Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 33–46

Performances and negotiations: A case study of a wrestling referee

  • Charles W. Smith

DOI: 10.1007/BF01006417

Cite this article as:
Smith, C.W. Qual Sociol (1982) 5: 33. doi:10.1007/BF01006417


The experience of a wrestling referee is examined in terms of the performances and negotiations that take place. The author concludes that the role of referee sheds considerable light on the process of normative negotiations. The referee is responsible for maintaining social order in tenuous social situations. The audience's vision of the “idealized” sporting contest can never be realized. It is the referee's job to personally take on the inconsistencies and ambiguities of reality and to ritualistically transform the actual contest into the ordered contest they all desire.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Queens CollegeCUNYFlushing

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