Sport is an important aspect of Western culture. Our engagement with sport and other forms of physical activity often begins early in our lives and helps provide us with an understanding of our social worlds. Sport intersects many social institutions, such as the state, religious institutions, the family, and our education system. When we participate in sport (as spectators, workers, athletes, etc.) we learn about our identity and the identities of others. We gain a social understanding about issues associated with age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and national identities.

Given the significance of sport in Canada, it is important that we critically examine sport and the practices associated with it. In this class, we will disrupt common-sense understandings of sport in order to unpack the ways that sport produces particular power relations. 

We will first examine why it is important to study sport from a sociological perspective.  Once we have established this, we will begin to ask questions about the role of sport in social life. We will address questions such as:

  • Are sports good for children?
  • What is the role of sport in family life?
  • Do sports bring people together?
  • How do sports inform our understanding of others and ourselves?
  • Who benefits from participation in sport?

Using our sociological imaginations, we will reflect on our own experiences in sport. This course will focus on social engagement, allowing us to consider the ways we can change sport practices to make them better.