sociology and its application to sport

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Catherine Allen        SA2        

The social and personal influences on sport participation

The following factors can have an effect on a person's participation in

Health & Well Being                                                 Social Groupings


Health & Well Being

To stay healthy, you need to keep fit and to keep fit you need to exercise and eat healthy.

Social Groupings

As social beings, we need to learn social behaviour to fit in and doing sport teaches us with confidence and co operation. By doing different activities you make new friends and learn to do new things. You get the feeling that you have a value to society. A common reason an individual does a sport or exercise of any kind is because he/she friends are participating in it as well.


A person’s education can have an effect on what sports they participate in because in different schools, they participate in different sports. If it was a private school the sports that you are most likely to participate in are polo, rugby and badminton. If you went to a public school then you are most likely to play football, tennis and netball.

Reasons for participation in sport and physical activity

Individuals generally recognised there are health benefits of physical activity and sport.

Weight management, social interaction and enjoyment of exercise are also common reasons for participation.

Concerns about body shape were the main reasons for the participation for women.

A number of studies reported pressure to conform to popular ideals of beauty as important reasons for teenage girls being physically active. Girls were also more likely to participate if the activity emphasised fun and enjoyment and provided the opportunity for social interaction with friends.

Along with general health benefits, older people identified the importance of physical activity in staving off the effects of ageing.

Social dancing was successful in maintaining participation in older people. Participants described dance as challenging traditional expectations of older people being physically infirm. As people aged and became less physically able, graduated levels of dancing meant continued participation was possible.

Participation was also maintained across other major life events such as bereavement because other participants at dances provided a support network.

Discuss the application of sociological theories of sport

The sociology of sport is a sub-discipline of sociology that looks at the relationship between sport and society. Sport is a part of life; it has been created, shaped and sustained by members of societies. Sport is not separate from 'real life' it is part of it. Look at the attention, time and money we devote to sport and the myriad of activities it covers. Sport does not simply mean competing but we can participate in sport as players, spectators, officials, and business. In one way you can think of sport as a reflection of society but it is more than that in the fact sport and society interact. Why is sport so important? Why has sport changed and how is this change related to changes in society? Why do people enjoy sports? What are people's experiences of sport?

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Sociology is divided into a number of different theories, many of which work together, that try to explain the development of society and peoples behaviour.

Marxism: (Conflict Theory) Well a Marxist viewpoint may concentrate on the economic and class structures of sport and set out to show how sports keep people in their places and the exploitative aspects of sport. Marxists may put forward proposals that they see make sport more equal to all.

Conflict Theory: Are Sports All About Money and Economic Power?

 Is based on the idea of social control and manipulation by powerful ...

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