Browsing Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences by Journal
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'Friends as enemies': A sociological analysis of the relationship among touring professional golfersThis paper examines the relationship among male touring professional golfers from a figurational sociological standpoint. The paper is based on 20 interviews from players with experience playing at various levels on the EPGA professional tours and a level ‘above’ that. The results indicate a workplace culture where many begin to adopt the attitudes and behaviors that encourage the development of networks of temporary ‘we-group’ alliances. The ‘touring’ aspects of professional golf means many players strive to forge these alliances to help reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation, and homesickness while away for long periods of time. Such stresses are intensified given the globalization of sport generally and the associated increases in labor market migration that has become commonplace. The urge to develop friendship networks constrains players to behave in a manner expected of them rather than in a way that reflects their actual emotions, such as maintaining a positive attitude during difficult times like spells of poor performances and time away from their families. The relationships among players on tour is, however, non-permanent and/or partially changeable. Players are ‘friends’, characterized by togetherness and camaraderie, while, at the same, showing evidence of tensions and conflict as they are ultimately in direct competition with each other for a share of the overall prize money. Key words: professional golf, workplace relations, sport labor migration, figurational sociology, friendship networks
Sporting celebrity and conspicuous consumption: A case study of professional footballers in EnglandAssociation football is a lucrative sport with high financial rewards for top players. However, there has been little empirical work on the lifestyles of professional footballers. Based on interviews with 29 current and former male professional footballers, this paper examines the relationship between money, status and image management within and outside the changing room. The concept of conspicuous consumption is used to help explain players’ attitudes to money, their relationships with others within the football environment and how they advertise their earnings in an environment where open discussion of wages is seen as taboo. Our findings suggest that professional footballers are expected to display a particular image of the professional footballer and this constrains players, even those on lower incomes, to buy expensive clothes and accessories in order to be accepted by others. Players who do not conform to the expected image may be subject to sanctions by their teammates.
Sports participation and the 'obesity/health crisis': Reflections on the case of young people in EnglandThere has been growing concern in recent years about the emergence of a supposed 'health crisis' - in the form of an 'obesity epidemic' - among young people, one of the maincauses of which, it is assumed, is their declining levels of involvement in sport and physical activity. This brief paper offers some critical comments on the taken-for-granted relationship between these two emergent 'crises' and argues that, in contrast to popular opinion, young people are, in fact, doing more sport and physical activity than at any other time in the past, but that this process has co-occurred, and continues to co-occur, with increasing levels of obesity and overweight. In order to begin to adequately explain these co-occurring processes, it is argued that we need to examine young people's lives in their total context, while noting, in particular, the continuing significance of broader social processes and the networks of relationships in which they are involved.
Violence, competition and the emergence and development of modern sports: Reflections on the Stokvis-Malcolm debateThis article discusses the place of violence reducation in the socio-genesis of sports. It focuses on the debate between Dominic Malcolm and Ruud Stokvis.