Sociology of Sports

Sociology of Sports . It is an area of sociology that focuses on sport as a social phenomenon and on social structures, employers and organizations or groups committed to sport.


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  • 1 Related concepts
    • 1 Sociology
    • 2 Sport
  • 2 Emergence of Sports Sociology
  • 3 Tasks
  • 4 Sources

Related concepts


(from the Latin socius, socio, and from the Greek logos ) is the social science that studies the collective phenomena produced by the social activity of human beings within the historical-cultural context in which they are immersed.

In sociology, multiple interdisciplinary research techniques are used to analyze and interpret from different theoretical perspectives the causes, meanings and cultural influences that motivate the appearance of various behavioral trends in the human being, especially when it is in social coexistence and within a habitat or “space-time” shared.


Physical activity in which a set of rules must be respected and which is carried out with a competitive zeal and produces a winner. Sports are entertainment for those who practice it and for the spectators. It is governed by the federations of the different specialties.

Emergence of Sports Sociology

The need to interpret and explain the various forms of human behavior are present from the moment that man begins to develop life in groups.

As a scientific discipline and despite all the crises and questions of its scientific value, Sociology, especially since the Second World War and with a marked increase in recent years, has been characterized by the appearance of many of the so-called intermediate or sociological theories. Special sociologies: Medical Sociology, Political Sociology, Consuno, ect.

The so-called Sports Sociology represents one of these sociological, special or intermediate sub-disciplines that includes sport within its field, especially from its social factors and the incidents between subjects within the social relationships that are established on the basis and from this. For Jay Coakley “the sociology of sport is a sub-discipline that emphasizes the relationship between sport and society, its scope includes individual and group action in their social relationship with sport, it deals with how society changes sport and how sport can cause changes in society ”.

Although it is for the first time in 1921 that a work entitled Sociology of Sports (Sociología del Deporte, Heinz Risse, 1921) appears in which, through a formal sociological approach, sport is identified, especially competitive and is attributed to this the function of forming the will is not until the end of the Second World War, which arises together with the explosion of sociological sub-disciplines, the Sociology of Sport as a scientific discipline in charge of explaining the sociological phenomena generated in the field of sport.

The following conditions affect the emergence of Sports Sociology.

  1. The general expansion of Sociology and its legitimate fields of work, accompanied by an expansion of material and personal resources.
  2. The claim of sport as a legitimate object of investigation in a changed situation that no longer carries the task of such strong prejudices.
  3. The expansion of the sports institution and, in relation to this, the need for scientific research promoted both by Sociology and sports sciences as well as by official events and sports federations.
  4. The promotion of this field and of young scientists with interests in a series of representative authorities of Sociology in general, among which are, René Koenig, Helmunt Plessner, Helmunt Scheisky in the FRG and Erik Allardt, Norbert Elías, Max Gluckman, Roger Giror, David Riesman, and Tyuzu Takeroshita in the international arena.
  5. The constitution of its own research committee within the International Sociological Society, organized by the World Sports Council linked to UNESCO .

This moment marks the beginning of Sports Sociology from the institutional point of view, but an interest in the sociological problem of sport did not really appear until the 1960s when events occurred, such as the involvement of the media (especially television ) with the Olympic sport (Roma 60), the evident relationship of sport with politics. Similarly, in the educational field, sport began to occupy solid spaces, without neglecting in this sense the immense repercussion and social importance that the sporting phenomenon already had.

The renowned American sports sociologist Jay Coakley, reaffirms the above when he points out that it is unlikely that the origin of a Sports Sociology is due solely to the mere fact that sport is part of society. In his opinion, what provokes an interest in sociological knowledge within sport is:

  • The marked interest shown by the sport’s organizers in the face of the range of problems it generated.
  • The growing popularity that the sport was increasingly achieving, especially through entertainment.
  • The political and economic interest that was beginning to awaken through sport.

In a general sense, we can consider that the process of institutionalization of Sports Sociology is located in a period that goes from the sixties, when the aforementioned occurs, until the eighties that breaks into the academic world. That is to say, a whole long process of two decades that was contributing elements to the consolidation of the sub-discipline.


Regarding the object of study of this subdiscipline, it has been insisted since its origins that at a general level, Sports Sociology must develop a theory that helps in the explanation of observable actions and behaviors in this field; It must explain and predict the structure of the sports institution as well as its social and cultural factors.

The tasks of the sociology of sport can be grouped into two socially significant problems:

  • The problem of achieving the massiveness of the sports movement and physical culture.
  • The solution of the social problems of sport, of sporting activity.

The priority task of the sociology of physical culture and sports is the study of the factors that allow fully to achieve the massiveness of the sports movement and physical culture. These factors are both objective and subjective. In this sense there is its division into two groups.

The first group presents the objective factors that determine the massiveness of sports classes and physical culture. These are referred to:

  • The level of development of the material base of physical culture and sport.
  • The preparation of professional cadres, their membership and quality of teaching.

The second group presents the subjective factors that influence the solution of the problem of the massiveness of sports activity and physical culture. They are related:

  • The formation of social opinion and individual conscience in relation to the assimilation of the values ​​of physical culture and sport.
  • The formation of stable motives, of the population’s evaluative orientations on sports activity and physical culture.
  • Education in the population of the need for sports activity and physical culture, updating the values ​​of health, the level of physical preparation, the personality of physical culture in the general hierarchy of human values and of society.

No less important for the sociology of physical culture and sport is the task of solving the social problems of sport.


by Abdullah Sam
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