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I have attached the file below. please read the discussion lecture and complete the discussion question which is on the last page. The discussion question is based off first half of Chapter 5. The post must be minimum of 2 paragraphs. The topic is about sports/cultures. Complete the post from a guys perspective.
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While sport and society in America (and Canada) are assumed to be egalitarian and
meritocratic, in reality class, race, gender, location, and other socio-demographic
characteristics matter and affect our opportunities to succeed. Sport is often assumed to
be egalitarian because it seen to promote interaction across social, class, and racial
lines. In addition, we view sport as meritocratic because people with talent regardless of
social backgrounds can be upwardly mobile via sport. While there is some truth to this,
it doesn’t adequately represent the whole picture. Sport is highly stratified and our
opportunities to succeed are unequal.
Before we get into the chapter, I want to briefly point out the best way to understand
stratification, life chances, advantages, and disadvantages is by layering key sociodemographic characteristics. Rarely, can a single characteristic explain stratification
completely, however, a collection of key variables can explain quite a bit of the social
world. For example, think of our four most recent presidents’ children. Will any of them
ever be poor? Probably not. I would bet everyone of them will have more money in the
bank and have fancier jobs than any of us. No matter how hard any of us try (or how
incapable some of them may be), we probably won’t catch up to any of them. While
some of our recent presidents’ children will face some discrimination due to their race or
due to their gender, they will likely have more opportunities than we do, even if we work
harder. Moreover, if I was born a Du Pont rather than just a Dupont, my chances and
opportunities would have been much greater, since the Du Pont family has been one of
the richest families in America for at least 150 years and they have a great deal of
political, economic, and social prestige. When thinking about stratification think about
how class, race, gender, location, parent’s education, etc. affect our life chances and
think about how these key variables interact with one another. (Also please take the
time to watch William Julius Wilson’s discussion of “The Truly
Disadvantaged” https://youtu.be/JWULMYl05B4?t=580 .)
Functionalists view inequality and stratification in society as essential for the efficient
process of society. Functionalists explain that inequality and stratification helps society
by pushing and pulling people into specific jobs. The idea is that rewards motivate
people to take on the most important positions in society. They argue without (unequal)
rewards people won’t have the drive to work hard. However, I would suggest thinking
about if this is true? Are all members of the upper-class hard workers? Are all members
of the lower-class unmotivated? Also, what exactly do we mean by rewards and what
do we mean by unequal rewards? (What did Plato say about inequality in
society http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/laws.5.v.html ? ). Why do short-haul truckers work
really hard to complete as many trips as possible in a single day, even though they are
paid by the hour? Why do I show up for work as a professor when I would make more
money as a correctional officer in New York (a few correctional officers made 4x what I
did last year and they didn’t need to go to school for a million years)? Also, what counts
as important work? In my former home state of Arizona, the highest paid state
employee is U of A’s football coach. Is he the most important state employee in
Arizona? In 2011, SUNY Binghamton’s basketball coach made 500K more than the Chief
of the SUNY Downstate Cardiovascular Medicine Division. Is this moving society in the right
direction? These are rhetorical questions, but ones worth thinking about. Moreover, I
can’t remember if I have suggested this in our class or not, but you may be interested in
John Rawls’ ideas on how to structure society
(see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcL66zx_6No ).
Conflict and cultural theorists may look at inequality in society and say those who own
companies or hospitals (the shareholders) are not helping us, but exploiting us. In
addition, unequal life chances create stable classes of workers and owners, which
retards socio-economic mobility, which may actually prevent the most talented from
moving into position that will take us forward and may keep lesser skilled, but
advantaged people, in positions of power, which only slows our society’s progression (
think of the recent college bribe scandal and take a look at this interactive chart that
maps class mobility in America https://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/national/class/15MOBILITYWEB.html). Ironically, the American rags-to-riches dream is more likely in other countries.
So what does inequality in the United States actually look like? Well 14% of Americans
live in poverty and 33% of Americans describe their situation as “just getting by.” 35% of
black Americans live in poverty and 33% of Hispanic Americans live in poverty. 1% of
our country controls 38% percent of the wealth and the top 20% controls 80% of our
nations wealth. The bottom 21% only control 1% of our nations wealth. Moreover, the
middle-class’s share of the national income has shrunk from 62% in 1970 to 43% today.
America has become more unequal in the past five decades. While we like to view
ourselves as a classless society, we are a classed society. Economic class is an
important material, symbolic, and social distinction.
In addition, those with higher incomes are more likely to participate in sport activities.
More specifically, those with high-incomes, high levels of education, and high status
jobs have the highest rates of of sport participation and attendance at sports games.
The difference may come from cost of sport participation as some sports are just
expensive. For example, if I wanted to go golfing tomorrow at the public course near my
mom’s condo it would cost me $120. This may be cheap compared to places in SF, but
it would take a significant bite out of my weekly budget or if I wanted to go
snowboarding at Big Bear this winter it would have cost a total of $86 for a lift ticket and
a board rental (and thats before I got ripped off for gross lodge food).
While cost may be a barricade for some, for the wealthy it may actually be a pull to
participate in some activities. Participating in expensive sports that require a flexible
schedule and wealth may be understood as a status symbol. Let me use a common
Russian joke to emphasize the point. There were two oligarchs having lunch together
and during their meal they realized that they were both wearing the same tie. The first
oligarch asked his friend, “How much did you pay for that tie?” His friend responded,
“Oh, this? I paid $500 for it at GUM (the fancy department store next to Red Square).”
The first oligarch responded, “That is too bad. You could have bought it in London for
$1,000.” The joke here being that the wealthy oligarchs compete over who paid the
most rather than the most of us who might brag about getting a good deal.
Moreover, the professional class are more likely to engage in sports for the health
benefits and physical fitness aspects. Interestingly, when corporations provide facilities
professionals love it and the working-class are not into it. This may be because those
with lower social status are not interested in the activities the corporations provide,
because blue-collar workers may mistrust management, and because they may resent
the money being spent on exercise equipment instead of the money being spent on
their actual needs.
The differences among classes continue when we look at spectator behaviors and
preferences as well. The wealthy are more likely to see games in person. Tickets for the
NFL average around $100 dollars and corporations often obtain blocks of seats, even
though the stadiums are publicly funded. Moreover, even within the games the classes
are often informally segregated from one another. The tickets vary wildly in their costs
(box seats at Yankee Stadium can be a million dollars for the season) and the wealthy
are unlikely to pay for nose-bleed seats. In addition, the “normal” behavior for sporting
events wildly differ among the various sports. At pseudo sport events that appeal to
working class audiences (WWF), the audience may be expected to yell, scream, and
get into the action. This is unlike a golf or tennis tournament where the audience is
expected to be quiet and calm (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpPswSt41Nk).
When it comes to watching games on TV the wealthy watch golf and tennis, while those
who have high school degree or less watch auto racing, demolition derbies, tractor
pulls, bowling, and pro wrestling. Why are lower income individuals attracted to boxing,
strongest man competitions, UFC, and racing? It may be because of the speed, the
machines, the daring associated with these activities, the physical strength, and the
violence. Blue-collar work can be seen as rote and repetitive, these activities built
around speed and daring may be exciting escape and represent working class
masculinity, which is often centered on physical toughness and strength.
DISCUSSION QUESTION
For todays response I want you to generally respond to the chapter as always, also I
want you to watch at least 15 minutes of sports game of your choosing and write
down every sponsor for the game and every advertisement you see. Holistically, think about what these
sponsors might indicate about the sport’s audience. As a group why are they
sponsoring this particular event opposed to another event? (The book talks about
sponsorship and indicators of the audience make sure you read this part over. Also, list
every single sponsor you see during those 15 minutes in your post.)
Finally, I know TV is becoming outdated as we often stream things on our computers or
phones, but I’d like you to watch your sports even on a regular TV or a streaming
service that has advertisements and commercial breaks.
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