Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 179–197 | Cite as

Research methods in the sociology of sport: Strategies and problems

  • Kurt Jonassohn
  • Allan Turowetz
  • Richard Gruneau
Article

Abstract

The kinds of research questions asked in the sociology of sport are no different from those generated by other substantive areas of sociology. However, while the more established areas of social inquiry have developed methods of research specifically suited to the situation in which their research is done, the sociology of sport has not yet reached this stage of development. The theoretical frameworks borrowed from other areas in sociology generate relevant questions, while the research methods borrowed from other areas in sociology often require adaptation to the particular situations found in the sociology of sport. This paper looks at three specific areas of sports study, and points to those problems that require new adaptations of the available research methods in order to deal with specific situational constraints. These areas may be roughly defined as: (a) the analysis of patterns of ownership in professional sports; (b) the analysis of athletic careers within the occupational culture of sport; and (c) the analysis of sports audiences. The authors conclude that theoretically informed and relevant research can be conducted in these areas provided that researchers are able to find imaginative adaptations of their techniques and procedures.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen, M.P. 1974 “The Structure of Inter-organizational Elite Cooptation: Interlocking Corporate Directorates.” American Sociological Review 39(June), 393–406.Google Scholar
  2. Ball, D. 1975 “A Note on Method in the Sociological Study of Sport.“ in D. Ball and J.W. Loy (eds.) Sport and Social Order: Contributions to the Sociological Study of Sport. Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Brower, J. 1976 “Professional Sports Team Ownership: Fun, Profit and Ideology of the Power Elite.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues I.Google Scholar
  4. Burman, G. 1974 Proceedings of the Conference on the Economics of Professional Sports. Washington: National Football League Players Association.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, M. 1977 “Power Elites and American Sport.” Paper presented at the AAHPER National Meeting, Seattle, Washington, March.Google Scholar
  6. Clement, W. 1975 The Canadian Corporate Elite: An Analysis of Economic Power. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.Google Scholar
  7. —— 1977 Continental Corporate Power: Economic Elite Linkages Between Canada and The United States. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.Google Scholar
  8. Coleman, J.S. 1970 “Properties of Collectivities.” in J.S. Coleman, A. Etzioni, and J. Porter (eds.) Macrosociology: Research and Theory. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  9. Demmert, H.G. 1973 The Economics of Professional Team Sports. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co.Google Scholar
  10. Dexter, L.A. 1970 Elite and Specialized Interviewing. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dye, T.R. 1976 Who's Running America? Institutional Leadership in the United States. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  12. Geertz, C. 1975 The Interpretation of Culture. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  13. Gordon, M. 1977 Researching Canadian Corporations. Toronto: New Hogtown Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gruneau, R.S. 1978 “Elites, Class and Corporate Power in Canadian Sport: Some Preliminary Findings.” in W. Orban and F. Landry (eds.) Sociology of Sports: Proceedings of the International Congress of Physical Activity Sciences. Miami: Symposia Specialists.Google Scholar
  15. —— 1979 Class Sports and Social Development in Canadian Society. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.Google Scholar
  16. Hawley, W.D. and F.M. Wirt 1968 The Search for Community Power. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Helmes, R.C. 1977 Canadian Sport as an Ideological Institution. Unpublished masters thesis, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.Google Scholar
  18. Hoch, P. 1972 Rip Off the Big Game. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  19. Jonassohn, K. 1977 “The Normative Structure of a Spectator Crowd.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, Fredericton, New Brunswick.Google Scholar
  20. Kadushin, C. 1968 “Power, Influence and Social Circles: A New Methodology for Studying Opinion Makers.” American Sociological Review 33(October), 685–699.Google Scholar
  21. Kiviaho, P. and M. Simola 1974 “Who Leads Sport in Finland?” Gripainos Sosiologia 5–6.Google Scholar
  22. Loy, J. and A. Ingham 1973 “Play, Games and Sport in the Psychosocial Development of Children and Youth.” in G.B. Rasick (ed.) Physical Activity: Human Growth and Development. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Loy, J. 1972 “Sociology and Physical Education.” in R. Singeret al. (eds.) Physical Education: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  24. Loy, J. and J. Seagrave 1974 “Research Methodology in the Sociology of Sport.” in J. Wilmore (ed.) Exercise and Sport Sciences Review Vol. II. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Luschen, G. 1974 “Policy-Making in Sport Organizations and Their Executive Personnel.” Current Research in Sociology. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  26. Mariolis, P. 1975 “Interlocking Directorates and Control of Corporations: The Theory of Bank Control.” Social Science Quarterly 56(December), 425–439.Google Scholar
  27. McPherson, B. 1976a “Involuntary Turnover and Organization Effectiveness in the National Hockey League.” in R.S. Gruneau and J.G. Albinson (eds.) Canadian Sport: Sociological Perspectives. Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  28. —— 1976b “Sport Consumption and the Economics of Consumerism.” in D. Ball and J.W. Loy (eds.) Sport and Social Order. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  29. Mills, C.W. 1970 The Sociological Imagination. Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  30. Nagel, J.H. 1976 “Description and Explanation in Power Analysis.” in T.R. Burns and W. Buckley (eds.) Power and Control: Social Structures and Their Transformation. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Noll, R. 1974 Government and the Sports Business. Washington: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  32. Porter, J. 1965 The Vertical Mosaic. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  33. Rickert, H. 1926 Kulturwissenschaft Und Naturwissenschaft. Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 5th Ed.Google Scholar
  34. Schatzman, L. and A. Strauss 1973 Field Research: Strategies for a Natural Sociology. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  35. Scott, M. 1968 The Racing Game. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  36. Smith, M. 1975 “Sport and Collective Violence.” in D. Ball and J. Loy (eds.) Sport and Social Order. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  37. Sonquist, I. and T. Koenig 1975 “Interlocking Directorates in the Top U.S. Corporations: A Graph Theory Approach.” Insurgent Sociologist 5(Spring), 196–229.Google Scholar
  38. —— —— 1976 “Examining Corporate Interconnections Through Interlocking Directorates.” in T.R. Burns and W. Buckley (eds.) Power and Control: Social Structures and Their Transformation. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Spencer, G. 1973 “Methodological Issues in the Study of Bureaucratic Elites: A Case Study of West Point.” Social Problems 21(1)(Summer), 90–103.Google Scholar
  40. Stone, G.P. 1955 “American Sport: Play and Display.” Chicago Review 9(Fall), 83–100.Google Scholar
  41. —— 1971 “Wrestling: The Great American Passion Play.” in E. Dunning (ed.) The Sociology of Sport. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  42. Turowetz, A. and M. Rosenberg 1975 “The Wrestler and the Physician: Identity Work-Up and Organizational Arrangements.” in D. Ball and J. Loy (eds.) Sport and Social Order. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  43. Vaz, E. 1972 “The Culture of Young Hockey Players; Some Initial Observations.” in A.W. Taylor (eds.) Training: A Scientific Basis and Application. Springfield, III.: Charles C. Thomas Publishers.Google Scholar
  44. Weber, M. 1949 The Methodology of the Social Sciences. Glencoe, III.: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  45. Weinberg, S.K. and H. Arond 1971 “The Occupational Culture of the Boxer.” in E. Dunning (ed.) The Sociology of Sport. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  46. Zeitlin, M. 1974 “Corporate Ownership and Control: The Large Corporation and the Capitalist Class.” American Journal of Sociology 79, pp. 1073–1119.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Jonassohn
    • 1
  • Allan Turowetz
    • 2
  • Richard Gruneau
    • 3
  1. 1.Concordia UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Dawson CollegeCanada
  3. 3.Queen's UniversityCanada

Personalised recommendations