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Analysis Of Factors That Influence Socialization In Recreation And Sports

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Socialization in sports always happen in interaction from the rest of society. Sport is a social representation of historical, Social and Cultural forces and the same time it affirms, Legitimated and reproduces those very same conditions.

According to (Greendorfer and Bruce 1991:137) ‘Sport reduces social reality and transmits those aspects of culture that convey meaning about the social, Political and the economic order of society; about gender race; and class relations about the body and physical activity ‘

Also Eitizen and Sage (1987) described socialization as the ‘process of learning and adapting to a given social system'(77)

Some of the factors that influence socialization in Sports and Recreation are mentioned below;


Influence of race and ethnicity in our society are among other many important societal factors which affect participation in sporting events.

Race is defined or known as a group of people characterized by physical or biological traits, whereas Ethnicity refers to group of people characterized by their cultural heritage and traditions.

Some of the incidences whereby this race and ethnicity factors are seen or apply it’s like in example; If we focus on elite levels of Basketball, Football or Track, it’s likely we will find relatively large percentage of African-Americans and also Caucasians will also be found in this category in the field.


Socialization into sports is often gender-based thing and the process differs for boys and girls and this is due to the stereotypical assumption that boys are supposed to be more active compared to girls and also that sporting activities are more appropriate for boys than to girls.

According to most of early research showed that sports and games were the top most important factors young boys used to compare their social standing with their fellow peers(Veroffi 1996)

Duda(1981)found out that both boys and girls found it very important to be successful in sports, but that it was more important for boys to succeed in a sporting context than for girls. Physical competence was the most important status criterion for adolescence males. It seems as through differing opportunity exist for boys and girls and that peers have an important influence on individual’s perception of competence and success in sports that’s according to Eitzen (1976)

Continued participation of now both boys and girls is facted directly by this influence thus clearly providing an uneven social context, which disadvantages the girls in this case.

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Social Class is known to be the difference between the rich and the poor ,whereby their standards and level of living is different.

When opportunities in sports are examined, social class becomes a factor which influence socialization in sports. A child from a family which has limited income, will have fewer opportunities to join ‘the club’ to play any game, for instance; to play tennis, to play golf, go surfing in the ocean, go snow skiing in the mountains or even water skiing behind the new modern boat. Those types of activities are only open to those children whose parents have money to access the sites and the necessary equipment. People with less money are limited to public-funded facilities or those requiring only limited equipments and small participation fees and the access is more open.

Based on the above statement, it’s clear that children have differing opportunities to participate in physical activities based upon income levels of their parents or guardians. This difference go well beyond even affecting people ability of participation to become spectators ;this is brought forth due to ricing events tickets yet you find that not all can afford a certain amount of entry or the entrance fee.


Geographical Location is defined as the position or the place where a town or state is located. This may be an influence because if you take an example with a child from the Northern parts of the Country let’s say United States; the child will know how to play ice skating, how to play ice hockey this child cannot be compared to a child who comes or lives in the Southern climates where there are no such activities.

Similarly, a child from coastal regions let’s say around the coastline region will have greater chance to surf because he/she gat good access to the ocean compared to a child who has no access to those coastal areas or regions.

Geographical influence due to the geographical differences do not explain the greater variance on sporting opportunities for children in the same geographical area or region.


Multiple experiences and multiple decisions about whether to be involved in sports and each new experience is filtered through the social and cultural context of an individual in which it’s situated and this can be defined as Socialization process. After the initial entry into sport, children have gained the experiences necessary to develop perceptions about their own involvement in physical activity.

Eceles (Parisons’) Expectancy Model(1983),which incorporates both social and psychological variables, has been used to examine participation in sports (Eceles (Parasons’)et al, 1983).Eceles model foregrounds the concept that parents develop expectations for their own previous experiences in sporting activities (Ecceles and Harold, 1991).

Later on, the child develops her/his own expectations thereby influencing the choices for involvement and expected achievement in various activities. One is provided the opportunity to become involved in sport his/her perception are influenced by societal factors which include; Cultural and gender stereotypes, values and expected behaviors, personal characteristics (example, beliefs, aptitudes and talents) and past experiences.


I started this chapter by using some peoples description like Greendorfer and Bruce (1991) of sport within the society, then I also described socialization as the ‘process of learning and adapting to a given social system'(Eitzen and Sage, 1987;77).

As the process of socialization into sports happens within the larger society, the same issues faced in society are often reflected in the sporting context. Also we learn that children who are more competent In physical skills tend to be more popular with their terms than children who are not .Other children reactions to the abilities of their fellow poor children can influence the poor children’s perception of themselves. Children begin to develop self-perceptions about their competence through the reciprocal interaction between the children and other and influential socializing factors. If Children are not confident in their abilities, they are more likely to persue future involvement in sports that is based upon social comparison.


  1. Greebdorfer and Bruce 1991:137
  2. Eitzen and Sage (1987)(77)
  3. Verioffi ; (1996)
  4. Duda (1981)
  5. Eceles (Parsons’) Expectancy Model(1983)
  6. A process of socialization; in Ravick G. I (Ed) Physical Activity :Human Growth and Development; 304-333.Orlando, FL:Academic press
  7. Lapchick, R. E and Matthew K. (2000)
  8. Gender Report Card(for 1998)
  9. Boston: Center for study of sports in society (North eastern University)
  10. Eceles(Parson’s’) et al. 1983

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