Korfball: A Model of Egalitarianism?

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Karen SummerfieldWest Sussex Institute of Higher Education

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Anita WhiteWest Sussex Institute of Higher Education

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Through an analysis of gender in contemporary korfball practice in Britain, this paper questions the claim that korfball is an egalitarian sport. Three aspects of the sport were studied: (a) official korfball literature, (b) formal positions of power held by men and women in the korfball organizations, and (c) the gender related dynamics of team play in international and club games. It was found that despite the ideological commitment to gender equality, korfball literature emphasized the prominence of males. Women held relatively few positions in the formal power structures of korfball organizations and men dominated in team play. Explanations for the mismatch between ideology and practice of korfball are advanced, and strategies for the future development of egalitarian sport are discussed.

Karen Summerfield and Anita White are with the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education, Bishop Otter College, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, England PO19 4PE.

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