Citation

Bringing Sport Back In: Sport as a Model of Meritocracy: Theoretical Implications and a Research Agenda

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Abstract:

Sport represents a unique example of meritocratic fairness in contemporary societies. Reflecting the meritoctratic normative standard for the distribution of rewards in capitalist democracies, sports contests not only represent the highest expression of that meritocratic ideal, they constitute its cultural template. Having both greater popularity and public transparency than other institutions, sports demonstrate most clearly the links between meritocratic practices -- choosing and rewarding the most talented individuals, independent of background and/or connections -- and organizational success ( i.e. winning).
This paper provides examples of how developments within sports have broadened our American norms of fair competition. Focusing on the institutional dynamics within sports, it highlights the pressures on sports organizations to adopt and expand meritocratic practices despite the pull of non-meritocratic norms. It illustrates the differences in the speed manifested by different teams in their adoption of meritocratic practices and the consequences of resistance, notably the costs of failure/losing for those who lagged behind. Finally, it presents an analytical framework for understanding the components of fairness that operate in sports. More broadly it asks: Where does the American conception of meritocratic practices in sports fit into a universalistic notion of fairness and how does this conception compare with conceptions of fair competition in different societies throughout the world? Based on this framework, the paper concludes with a research agenda, which poses empirical questions, exploring varied issues about sport as a cultural vehicle exemplifying and expanding norms of fair competition, that range from cross-sport and historical to cross-national investigations.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

sport (221), institut (113), meritocrat (92), field (75), fair (69), logic (62), societi (60), team (59), competit (55), practic (49), differ (45), level (42), contest (42), public (35), equal (34), exampl (33), educ (29), within (27), compet (26), organiz (26), play (25),
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.asanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p504300_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Karen, David. and Washington, Robert. "Bringing Sport Back In: Sport as a Model of Meritocracy: Theoretical Implications and a Research Agenda" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV, Aug 20, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p504300_index.html>

APA Citation:

Karen, D. and Washington, R. E. , 2011-08-20 "Bringing Sport Back In: Sport as a Model of Meritocracy: Theoretical Implications and a Research Agenda" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p504300_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Sport represents a unique example of meritocratic fairness in contemporary societies. Reflecting the meritoctratic normative standard for the distribution of rewards in capitalist democracies, sports contests not only represent the highest expression of that meritocratic ideal, they constitute its cultural template. Having both greater popularity and public transparency than other institutions, sports demonstrate most clearly the links between meritocratic practices -- choosing and rewarding the most talented individuals, independent of background and/or connections -- and organizational success ( i.e. winning).
This paper provides examples of how developments within sports have broadened our American norms of fair competition. Focusing on the institutional dynamics within sports, it highlights the pressures on sports organizations to adopt and expand meritocratic practices despite the pull of non-meritocratic norms. It illustrates the differences in the speed manifested by different teams in their adoption of meritocratic practices and the consequences of resistance, notably the costs of failure/losing for those who lagged behind. Finally, it presents an analytical framework for understanding the components of fairness that operate in sports. More broadly it asks: Where does the American conception of meritocratic practices in sports fit into a universalistic notion of fairness and how does this conception compare with conceptions of fair competition in different societies throughout the world? Based on this framework, the paper concludes with a research agenda, which poses empirical questions, exploring varied issues about sport as a cultural vehicle exemplifying and expanding norms of fair competition, that range from cross-sport and historical to cross-national investigations.


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