Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 8 of 8 items for

  • Author: Michael A. Messner x
Clear All Modify Search
Restricted access

Michael A. Messner

Although there has been some scholarly scrutiny of gays and lesbians in sport, there has been very little “studying up” on the social construction of heterosexuality in sport. In this paper, I begin by drawing on recent historical research on sexuality to reflect on the significance of the emergence of the heterosexual at precisely the time in history when the institution of modern sport was being forged. Next, I critically examine recent theoretical issues raised by poststructuralists, postmodernists, and queer theorists. I argue for a materialist examination of sexuality as a key linking process in a socially structured matrix of domination along lines of race, class, and gender. Finally, I interrogate a “sexual story” as an example of one way the meanings of heterosexuality might be analyzed within sport.

Restricted access

Michael A. Messner

Restricted access

Michael A. Messner

This paper evaluates a growing genre of studies of masculinity and sport. It is argued that sport sociology, like sociology in general, has become more gender conscious but not necessarily more feminist. Feminist critiques of objectivism and value-free sociology and feminist calls for a values-based feminist standpoint are discussed. Two responses to feminism by male scholars—antifeminist masculinism and profeminism—are discussed and critically analyzed. Finally, it is argued that studies of masculinity and sport are more likely to tell a true story if they are grounded in an inclusive feminism, which utilizes multiple standpoints that take into account the intersections of class, race, gender, and other systems of domination and subordination.

Restricted access

Michael A. Messner

This paper explores the historical and ideological meanings of organized sports for the politics of gender relations. After outlining a theory for building a historically grounded understanding of sport, culture, and ideology, the paper argues that organized sports have come to serve as a primary institutional means for bolstering a challenged and faltering ideology of male superiority in the 20th century. Increasing female athleticism represents a genuine quest by women for equality, control of their own bodies, and self-definition, and as such represents a challenge to the ideological basis of male domination. Yet this quest for equality is not without contradictions and ambiguities. The socially constructed meanings surrounding physiological differences between the sexes, the present “male” structure of organized sports, and the media framing of the female athlete all threaten to subvert any counter-hegemonic potential posed by female athletes. In short, the female athlete—and her body—has become a contested ideological terrain.

Restricted access

Michael A. Messner and Michela Musto

Restricted access

Michael A. Messner and Michela Musto

Huge numbers of children participate in sports. However, kids and sports are rarely seen, much less systematically studied by sport sociologists. Our survey of the past decade of three major sport sociology journals illustrates a dearth of scholarly research on children and sport. While noting the few exceptions, we observe that sport studies scholars have placed a disproportionate amount of emphasis on studying sport media, and elite amateur, college, and professional athletes and sport organizations, while largely conceding the terrain of children’s sports to journalists and to a handful of scholars whose work is not grounded in sport sociology. We probe this paradox, speculating why sport scholars focus so little on such a large and important object of study in sport studies. We end by outlining a handful of important scholarly questions for sport scholars, focusing especially on key questions in the burgeoning sociological and interdisciplinary fields of children and youth, bodies and health, and intersectional analyses of social inequality.

Restricted access

Michael A. Messner and William S. Solomon

This article analyzes the print media’s ideological framing of the 1991 story of boxer Sugar Ray Leonard’s admission of having physically abused his wife and abused cocaine and alcohol. We examined all news stories and editorials on the Leonard story in two major daily newspapers and one national sports daily. We found that all three papers framed the story as a “drug story,” while ignoring or marginalizing the “wife abuse” story. We argue that sports writers utilized an existing ideological “jocks-on-drugs” media package that framed this story as a moral drama of individual sin and public redemption. Finally, we describe and analyze the mechanisms through which the wife abuse story was ignored or marginalized.

Restricted access

Jane Stangl, Brian Pronger, Michael A. Messner, Heather Sykes and Eric Anderson