Sport and Culture as Contested Terrain: Americanization in the Caribbean

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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In looking at the “Americanization” of sport in other societies, we are essentially looking at a version of cultural colonialism. Sport, as a segment of popular culture, is certainly an effective form of promoting cultural hegemony. However, this essay argues for the use of cultural resistance as an opposing notion. Based on the author’s study of Dominican baseball, the picture of a tension between hegemonic and resistant cultural forces is summarized and offered as a model to other sports researchers. The Dominican study examined the structural properties of major league baseball’s domination of the sport in the Caribbean. Resistance to major league baseball was not structurally apparent and required looking at more subtle indices. Fans’ preferences for symbols, content analysis of the sports pages in Santo Domingo, and examples of concrete behavior were looked at. Other researchers may find different indices more appropriate, but the use of sport related phenomena are felt to be valuable sources.

Alan M. Klein is with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115.

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