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As we pass the 30th anniversary of a recognized sociology of sport in North America, it is appropriate to develop a current sociological analysis of the subdiscipline. In the first part we examine the origins of the field and the development of the Wisconsin socialization paradigm and the social problems perspective. In the second part we explore the critical shift in the field, emerging from an engagement with C. Wright Mills, and the development of a political economy perspective. In the third part we review the turn to Antonio Gramsci and cultural studies, focusing particularly on the themes of gender and the body. We conclude by considering whether, given the current eclecticism, sociology of sport is still a legitimate description of our field.
Alan Ingham is with the Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies at Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. Peter Donnelly is with the Departments of Kinesiology and Sociology at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1 Canada.