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Jack Thomas Sugden

The growth in mixed martial arts (MMA) gyms worldwide, along with adjunct media discourse has been matched by the number of participants, characterized by the dedication and sacrifice imbued. These factors catalyzed this research which sought initially to understand the motivations of MMA gym members and the role that the training plays in their lives. Through an immersive participant ethnography lasting 3 years, the author trained, socialized, fought, and competed with members of an urban MMA gym in the United Kingdom. The findings focus on the subculture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu existing within and alongside MMA and where men of diverse ages and creeds follow a path to improved mental health. Drawing from the salutogenic health model and the sociology of health literature, this paper shows that through membership of an MMA gym and dedication to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, participants embody a version of health that is closely aligned with Antonovsky’s theory of salutogenesis. This theory of health helps explain not only the dedication of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and the growth of MMA more broadly but also posits a fresh perspective on the role of alternative physical activities in male mental health redress.

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Fraser Carson, Clara McCormack, Paula McGovern, Samara Ralston and Julia Walsh

This best practice paper reflects on a pilot coach education program designed for women coaching Australian Rules football. Focused on enhancing self-regulation, and underpinned by a growth mindset framework, the “Coach like a Woman” program was delivered to a selected group of female coaches either working in or having been identified with the potential to coach at high-performance levels. This manuscript describes the program content and discusses the key insights identified by the delivery team. Creating a community of practice encouraged the transfer of knowledge and experience between the enrolled coaches, which increased competence and self-confidence. Providing an understanding of behavioral tendencies enhanced positive self-talk and aided self-regulation by the coaches. The delivery of the program and challenges experienced are also discussed. This reflection on the program is provided to assist future developments in coach education.

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Daniel Yang and Kathy Babiak

A specific form of corporate social responsibility—corporate philanthropy—has received little attention in sport scholarship despite the increased formalization of this business function in practice. Specifically, few studies have explored the institutional mechanisms that influence the corporate philanthropy of professional sport teams. Given that teams receive simultaneous institutional pressures from their league and from the community in which they operate, this study examined how the presence of multiple peers from different fields affected teams in terms of determining the appropriate level of philanthropic activity. The hypotheses were tested through a longitudinal analysis of philanthropic data from team foundations in four professional leagues in the United States from 2005 to 2017. The authors found that teams were more likely to be affected by the philanthropic giving levels of league peers than local peers. Overall, this study provides a better understanding of simultaneous institutional pressures shaping the philanthropic activities of professional sport teams.

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Jennifer T. Coletti, Veronica Allan and Luc J. Martin

A child’s first contact with media and culture typically comes from books they are exposed to in the home and at school. The narratives presented contribute to the early reinforcement of gender roles and norms and can greatly influence the way that young girls perceive and experience sport. The purpose of this study was to explore the narratives within sport-based books geared toward a young female audience to determine the extent to which they promote the engagement of girls in sport. A pragmatic literature search was conducted to obtain books that met our inclusion criteria. Books (n = 28) were analyzed based on the age of their intended audience (aged 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12 years) using thematic narrative analysis. Although the authors promoted the engagement of girls in sport, underlying gender stereotypes were nevertheless salient. Across the books, themes involved the emphasis of “feminine” sports as a context for diversity and learning, the need to understand development as a process, the importance of relationships, and implications pertaining to perceptions of capability as female athletes. Most importantly, the application of a critical feminist lens enabled us to identify an underlying theme—the reinforcement of gender stereotypes—that permeated the storylines and served to undermine the potential adaptive messaging intended by authors. These findings suggest the need for greater attention toward the complexity of female sport and a cultural shift in thinking toward gender equity rather than simply increasing sport access for female participants.

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Emily A. Roper and José A. Santiago

The purpose of this study was to examine how and how often athletic girls were represented on the cover art of young adult (YA) sport fiction. In this research, 154 YA sport fiction books were analyzed using quantitative content analysis. Using existing sport research and theory focused on women’s representation in sport media, the researchers developed a coding scheme to assess cover art for each of the following categories: (a) presence and racial representation of female character/s on cover; (b) portrayal of female body on cover (whole body, partial body/with head, or partial body/without head); (c) portrayal of female character as active or passive; (d) portrayal of female character in or out of athletic uniform; (e) portrayal of female character in or out of the sport setting; (f) presence of sport equipment; and (g) type of cover. Findings revealed that 81% of the book covers had a female character in which 29% of the covers displayed the whole body, 47% displayed partial body/with head, and 23% displayed partial body/with no head of the female character. Only 0.06% of the book covers had a female character of color. Approximately 31% of the female characters were displayed in active positioning, 58% in athletic attire, and 44% in the sport setting. Of the books reviewed, 55% displayed equipment on the cover. The findings indicate that athletic girls have few images on YA sport fiction cover art that accurately represent their athleticism, and there is a clear absence of diverse representation. It is critical that those responsible for the design and layout of book covers clearly represent active females in action, in uniform, and in the sport context.

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Wendy O’Brien, Caroline Riot and Clare Minahan

In this paper, the authors explore how athletes from the Global South interact with the material environment of an international training camp program in the lead up to a major event. Set within the context of Pasifika nations with colonial and missionary legacies, they examine the material, affective, sensory, and rhythmic forces at work to produce enabling or constraining capacities for emplaced physical capital in athletes. Driven by a desire to improve their performance, athletes resisted, appropriated, and adopted various high-performance practices to develop their emplaced physical capital capacities.

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Zachary W. Arth and Andrew C. Billings

This study analyzed the frequency with which the regional broadcasts of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams featured traditional and modern/advanced statistics. To understand these portrayals, 60 games, two from each MLB team, were coded. The coded content consisted of any on-screen graphic featuring one or multiple baseball statistics, as well as any comment from the broadcasters about statistics. The results indicated a clear spectrum of teams, with some featuring a high level of advanced metrics in their graphics and commentary, while some were substantially more traditional. Through the lens of framing, potential ramifications for statistical knowledge within different fan bases were discussed.

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John H. Challis

The results of the 2020 review and ranking of U.S. doctoral programs in kinesiology conducted by the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) are presented. These results represent data collected for the  2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 calendar years for 43 programs. The rankings reflect data collected on program faculty (productivity, funding, and visibility) and program students (admissions, support, publications, and employment). The data for each assessment index were first transformed into z scores, and then the z scores converted into T-scores. Weights were applied to the T-scores of the indices and then summed to obtain a total T-score. Programs were ranked in two ways: one based on the total T-scores from the data not normalized (unadjusted) and the other with total T-scores from the data normalized with respect to the number of faculty members in each program (adjusted). In addition to program rankings, descriptive data are presented on faculty and student data.

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Joshua I. Newman, Grace Yan, Hanhan Xue and Nicholas M. Watanabe

In this article, the authors provide a Deleuzoguattarian tracing of a specific set of relationships between traditional Chinese medicine, life, death, and football (soccer). More specifically, the authors examine political, economic, and cultural associations formed in and around the Quanjian Group, a major traditional Chinese medicine company once located in the burgeoning industrial hub of Tianjin. The authors follow Aihwa Ong in abductively examining (de)territorializations of life, sport, and death; examining how the media publics’ (in China and beyond) awareness of the death of a young girl in 2015 destabilized a network of capital, state, medicine, and sport and in the process revealed how the vitality of major professional sport in China is situated within, and contingent upon, a vast array of material and nonmaterial (bio)political formations.

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Paul Whitinui

In this paper, which is a revised and modified version of the 2019 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Alan Ingham Memorial lecture, the author shares four views, contributions, and opportunities that sports sociologists might consider useful in how to decolonize as well as indigenize our discipline together. The need to actively engage in the theory and practice of how to decolonize while understanding what it also means to work toward becoming an accomplice, activist, ally, or co-resistor are important threads underpinning the nature and scope of this paper. The author concludes with a plea to sports sociologists that decolonizing our minds is as much a collective effort as it is an act of reconciliation while maintaining the promise of inclusion, equity, and human rights. As sports sociologists, understanding what it means to be in “good relations” with Indigenous Peoples is fundamental to how we continue to build on and improve our discipline together.