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Alan M. Klein

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Alan M. Klein

This study examines the social and cross-cultural aspects of masculinity through an ethnographic assessment of a Mexican League baseball team. The institution and meaning of “machismo” are examined along three indices of emotion: expression of vulnerability and hurt, reactions to children, and expression of physicality. The view widely held by North Americans that Latino and Latin American men are one-dimensional machos is critiqued. It is argued that, rather than comprising a single category, machismo exists along a continuum of masculinity from more to less macho. Cross-cultural comparisons of masculinity between Mexican and Anglo baseball players were also observed, with Mexican players shown as more capable of exhibiting “tender” emotions than their North American teammates. Finally, the study of emotions is shown to also have social consequences for nationalism.

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Alan M. Klein

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.

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Alan M. Klein

This study examines the political-economy of baseball in the Dominican Republic from a critical perspective. As such, the presence of American major league teams is seen to have a deleterious structural effect on the autonomy and quality of baseball in the Dominican Republic. In particular, in attempting to develop the game, U.S. interests—like those of other multinationals—are underdeveloping the game. A second dimension to this study views baseball as an American popular cultural form that functions to soften the regular, hostile responses of Dominicans to American political and economic domination of their country. Thus, while serving to reproduce U.S. control, baseball takes on the appearance of a benevolent, even helpful, cultural institution.

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Alan M. Klein

While the projection of ideal images is very important in American culture, it is in the subculture and sport of bodybuilding that it gets carried to the extreme. A 4-year study of bodybuilding’s mecca—Southern California—revealed a fundamental set of discrepancies between what the subculture projects as ideal and what actually goes on. These discrepancies are examined to determine which ones result from changes that have taken place in body-building and which are structural to it. It is shown that as the sport/subculture altered its image to achieve cultural respectability, it inadvertently created new problems. The shifts are examined within the context of studies of deviance and point to the need for long-term ethnography in sport sociology.

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John Hargreaves and Alan M. Klein

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Jim Faught, Alan M. Klein and Peter Donnelly