. Giving Up Your Body: Violence and Injuries in Sports
1. Introduction
2. The Structure of Sport and Participant Violence, John Schneider and D. Stanley Eitzen
3. On Field Player Violence, Randall Collins
4. Triad of Violence, Michael A. Messner
5. Backtalk: Violence, Redemption and the Cost To Sports, Robert Lipsyte

Part Seven. More Than a Game: Fandom and Community Sports
1. Introduction
2. Emotionality in the Stands and in the Field: Expressing Self Through Baseball, Nick Trujillo and Bob Krizek
3. Joe Louis Uncovers Dynamite, Richard Wright
4. Supporters, Followers, Fans, and Flaneurs: A Taxonomy of Spectator Identities in Football, Richard Giulianotti
5. Fandom, Community, Baseball, Sherri Grasmuck
6. Hardball Ain’t the Only Game in Brooklyn Anymore, Lee Jenkins and Michael Schmidt

“Bob Washington and David Karen’s Sport, Power, and Society: Institutions and Practices is an invaluable addition to the literature covering so many of the current controversies in sports, including the political economy of pro sports, sports in the media, sports in education, and, of course, sports in politics. It includes a variety of points of view on all sport subjects, concluding with sections on the fans and community in sport, violence and injuries, and body culture, which make fascinating reading. It is a compelling anthology of articles from our best writers on this subject. I highly recommend it.”

—Richard Lapchick, Chair of DeVos Sport Business Management Program and Director, Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport

“Big-time kudos and many thanks to Robert Washington and David Karen for making life so much easier for many of us in the growing community of college professors committed to teaching first-rate courses on sports. This anthology, with its fine introduction penned by the editors and featuring carefully-selected articles addressing absolutely central topics such as the political economy of sports; sports and the media; sports and education; sports and politics; fandom and community in sports; body culture and sports; and violence and injuries in sports, renders the laborious ritual of assembling appropriate course packs totally obsolete and unnecessary. Washington and Karen deserve our praise for an intellectually sound and pedagogically helpful project which offers us a splendid array of readings for a wide-ranging and probing sports course.”

—Andrei S. Markovits, University of Michigan; Co-author of Gaming the World and Offside

“Washington and Karen have prepared an important reader that presents multiple perspectives and allows us to rethink what it means to take sport seriously. This collection is essential reading for studying and learning about the dynamic of power in sport and in society.”

—Eli A. Wolff, Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University

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