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Adam Vanzella-Yang and Tobias Finger

Coed team sports typically offer different experiences for women and men. Though scholars have documented gender imbalances in participation within such teams, the social psychological processes at play and the broader consequences of unequal participation have rarely been explored. In this paper, the authors revisit coed team sports through the lens of status construction theory and expectation states theory to suggest that coed teams reinforce gendered notions of worth, prestige, and competence in the field of sport. The authors draw on research showing that mixed-sex settings where people must cooperate to achieve a common goal are especially prone to the reproduction of gender stereotypes. This paper builds bridges between two subfields of sociology and illuminates gender dynamics in a coed sport that has not been previously studied (futsal).

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Robert E. Rinehart

The avant-garde has much to offer sport studies and many paths to explore for sport studies’ scholars. In this article, I makes a case for the use of the avant-garde as a metaphor for sport studies, sport scholars, and the public at large. To do this, I sketch out some of the foundational and pertinent characteristics of the avant-garde, provides exemplars from art, considers the similarities between sport and art (in terms of an avant-garde metaphor), and provides some exemplars from sport.

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Samantha King and Gavin Weedon

This article raises the ecological substance and relational co-constitution of bodies as a generative question for sociologists of sport and physical culture. It proceeds from our observation that recent research on the materiality of athletic bodies, and on the environmental issues in which sport is implicated, tends to run on parallel tracks. By exploring how biological, environmental, and social natures cohere in the making and unmaking of healthy bodies, our aim is to connect and extend these vibrant areas of research. We do so by developing the concept of “ecological embodiment,” a descriptor for a fluid state of becoming and a sensibility for thinking about hierarchical socioecological entanglements. To illustrate this concept, we draw on a study of whey protein powder, a key ingredient in contemporary fitness cultures.

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Alana Thomson, Kristine Toohey, and Simon Darcy

Sport event studies have demonstrated that relevant stakeholders must share objectives and coordinate efforts to leverage a large-scale sport event to secure positive legacies. However, the challenging and complex task of collaboration between networks of diverse organizational stakeholders to secure legacies has received little scholarly attention. In this conceptual paper, the authors explore, through a political economy lens, differences between the political economies of sports and sport events pertaining to mass sport participation legacies. The authors focus on the mesolevel and consider how divergences in political economy elements—structure and context, stakeholders and ideas/incentives, and bargaining processes—influence the likelihood of mass sport participation legacies from large-scale sport events. The authors suggest a need for event legacy stakeholders to engage more meaningfully with the complexities surrounding securing mass sport participation legacies. In addition, they provide pragmatic, actionable implications for policy and practice to assist stakeholders in addressing the challenges they face to maximize legacy outcomes.

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Erianne A. Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Matt R. Huml, and Marlene A. Dixon

As thousands of professionals are drawn to work in the sport industry known for celebrity, action, and excitement, a growing body of literature on the industry’s culture describes a field fraught with burnout, stress, and difficulty balancing work–family responsibilities. Given this contradiction, there is a need to better understand employee experiences. Thus, the authors utilized a human capital framework to develop employee archetypes. Results from a latent cluster analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics department employees (N = 4,324) revealed five distinct employee archetypes utilizing inputs related to human capital development and work experiences (e.g., work–family interface, work engagement, age). Consistent with creative nonfiction methodology, results are presented as composite narratives. Archetypes follow a career arc from early-career support staff to late-career senior leaders and portray an industry culture wherein the human capital is largely overworked, underpaid, and replete with personal sacrifice and regret.

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Adam J. Nichol, Philip R. Hayes, Will Vickery, Emma Boocock, Paul Potrac, and Edward T. Hall

Social structure remains an equivocal term in (sport) sociology. Our understandings of its constitution and role in causally influencing behavior are arguably underdeveloped. Using a critical realist approach, this paper examined how structural entities and reflexive agency combined to influence behavior in an elite youth cricket context (e.g., athletes, coaches). A methodological bricolage was used to generate data and Elder-Vass’s theorizing provided the principal heuristic device. The analysis illustrated how coaches acted on behalf of norm circles in their attempts to shape dispositions of athletes. In turn, athletes engaged in a process of dialectical iteration between reflexive deliberation and (intersectional) dispositions, which influenced their social action in this organizational context. This study holds significance for researchers and practitioners concerned with social influence.

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Courtney Szto, Ann Pegoraro, Erin Morris, Melanie Desrochers, Karell Emard, Katrina Galas, Anissa Gamble, Liz Knox, and Kristen Richards

Women’s professional hockey was hindered when the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced its abrupt closure in March 2019. The action disrupted the opportunity for hundreds of elite women’s hockey players to continue pursuing competitive hockey after university. This study outlines the time period surrounding the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s closure and the formation of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association announced that its members would not play in any professional Canadian or American league until its players receive a living wage, proper training resources, and employee benefits, such as health care. Through semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis of media narratives, the authors situate the #ForTheGame movement within second-wave feminist tactics to create social change through collective action.

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Niels B. Feddersen, Robert Morris, Louise K. Storm, Martin A. Littlewood, and David J. Richardson

The purpose was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organization in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study combining action research and grounded theory. The data collection included ethnography and a focus group discussion (n = 10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The authors supplemented these with 26 interviews with stakeholders, and we analyzed the data using grounded theory. The core concept found was that power relations were further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g., formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organization. The informational power (e.g., tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilized coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organization’s agenda. Olympic sports organizations should consider the influence of power when undertaking a change of culture.

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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.