The Sport and Society Reader  book cover
1st Edition

The Sport and Society Reader

ISBN 9780415772495
Published September 24, 2009 by Routledge
408 Pages

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Book Description

Although everyone loves to watch a fair, evenly matched sports contest, there is no such thing as "pure sport". The Sport and Society Reader is a collection of key scholarly and journalistic articles that demonstrate the ways that the sports we love to watch and the teams we love to root for are embedded in important social structures and processes that undermine sports’ "purity". The volume presents articles on:

  • sports with – more or less – class
  • race matters in sports
  • gender myths and privileges in sports
  • sports and deviance
  • sexuality and sport
  • globalizing sport.

The articles selected are both entertaining and highly illustrative of the links between sport and other areas of social study, resulting in a book that is as compelling as it is useful. In addition, the introductory approach used throughout orients the reader to specific key issues, making The Sport and Society Reader an ideal standalone text for students of all levels.

Davide Karen and Robert E. Washington’s fascinating collection of scholarly and journalistic articles challenges the prevailing perception of sports, and will stimulate discussion in the classroom and beyond. This is essential reading for all students of sports studies, the sociology of sport, and the sociology of culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sport: The Game and the Field  1. The Big Picture: Theorizing Sports from Sociological Perspectives  2. High Brow and Low Brow Contests: Sports with More or Less Class  3. Colouring the Game: Race Matters in Sports  4. Manning the Field: Gender Myths and Privileges in Sports – Constructing Masculinity; Socialization  5. Nice Guys Finish Last: Athletes Out of Bounds and the Problem of Sports and Deviance  6. Certain Kinds of People: Sexuality and Sport  7. Growth of Global Community or Neo-Imperialism? National Cultures and the Internationalization of Sports

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David Karen is a Professor of Sociology at Bryn Mawr College. In addition to his interest in sports, he also focuses on social inequality, the sociology of education, and social movements. With Robert Washington, he wrote "Sport and Society," published in the Annual Review of Sociology.

Robert E. Washington is a Professor of Sociology at Bryn Mawr College. His areas of scholarly interest are sports sociology, race relations, social deviance, and the sociology of culture.


The Sport and Society Reader provides a comprehensive introduction to the sociology of sport, emphasizing central themes and highlighting emerging currents in the field. The selected readings offer critical assessments of race, class, gender, and sexuality from a range of theoretical perspectives. In addition to classic articles by leading scholars, the collection also smartly includes the writings of prominent journalists. The editors deserve praise for cultivating a global persepective, making it of value to students and scholars in the US, UK, and beyond. A highly readable volume, it should find regular use in classrooms. 

- C. Richard King

Professor and Chair

Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies

Washington State University