On the Need for a More Adequate Theory of Sport Participation

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Nancy ThebergeUniversity of Waterloo

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The purpose of this paper is to review and critique the major approaches to the analysis of participation in sport, and to present suggestions for new approaches offering more useful bases for the explanation and understanding of the participation phenomenon. Past research has focused on the characteristics and backgrounds of sport participants or on the process of socialization into sport roles. Employing the theoretical guidelines provided by Giddens, it is recommended that future research be based on a conceptualization of participation as a process by which men and women actively create their sporting lives within the constraints of particular social and political structures. Examples of this approach are provided and the implications of the approach are discussed.

Direct all correspondence to: Nancy Theberge, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3GI
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