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The construction and confirmation of identity in sport subcultures

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CONTRIBUTORS:
  Author Donnelly, P. (University of Texas at Arlington)
  Author Young, K.
JOURNAL:
  Sociology of Sport Journal (SSJ), 5(3), 223 - 240.
YEAR: 1988
PUB TYPE: Journal Article
SUBJECT(S): socialization; subculture; ethnography; self-concept
DISCIPLINE: Recreation, Sports & Leisure Studies
HTTP: https://secure.sportquest.com/su.cfm?articleno=279228&title=279228
LANGUAGE: English
PUB ID: 103-335-931 (Last edited on 2005/11/09 17:25:01 US/Mountain)
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ABSTRACT:
It is usual in interactionist research to view the process of socialization into subcultures as, in part, a process of identity formation. However, we prefer to examine this process, at least in the case of sport subcultures, as a far more deliberate act of identity construction. That is, through a variety of means, the most significant of which is modeling, the neophyte member begins to deliberately adopt mannerisms, attitudes, and styles of dress, speech, and behavior that he or she perceives to be characteristic of established members of the subculture. Such perceptions among neophytes are usually far from being completely accurate and are frequently stereotypical. Thus, it is necessary to examine also the complementary process of identity confirmation in order to conduct a more complete examination of socialization into a subcultural career. These processes, and neophyte mistakes emerging in them, are examined with respect to ethnographies of climbers and rugby players conducted by the authors, together with supporting material from studies of other sports-related aspects of ethnographic research. Presents a career contingency model consisting of 4 components - pre-socialization, selection and recruitment, socialization, and acceptance/ostracism. Discusses neophytes (novices) and their initiation into the world of rugby and rock climbing. States that these individuals need to acquire new role definitions and behaviours that are appropriate to constructing a new career identity. During this time the novices may be extraneously controlled. Discusses the confirmation of identity where the novice begins to accept the values of the subculture, and again uses the subcultures of rugby and rock climbing to illustrate this point.
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