Gender, Social Class, and the Sporting Capital–Economic Capital Nexus

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 California State University, East Bay
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In “Do High School Athletes Earn More Pay?” Curtis, McTeer, and White reopened an important line of inquiry about the conversion of sporting capital to economic capital. They found associations between adolescent participation sports and adult income for Canadian men and women with some college education. The present study revises and extends Curtis and colleagues’ understanding of sport as cultural capital and its relation to economic capital, tests the nature of the high school varsity sport–adult income relationship for the United States, and examines gender and class differences in the degree to which adult sporting practices mediate the varsity sport–adult income relationship. The results show that American class and gender patterns of income and participation are similar to those found by Curtis and colleagues and that adult participation in sports more strongly mediates this relationship for men than for women. I conclude by proposing a gendered theory of sports as cultural capital to explain those differences.

C. Stempel is with the Department of Sociology and Social Services at California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA 94542.

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