In 2005, the Journal of Sport Management printed Wendy Frisby’s Earle F. Zeigler Lecture. The main thrust of Frisby’s presentation was that critical social science is an underutilized framework for conducting research in sport management and that, as a result, we remain limited in our abilities to truly understand how institutions and organizations “are best viewed as operating in a wider cultural, economic, and political context characterized by asymmetrical power relations that are historically entrenched” (2005, p.1). Other scholars such as Cunningham and Fink (2006) reinforced the importance of doing this kind of critical work. In their review of key research findings in sport management literature related to issues of diversity they concluded that the vast majority of studies “operated from the paradigm of positivism” and thus our field “could benefit from an incorporation of different investigative paradigms” (p. 458). Finally, Shaw and Frisby (2006) called for an embrace of critical theoretical frameworks which empirically address the complexities of, for example, gender relations and (in)equalities found throughout the vast sport enterprise.
Kane is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Maxwell is with the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.