Sociological Issues In Sport Essay

2229 words - 9 pages

Functionalism is often referred to as the consensus theory because it does not address the issue of conflict in society, and functionalists believe that society operates in a harmonious way that maintains itself in a state of balance, remaining healthy and co-ordinated and any sudden practices that may upset the balance are rejected:"Sociologists who use functionalist theory assume that society is an organised system of interrelated parts held together by shared values and processes that create consensus among people"(Coakley, 1998, p.32)From a functionalist perspective a consensus containing shared norms and values is vital to the functioning of society as order flows from consensus. A ...view middle of the document...

The Government believes that if they increase opportunities and improve access to facilities for all people, then their goal of improved health will be attained.This somewhat one-sided view on sport will be analysed throughout this assignment, identifying whether or not the Governments use of sport acknowledges certain factors regarding inclusion and exclusion or are their policies and objectives insufficiently discriminatory and ambiguous. The strengths and weaknesses of the policies will be examined from a functionalist perspective and an understanding will be gained as to whether or not they are viable in a society of conflict.Government's use of sportThe Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has laid out policies and objectives for sport and their main objective is to increase participation in sport and physical activity across the whole population (Appendix 2), which in turn will help to improve health and hopefully providing a greater quality of life for all (Appendix 3). According to National Statistics Online "In 2000, 27 per cent of girls and 20 per cent of boys aged between 2 and 19 were overweight" (Appendix 4) (www.nationalstatistics.gov.uk) so this gives an understanding as to why the Government wants to try and promote sport. The Government states the benefits that sport and informal physical activities can have in contributing to good health. An over-emphasis on the positive effects of sport is seen and to quote Hylton et al (2001, p.21); that from a functionalist approach the policy has "an unambiguous utilitarian argument that sport is good for health" and it doesn't identify that not everyone can play sport. Further on in Hylton et al's text (2001, p.130) they state that "for many non-participants, sport is less a source of health gain than an activity ripe with potential for injury".The Government has identified that to improve participation they need to provide more opportunities (Appendix 5) to as wide a range of sports facilities possible and at every level, from the "playground to the podium" (www.culture.gov.uk) (Appendix 9).From a functionalist perspective this would encourage participation from all areas of society regardless of sex, age, race, gender or class as the perspective does not discriminate against individuals. From a functionalist point of view the policy over-exaggerates the benefits of playing sport, and Coakley (2003, p.40) believes it doesn't address "the emphasis on physical power" which may show prejudice towards certain groups in society, and this is one of the reasons why women's sport has failed to be as big as men's, and one of the reasons why the Paralympic Games is not as big as the Olympics.Related to improving health and opportunities the DCMS realises that "Everyone deserves to have access to the very best sports opportunities" (Appendix 6) (www.culture.gov.uk). From a functionalist perspective if all members of a society had the chance to participate in sport (Appendix 8) it would help...

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