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SPTE 110

Sport and Entertainment in American Life

This course explores common questions and issues about sport and its relation to society through various sociological and cultural lenses. This course draws on a lifetime in sport as a participant, observer, fan, teacher, coach, administrator, and critic to explore historical perspectives and complex relationships that have emerged between sport and our modern society.

The course will remain grounded in practical application and follows the framework of the previous editions to provide social theories through which students may examine real-world issues. Updated statistical information allows students to analyze trends in participation, popularity, gender, race, and class as they relate to sport.

The course is divided into four parts, maintaining the student-friendly format. Part I presents the framework for study through defining terms and presenting six crucial social theories that are used throughout the rest of the text. Part II addresses various forms of participation in sport, from spectator to participant, recreational to professional, and explores sport marketing and commercialization, as well as the close relationship between sport and media. In part III, the role of sport programs and player development, from youth to intercollegiate, as well as the crucial role of sport coach and its many responsibilities. Part IV delves into sport and culture, focusing on social classifications and their powerful effects on sport participation.

This course will also provide the foundations for examining the multifaceted roles of sport and physical activity in society and for studying sport from a critical perspective. The information and many activities used throughout the course invite students to understand and evaluate the sociocultural issues raised by sport and relate these themes to their own lives. Through this in-depth examination of sociocultural issues, students will be able to understand and appreciate the development of sport as a part and reflection of the development of society.

Download the course syllabus [docx].

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will examine how sport influences and is influenced by society.
  • Students will critically reflect upon the positive and negative consequences of sport in our society.
  • Students will examine the reciprocal relationship between sport and socialization, economics, and religion.
  • Students will recognize the relationship between topics studied in class and examples observed in current sport and entertainment events.