Inside Sports

Inside Sports

Inside Sports

Inside Sports


How do people become involved in sports? What can their experiences teach us? These are two of the many questions asked by this unique collection of personal stories of people involved in sport. Told by researchers who have interviewd participants and observed what happens in the setting where people play sports, the contributions not only show how sport studies contribute to the wider study of society, but also describe the difficulties and challenges faced when doing research of this kind. Inside Sports is divided into four main sections reflecting the social processes and developments over time that make up the experience of sport for most people, however diverse their circumstances may otherwise be: * Early experiences: being introduced to sports * Experience and identity: becoming an athlete * Deep in the experience: doing sports * Transition experiences: facing life beyond the playing field. In its extensive coverage of the sporting experience from within, as well as its discussion of research methods, Inside Sports will be essential reading for all students studying sport in society.


A primary goal in most sociology of sport courses is to acquaint students with theory and research on sport in society. of course, those of us who teach these courses hope to achieve this goal in ways that make sense to our students and create in them a sense of excitement about what they can learn about culture and society when they study sports.

Many of us use one of the introductory sociology of sport texts as required reading in our courses. But we often use additional articles or books to give students a taste of the research we do on sport-related topics, or to give them an inside look at what happens in connection with particular sport experiences or within a particular sport context. When we choose these additional articles and books we often consider whether we want students to read research that is published in academic journals or whether we want them to read more popularized accounts of sports and sport participation written by athletes or journalists. When we (Peter and Jay) have faced this choice in our own courses we have wished there was a book that introduced research in the sociology of sport in a way that was directed at beginning students and written to provide them with an interesting and informative learning experience. This collection is designed to satisfy that wish.

Inside Sports contains twenty-two chapters, each of which has been written for the introductory sociology of sport student. None of them presumes that readers have had a previous sociology course. Twenty of the chapters are written by social scientists. They summarize their research projects and highlight some of their most interesting findings in a straightforward and personalized manner. Two of the articles are written by women who do not identify themselves as social scientists, but who have unique insights associated with their sport experiences as an athlete or as a member of a family containing a professional athlete.

Every person we asked to write a chapter for this book accepted our invitation. Most of them teach sociology of sport courses and they were eager to take on the challenge of presenting their research to beginning students in their own classes. All the authors enjoyed this challenge. the result is that we have assembled a collection that puts our students in touch with research in the sociology of sport and presents research findings in an accessible and exciting way.

Taken together, these chapters give readers an opportunity to move Inside Sports through the insights and concepts provided by sociology. Reading them not only puts readers in touch with the excitement and dynamics of sport participation, but also connects them with the challenge and excitement of doing sociological research and discovering things about human beings, social relationships, and social life.

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