This article reports findings from an interview-based study focused around the role of the Internet in the development and operations of four nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that use sport as part of their youth engagement efforts. Findings showed, on the one hand, how the emergence of certain NGOs would not have been possible if not for the Internet. On the other hand, it was clear that the Internet contributes to a form of “ironic activism,” meaning that the practices that underlie certain forms of Internet-enabled NGO activity also reproduce neoliberal, market-driven approaches to dealing with social problems. The article includes discussion about ways in which the use of communication technologies by “sport for development” NGOs is reflective of broader developments in and around the NGO community.
Brian Wilson and Lyndsay Hayhurst
The purposes of this exploratory study were to examine athletic body image and social body image among former competitive female athletes. Additionally, the perceived influence of past competitive experiences on current body image was explored. In-depth interviews were conducted with six former competitive collegiate athletes. The participants ranged in age from 23 to 31, with a mean age of 26. Common factors reported as influencing how participants felt about their bodies as athletes included uniforms, teammates, appearance, fitness, and coach attitudes and behaviors. Participants’ experiences and feelings about their bodies in athletic and social settings varied. Participants recognized some conflict between their athletic body and social ideals, however this incongruence did not seem problematic for most of the participants. Across participants, their current feelings and thoughts about their bodies were based on their former competitive athletic bodies.
James Curtis, William McTeer and Philip White
This paper reports on tests of relationships between participation in organized sport as a youth and earned income in adulthood. The data are drawn from a sample survey of adult Canadians. The results, both before and after appropriate controls, show that those who participated in organized sport as a youth tended to have higher annual earned incomes as adults than those who did not participate in this way. The relationships are stronger and more consistent for males than females across social subgroups defined by education level completed. Further supplemental analyses compare the explanatory import of youth sport participation and other forms of voluntary community involvement as a youth. Also presented are interpretations of the results, which emphasize the “cultural and social capital” and “physical capital” outcomes of involvement in youth sport activity.
D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn
American colleges and universities use nicknames, colors, logos, and mascots as identifying and unifying symbols, especially concerning their athletic teams. This paper examines the dark side of these solidarity symbols by reporting the incidence and patterns found in the naming of collegiate men’s and women’s athletic teams. The data from 1,185 four-year schools reveal that more than half of American colleges and universities employ names, mascots, and/or logos that demean and derogate women’s teams. There are no significant differences in naming patterns by type of school (public, independent, or religious), but region is significant, with Southern schools more likely to use sexist names than schools elsewhere. The various sexist naming practices contribute to the maintenance of male dominance within college athletics by defining women athletes and women’s athletic programs as second class and trivial.
Cassandra Wells and Simon C. Darnell
The sex testing of South African runner Caster Semenya in 2009 was widely discussed in media, but the most serious and significant sites of debate may have been within the cultures and institutions of track & field itself. In this article, we report findings from an analysis of an online track & field community—TrackNet Listserv—through which the Semenya case, and the politics and ethics of sex testing, were discussed. The results suggest that listserv members recognized the contestability of sex testing policies and identified with feminist struggles, but nevertheless largely argued for sex testing’s necessity in light of understandings of the biologically normative female body and the importance of maintaining fairness in and through sex-segregated sport. The implications for the sport of track & field and for sporting feminisms are discussed.
Barbara A. Brown and B. Gail Frankel
This study examines participation in leisure physical activity, leisure satisfaction, and life satisfaction from a life course perspective, using self-report data from a stratified random sample of adults living in a midsized Canadian city. Findings indicate that physical activity is most strongly associated with leisure satisfaction in the younger age groups, whereas no consistent age pattern is observed in the relationship between physical activity and life satisfaction. Regression analyses that are controlled for income, education, and age indicate major gender differences in the impact of participation in leisure physical activity on life satisfaction, with participation being more important for females. Path analysis indicates that leisure satisfaction contributes both directly and indirectly to life satisfaction. The findings provide evidence for age variation in sources of life satisfaction apart from leisure, and for important gender differences in the role of physical activity.
Peter P. Bartlewski
The purpose of this research was to explore the effectiveness of exercise in reducing body image concerns of female college students. Women enrolled in an aerobic exercise course or in a social psychology course at a medium sized university reported their social physique anxiety and body esteem at the beginning and end of the semester. For women in the aerobic exercise classes, social physique anxiety decreased and body esteem increased over the course of the semester. Social physique anxiety and body esteem did not change significantly for those in the (nonexercising) social psychology classes. The researchers concluded that participation in aerobic exercise programs may help to improve the body image of female college students. Based upon these results further investigation of the mechanisms by which exercise influences body image is warranted.
Cynthia A. Hasbrook
While there appears to be valid evidence to support the notion that sport participation is related to social class, such a relationship has not been clearly and directly demonstrated to exist among youth. Consequently, data from two studies that specifically investigated the potential relationship between formal youth sport participation and social class background are reported. The findings indicate that regardless of social class background, male youth participate in sport to an equal extent whereas female youth from lower social class backgrounds tend to participate in sport to a lesser degree than do their upper-class counterparts. Several explanations for these somewhat unexpected findings are offered, including the possibility of a diminishing relationship between sport participation and social class background. The multiple hierarchy notion of stratification is offered as a theoretical model in which to couch the major finding that sport participation appears to be stratified along social class lines among female youth but not among male youth.
Brian Wilson and Robert Sparks
This paper examines the impacts of athletic-apparel commercial messages on youth and youth cultures. Sneaker companies routinely use celebrity Black athletes, like Michael Jordan, to help position and market their premium brands. While concerns have been raised over the potential negative impacts of this practice, the processes through which athletic-apparel commercials become interpreted and assimilated into youth cultures have not been well-researched, A study is reported that used focus-group methodology and Radway’s (1991) concept of “interpretive communities” to examine how Black and non-Black male adolescents view sneaker commercials and celebrity Black athletes. This paper explores the ways that “cultural power” and “symbolic power” (Lull, 1995) are exercised by both the sneaker companies that feature celebrity Black athlete spokespersons and by the youth “communities” that consume these images. Overall, the youth in the study comprised two distinct interpretive communities defined by cultural differences related to their distinct social locations and racial identities.
Jean Harvey, John Horne and Parissa Safai
Alterglobalization is the name for a large spectrum of global social movements that present themselves as supporting new forms of globalization, urging that values of democracy, justice, environmental protection, and human rights be put ahead of purely economic concerns. This article develops a framework for the study of the influence of alterglobalization on sport by: outlining a periodization of social movements and sport; proposing a typology of responses to the politics of globalization; and proposing a typology of recent social movements associated with sport. The article does not report on an empirical research project, but provides a stock take of what has happened since the 1990s regarding the politics of globalization and the politics of sport, with specific reference to global social movements. The questions raised in this article include: What form do the movements challenging the world sports order today take? Does an alterglobalization movement exist in sport? What alternative models of sport do they propose?