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SPMT 1312: Sport in Society


"Society" is a broad term. Let's break it down a little using these levels of analysis from Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World

Social categories: A collection of individuals who have at least one attribute in common but otherwise do not necessarily interact.

  • Examples: women, Asian Americans, Christians, etc.

Social Institutions A component of broader social structures, social institutions are patterns of beliefs and behavior that help a society meet its basic needs, often in a systematic way.

  • Nuclear family, capitalism; democracy, Islam, public school, western medicine.

Social Norms: Cultural standards and expectations for behaving

For this class, you may also want to be especially attentive to social phenomena (collective behavior, social movements), systematic stratification, social control, deviance, social class, race and ethnicity, sex and gender, power and authority, social change.

In class assignment

In groups of 2-3 people, choose one of the images below and complete the steps below. Groups will be asked to present your findings at the end of class.

  1. Observe the image and discuss the details of what you see with your group.
  2. Choose one observation or important detail to focus on.
  3. Categorize that observation as part of a broader social pattern. Think about how what you see may relate to social categories, social structures, social norms, etc.
  4. Find a relevant scholarly article or book chapter using the one of the suggested databases
  5. Read the abstract and/or skim the introduction and conclusion of the article.
  6. Be prepared to share your observation, thinking, and article with the class!


woman jumping to spike volleyball

baseball players standing on sidelines smiling after a play