In this paper symbolic inclusion/exclusion processes in sport with respect to gender and ethnicity among adolescents (n = 1025) are analyzed from a social-critical perspective. It was found that sport participation preferences of young people are still influenced by dominant normative gendered and racial/ethnic images. Sport can serve not only as an agent of integration among youth, but is also used to differentiate and discriminate. On one hand sport participation is less predictable with respect to gender, due for example to interactions with ethnicity. Although ethnic minority girls participate the least in sport, ‘black,’ traditional ‘masculine‘ sports such as soccer and fighting/self-defense are valued relative highly. On the other hand, the data show that especially the male adolescents symbolically exclude girls from ‘masculine’ sports such as soccer; in addition for both ethnic minority and majority boys the fear of being labelled as a ‘sissy’ works as a strong mechanism of self-exclusion from participation in traditional ‘feminine’ sports. However, stereotypical normative images are not only confirmed through sport (participation), but also continually challenged.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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