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Using the concepts of class, gender and ‘race’, show how sport in Britain is affected by patterns of social inequality.

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Introduction

SOCIOLOGY ESSAY KERRAY PEEBLES Using the concepts of class, gender and 'race', show how sport in Britain is affected by patterns of social inequality. Each society established its own set of norms, values and beliefs. It is these that have caused societies to change and develop over time creating ideologies of inequality, prejudice and segregation. Often the beliefs of a population stem from the hegemonic group within that society, and others possessing less social status are pressured into conforming as a result. This process is evident within the sporting world as society repeatedly forces discrimination and segregation based on socio-economic or physical differences as dictated by the hegemonic group. Class is possibly the greatest creator of inequality. We have seen how several mainstream sports can be analysed in terms of shifts and continuities in the social context in which they have emerged, prospered or declined. Their fate has been determined essentially due to material social and economic factors, and the human cultural response to those influences (Horne, Tomlinson & Whannel, 1999). Sports participation is not a matter of personal choice, of individual preference. It depends upon the financial resources available to the potential participant, the social status of those prominent in that activity, and the cultural meaning of a sport and the individual's relationship to those meanings. The recruitment and induction processes into, say, golf and tennis clubs bear testimony to this. Take the apparently open-minded and egalitarian basis of a newcomer presenting herself at a tennis club. ...read more.

Middle

notes that cricket was seen as too much a 'manly sport' even for the tennis and hockey playing women students at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford in the late nineteenth century. It was not until 1926 that the British Women's Cricket Association was founded, by hockey and lacrosse players from Malvern College (Hargreaves, Jennifer. 1994). Colley et al (1987) supported that participation of 16-18 year old males an females suggested that sports are still strongly sex typed. This enforces inequalities in society as people have images and expectations to live up to, or risk being ridiculed. Before the era of mass media, the recording of cultural imagery was firmly linked to the power of the church and the aristocracy. Painters were commissioned to celebrate the material wealth of owners. Sporting paintings portrayed the horses and dogs of the land -owners (Goldman, 1983). There were also paintings of scenes of carnivalesque celebration, such as the famous Derby Day painting, and of everyday low life showing cock-fighting or dog-fighting. The sporting press began to emerge in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The 1870 Education Act had helped produce a new reading public. The first sports pages began to emerge in 1896 with the launch of the Daily Mail. This initiated the modern era of mass circulation of popular newspapers (Horne, Tomlinson & Whannel, 1999). Instead of having a positive effect on the portrayal of women in sport, the hegemonic group who have dominated sport for all time, are still dictating what images get published. ...read more.

Conclusion

While Gruneau (1983) argues "mass participation in sport during the second half of the twentieth century has meant that class inequality in sport has apparently declined and there is now a leisure mass instead of a leisure class". Ruling class ideology is still evident today and although there have been attempts to reduce its effects, people are still influenced. The prevention or reduction of inequality is a large and important issue. Attempts by the women's liberation groups and the government to establish schemes that allow access to equipment for all - 1997 'Sport for All' campaign. However, strong inequalities still exist in the form of oppression by the ruling classes, stereotyping of women and 'racial' discrimination. Until these are reduced and controlled Britain will remain to fall behind on the athletic stage. Dunning, E et al. (1993) The Sports Process. A Comparative and Developmental Approach, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Goldman, P. (1983) Sporting Life, London: British Museum Hargreaves, Jennifer. (1994) Sporting Females - Critical Issues in the History and Sociology of Women's Sports, London: Routledge Hargreaves, John. (1986) Sport, Power and Culture. A Social and Historical Analysis of Popular Sports in Britain, Cambridge: Polity Press Horne, J. Tomlinson, A & Whannel, G. (1999) Understanding Sport. An Introduction to the Sociological and Cultural Analysis of Sport, London: E & FN Spon Jones, S. (1998) Sport, Politics and the Working Classes, Manchester: Manchester University Press Sandiford, K. (1994) Cricket and the Victorians, Aldershot: Scolar Press Sugden, J. & Bairner, A. (eds) (1999) Sport in Divided Societies, Brighton: Meyer & Meyer Sport ...read more.

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