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Volume 41 (2024): Issue 1 (Mar 2024)

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Anti-Black Racism and Soccer in Canada: Is It Because I’m Black, Ref?

Paul Nya and Jay Scherer

This study critically examines the experiences of members of a sub-Saharan African men’s recreational soccer club with anti-Black racism in a Western Canadian city. Drawing from extensive ethnographic fieldwork, and working at the intersections of Critical Race Theory and Physical Cultural Studies, our analysis focuses on how team members navigate a racial hierarchy that privileges Whiteness and cements their status as outsiders through both overt and subtle forms of racism on the pitch, and the laborious, retraumatizing challenges of “proving” these racist incidents to those in positions of institutional power. We underline the need for anti-racist and anti-oppressive policies and training, and independent judiciaries to monitor and address racist incidents and systemic racism—and its intersections with other forms of oppression—in Canadian sport cultures.

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Embodied Cultural Capital, Social Class, Race and Ethnicity, and Sports Performance in Girls Soccer

Pat Rubio Goldsmith and Richard Abel

Compared with working-class parents, middle-class parents increasingly promote sports performance for their children as part of a larger strategy of ensuring that their children are upwardly mobile and likely to attend and graduate from college. However, we need to learn more about the distribution of youth sports performance in specific sports and whether it relates to social class. In this study, we test for a relationship between social class and performance in girls soccer by examining the success of high school girls soccer teams in 16,091 contests. We find that schools with more working-class youth consistently lose by many goals. The relationship between performance and social class is weaker in predominantly Latinx schools than in predominantly Black and predominantly White ones, likely reflecting the community cultural wealth in soccer in Latinx immigrant communities. We discuss the practical and theoretical implications of these findings.

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Erratum. Trans Women and/in Sport: Exploring Sport Feminisms to Understand Exclusions

Sociology of Sport Journal

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The Experiences of Women Leaders in the Higher Education Sport Sector: Examining the Gendered Organization Through Bourdieu’s Model of Field, Capital and Habitus

Shamira Naidu-Young, Anthony May, Stacey Pope, and Simon Gérard

This article is the first to examine experiences of women with leadership roles in the U.K. Higher Education sport sector. We carried out detailed interviews with women leaders. We utilized Bourdieu’s model of habitus, capital, and field; Acker’s concept of “gendered organizations;” and Shilling’s concept of physical capital. Our findings show Higher Education operates more inclusively than the wider sport sector, which has the potential to advance gender equality. However, gendered practices remain with women working harder to accumulate and convert capital. Motherhood negatively impacts conversion of capital and respondents without children felt this benefitted their career. Finally, we discuss the impact of menopause on the careers of women and suggest this can impact self-perception.

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Constructing Diaspora Space and Consciousness Through Sport and Livelihoods in Kampala, Uganda

Mitchell McSweeney

Applying the concept of diaspora, this paper examines an organization in Kampala, Uganda that utilizes sport to foster cultural belonging and increase livelihood opportunities for refugees. A participatory action research approach was implemented with multiple forms of data collection including semistructured interviews, photovoice, and photocollaging. Findings highlight how sport and livelihoods are used by refugees to resist exclusion and other inequalities in Kampala and to express diaspora space and consciousness. Discussion highlights the usefulness of the concept of diaspora for understanding the intersections of sport, refugees, livelihoods, and, more importantly, to stimulate a homing desire for refugees forcibly displaced.

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When Sport Fandom Meets Motherhood: A Qualitative Exploration of Women’s Experiences

Kim Toffoletti and Katherine Sveinson

Existing literature provides nascent insights into structural arrangements that shape mothers’ experiences of being a sport fan, yet we know little about the social meaning sport fandom holds for mothers. This exploratory study draws on qualitative interviews with 41 mothers from Australia and North America to examine their understandings of sport fandom in the context of their everyday lives and contemporary ideologies about mothering. Findings suggest that sport fandom presents an opportunity for mothers to redefine and transform both fan and mothering practices, thereby challenging popular orthodoxies that fandom becomes less important to women after having children. By foregrounding mothers’ efforts to stay engaged with their fandom, we extend research on the experiences of women sport fans and offer alternatives to normative constructs of fandom.

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Trans Women and/in Sport: Exploring Sport Feminisms to Understand Exclusions

Jayne Caudwell

This paper explores past and present conceptual aspects of sport feminisms to understand trans women and/in sport. The adverse treatment of trans sportswomen now runs through governing bodies, sport media, individuals who are in decision-making roles, policy formation, and public social attitude. The move to exclude and/or restrict trans women from sport is apparent at national and international levels and demonstrates shifts in sport policy. The aim of the paper is to explore past and present developments in sport feminism to highlight the value of its dynamism to explain, critique, and challenge the current treatment of trans women athletes. The paper highlights the need to further develop, within sport sociology, a de-colonial transfeminism. De-colonial in this context involves postcolonial feminism, Black feminism, and queer of color critical approaches.

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“Compatriot” or “Stateless”: Iranian State-Owned Media and Social Media Depictions of Iranian Refugee Kimia Alizadeh’s Match at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Mahdi Latififard, Andrew C. Billings, Sean R. Sadri, and Amin Yadegari

The only Iranian woman to ever win an Olympic medal, Taekwondo Athlete Kimia Alizadeh, immigrated to Germany and became a refugee participant for the 2020/2021 Tokyo Games, competing against her former compatriot, teammate, and friend. This study content analyzes four Iranian media sources as they rendered the story of a former national hero-turned-refugee. A total of 15 frame categories were applied to each of the media sources: (a) Twitter (n = 5,662), (b) television (n = 103), (c) radio (n = 117), and (d) newspapers/digital-native news (n = 119). Television was found to adopt the most critical tones of Alizadeh, with social media, newspapers, and radio offering assessments that ranged from neutral to positive. Interestingly, social media and newspaper frames were significantly correlated, while other media sources were not.

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A Bourdieusian Approach to Pain Management and Health in Professional Cricket

Daniel Read, Ivan Thomas, Aaron C.T. Smith, and James Skinner

Painkiller (mis)use in sport presents a range of potential health risks to athletes (e.g., injury exacerbation). There is a lack of qualitative data examining the sociological genesis of variations in attitudes toward painkiller use. Focusing on the concept of physical capital, this article explores how attitudes toward painkiller use among professional cricket players in England are socialized by their workplace. Attitudes toward painkiller (mis)use stem from field-level structures that foster employment vulnerability, ensuring physical capital is precarious and legitimating painkiller (mis)use as a method of protecting economic opportunities with the added benefit of accruing symbolic capital by demonstrating toughness. Based on the findings, this article advocates for a sociologically informed harm-reduction approach to pain management in elite sport.