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A sport involves a balance between the elements of play and spectacle. You have a choice between participating in a sport in which the elements of play are emphasized or a sport in which th

Unit 1: Discussion

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Instructions

You MUST participate in online discussions with your classmates. There will be discussion threads for each unit in which you will have to conduct online conversations about not only what you have read in the text, but also discuss class activities. You will be assessed on answering the questions and contributions to the discussion ("I agree with your post" does not constitute a post…You must add to the discussion). You are required to complete a minimum of three (3) posts in the discussion section:

  • Initial Post (8 points) Please choose one of the given questions for your primary post. You must include at least one citation from the text in your discussion.
    This post is due by Thursday at midnight (CST).
  • Response Posts (8 points total) – Respond to at least two different classmate’s posts. Your response must:
    • Be a substantial post.  (Putting “I agree” is not enough of a contribution).
    • Include citations referencing your readings in your responses to your classmates.
  • Grammar, Spelling, and Citations (4 points total) 
    Your response posts are due by Sunday at midnight (CST).

See Assignments and Grading for additional information.

This Unit's Questions

Question 1: A sport involves a balance between the elements of play and spectacle. You have a choice between participating in a sport in which the elements of play are emphasized or a sport in which the elements of spectacle are emphasized. Which one would you choose? Explain why you chose one over the other.

Question 2: Which mainstream sport in the U.S. is closest to becoming dramatic spectacle? Give reasons for your choice and illustrate what would be necessary to prevent that sport from becoming dramatic spectacle.

Question 3: According to definitions in the text, wrestling may be a form of play, a sport, or dramatic spectacle. Give examples of “wrestling” in each of these three forms and discuss the factors that lead it to be classified in each of these three categories.

Question 4: Some sociologists study sports in society because sports are tied closely to ideologies in societies. Explain what is meant by “ideologies” and then show how sports are related to ideas about gender, race, and social class.

Question 5: One of your friends tells you that you should drop your sociology of sport course because he has knowledge about sports that is based on his personal theories. His knowledge and theories, he claims, are just as valid as any of the theories you will learn in the course. You tell him that there’s a difference between his personal theories and sociological theories, and he wants you to explain the differences. What is your explanation?

Question 6: You have been hired to do a study of why so many athletes are willing to play while they are in pain or injured. Explain which theories (cultural, interactionist, or structural) you would use to guide you in the research process. What kinds of questions would you ask, what would be your focus of analysis, and what concepts would you use in your study?

Question 7: You have been appointed to a university research committee that has been charged to study gender and intercollegiate sports on your campus. You decide that Messner’s (in your text) work on gender and sport provides an excellent model for your project. Discuss what in particular you would study and why is it important to study it in order to contribute to better knowledge of sports.

Question 8: There are two major approaches to defining and understanding “disability” in people’s lives and in our social worlds. One is medical/psychological and the other is social/political. Explain the differences between these two approaches and how they lead to very different strategies for dealing with disabilities particularly when dealing with sport participation.

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