The Sociology of Sports


Typically, sports are physical contests governed by rules to ensure fair competition and consistent adjudication of the winner. Emotional processes contribute to the establishment of a connection between sports and national identity.

The word “sport” originally connoted a balance or proportion. It later developed to mean numerical measurements. This led to the creation of the concept of a sports record in the late 17th century.

In the 20th century, sports were influenced by the advent of transnational cosmopolitan cultures. This era witnessed the development of international social movements. The Cold War era, from the 1950s to the 1990s, displayed a contest between systems. The United States and Soviet bloc were rivals. In both cases, victory was deemed a tribute to national identity.

After World War II, basketball and volleyball emerged as globally popular sports. The first World Cup football tournament was held in 1930. Cricket in South Asia has taken on uniquely Indian attributes. The sport also reflects the postcolonial and imperial past and present.

During the 20th century, sports developed in complex networks. They are bound to unequal power relations. The West remains dominant in design, marketing, and production. In contrast, Asian and African cultures may challenge hegemonic masculine notions of sports. The core sports world includes Russia, South Korea, Australia, and the United States.

A number of universities have established centres for sociology of sports research. In 1966, an international group of sociologists founded a journal on the topic.