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Sociologists focus on systematic studies of the society and social interaction. It tends to explain how the community affects the people that live in it. It also critically reviews how these very people affect the society. Social being defined as the ongoing concerting and the coordination of the activities of individuals, sociology, therefore, qualifies to be the study of all that is characterized by social. A sub-discipline of sociology that mainly focuses on the study of sports as a social phenomenon is termed as sports sociology. The primary focus here is to critically review how sociologists seek to understand the sporting world as a whole. In addition to that, there will be a review of the various sociological theories of sports and explanation of how the difference in gender affects the sports participation.
Several theories have helped to explain and understand the sociology of sports. These theories include; the conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, critical theory and structural functionalism. In critical theory, the primary emphasis is grounded on the materialist interpretation of historical work, rational analysis, a critical stance on the social arrangement and a political program of reform and revolution (Smith and Hattery, 2017, p113). It mainly draws attention to the differentials in power such as the conflict amongst different classes. It is thus viewed as a macro level of analyzing the society. Structural functionalism theory views the society as a complex model, whose different parts work in cooperation to promote stability and solidarity.
Symbolic interactionism, on the other hand, develops from various practical considerations. These considerations allude to the utilization of dialect by people, for making normal implications for the various deductions that help in correspondence with others. Under the critical theory, there is a stress on the reflective assessment and the critique of society and is done by the application of the knowledge form social sciences and various subjects of humanity. It strives to liberate the humans from the circumstances which enslave them.
In most of the premodern societies, the role of gender, particularly for the females and the males in sports was majorly reinforced at a young and tender age. The sociology that was keenly observed to be surrounding sports was grounded on the idea that sports are for the most masculine (Chalip, 2015, p398). The men are more masculine than females. Regarding this, the females were therefore sidelined and discriminatively exempted from the participation in various sporting activities. This was grounded in the argument that they are delicate and thus prone to injuries, given their less muscular nature. They were thus encouraged to participate more in the noncompetitive games while the competitive ones were left behind for the males.
The impacts of the various sporting activities were to serve as a preparatory model for children to adulthood. During the games, there was a distinct separation of roles between the men and women (Delaney and Madigan, 2015). The separation was majorly expressed through the media and the gender identity. In fact, it has been commonly observed that in the media, the sports played by men are more prominent in comparison to the women sports. The broadcast of the sports between these two genders also vary. There is a clear and distinct contrast in the kind of sports that is taken by each gender. While the male takes part in more combative and confronting coordination games, the women take part in games that are more stylish and individual and are more stylish.
Thorough research conducted by sociologists has proven that the effects of sustained injuries are not just limited to the one aspect of the athlete’s life; there are also the biological, social and emotional domains that are severely affected. Studies were conducted particularly on the temporary psychology of both the injured and the uninjured players. The injured ones demonstrated a lower psychological effect than the uninjured ones. They showed low self-esteem. In most of the cases, their thoughts were negative. Their levels of depression were also discovered to be considerably high. This is a clear proof of how severe the effects of sports injuries can have on the social life of an athlete.
The participation in sports crosses most boundaries, particularly the racial and the ethnic boundaries. However, it is notable that a person’s identity may provide an upper hand towards the participation in a particular sporting activity (Chalip, 2015,p 399). The society holds very strong ethnic and racial labels and these when applied to particular sports may lead to the identity of particular sports being viewed as self-defining. The aspect of self-defining as ascribed in sports may have its historical roots. This is particular to the African-American athletes. As far as racial matters are concerned, it was discovered that the most obvious assertion made by a particular athlete has greatly to do with their assertions that they make about themselves.
People with disabilities have been victims of various societal barriers. The fact that one has a physical disability evokes some negative perception, and the aspect of discrimination dominates in most of the societies (Delaney & Madigan, 2015). Sociologists have, however, identified sports to be one such field that transcends all forms of barriers, ranging from linguistic, to racial and even social barriers. It acts as a standard platform for participation and inclusion of all manner of diversities and differences. Through this, the persons with disabilities are thus accommodated. Being considered incapable, participating in sports makes the feels like part of others and fosters their inclusion in all manner of activities that others participate.
Indeed, it is evident that sociology plays an utmost crucial role as far as sports and equality in sports are concerned. The various theories put in place for the understating of the sociology of sports are instrumental in enabling the learners to appreciate the various aspects of the sociology of sports as well as their applicability in the contemporary society. Various aspects of stigma and discrimination in sports are viewed in a more sociological aspect, and their critical analysis helps in understanding the both the initial and the current direction of the society about this matter.
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