Sports Diffusion: A Response to Maguire and the Americanization Commentaries

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Amherst College
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In response to the recent collection of articles on sports diffusion, some generalizations are in order. While a number of factors determine the processes of ludic diffusion, the most important of them is the relative political, economic, and culture power of the nations involved. The power vectors are usually, but not always, aligned. Cultural imperialism is a useful term to apply to these processes if one remembers that politically and economically dominated nations sometimes influence the sports of dominant nations. Modernization is on the whole a more precise term than Americanization to describe these processes. Traditional sports are certain to survive into the next century, but their formal-structural characteristics are likely to undergo changes that make them increasingly modem.

Allen Guttmann is with the Department of American Studies at Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002.


Editor’s Note: The Comments that have followed the article by J. Maguire (More Than a Sporting Touchdown: The Making of American Football in England 1982–1990, pp. 213–237 of SSJ Vol. 7 No. 3) on Americanization — Wagner (Vol. 7 No. 4), Klein (Vol. 8 No. 1), McKay and Miller (Vol. 8 No. 1), and Kidd (pp. 178-184 of this issue) — and Guttmann’s response to these Comments, have clearly not ended the debate on Americanization. The issues raised here — Americanization, globalization, or modernization — are of significant concern to sociologists in general and sport sociologists in particular. Interested readers are encouraged to enter the debate as we embark on the era of the “new world order.”

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