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How Can Sociological Theory Inform Our Understanding of Sport and Leisure in Contemporary Society?

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The purpose of this essay is find out how can sociological theory inform our understanding of sport and leisure in contemporary society? Sociology is the study of the development, structure, and functioning of the human society. " the discovery of sociology can change your life. It can help you to understand the social forces that constrain you and free you as you go about living you life." (Hensling, 1999; 1-2)

Sport is a big part of many societies throughout the world. The main sport associated with England from an international perspective is football. However within England there are many different sporting societies for example Wigan is widely know in England as a rugby town, and Manchester is widely know for football due to the achievements of the two premiership football clubs that reside there. This essay will consider how sociology plays a part in these stereotypes and also other issues relating to female sport participation and the differences between female and male sports participation and why there are these differences.

One theory easily linked with sport is the feminist approach to sport and leisure. This theory states that women are treated inferiorly to men within the sport and leisure. "the culture of femininity is based on the social construction of women's roles and behaviour. The ideology of biology emphasises women as passive and submissive and presents them in appearance, dress and style in terms of their sexuality" (Sheila Scraton, Boys muscle In where angels fear to tread, cited in the sports studies reader) Women's sport throughout history have been less successful than men, dating all the way back to our first know history it has always been the men who were partaking in sport for example in 310 BCE the gladiator games were held which was a male orientated sport to the death, the fiorst evidence of woman in organised teams only dates back to 1860. The feminist approach's key finding within sport and leisure are the participation and spectatorship, gender stereotyping in the mass media, homophobia, and the emphasis on cosmetic fitness. A current aspect of the feminist approach would be gender stereotyping within mass media. Media can have a huge influence within current society and one fact to point out would be the lack of advertisement and televised female sport compared with male sport. The feminism approach suggest that the reason for this is women have historically had restricted opportunities, they play less sport than men, they are underrepresented as sports spectators and they have institutional barriers. Recent years have seen women's sport more advertised and equally paid for example the women's tennis has recently had the prize money for wimbled matched to the that of male tennis. There are also organisations promoting womens sport and fighting for the rights on women in sport. "in 1974 the American professional tennis player Billie Jean King



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