Sport As Culture: Sports Participation and Styles of Cultural Consumption in Canada

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Adam GEMAR, Durham University, United Kingdom
Despite the prevalence of sport in contemporary societies, academics know little about how sports participation fits into broader cultural lifestyles. We know much more about other cultural domains, such as music. While Bourdieu’s social theories are most frequently applied to sports participation, other theories of sports participation, such as omnivorism, remain under researched (Widdop and Cutts, 2014). However, even fewer explorations seek to place sports participation in the wider cultural context of consumption. This study examines cultural consumption and sports participation in Canada to further understand how patterns of sports consumption fit into these broader cultural lifestyles. By investigating how each of Canada’s five most popular team and individual sports are consumed, it forms conclusions about the cultural lifestyles of these consumers, by which prevailing theories of cultural consumption can be assessed with regard to sport. Through a Latent Class Analysis (LCA) of the General Social Survey (GSS) of Canada, and accompanying regression modelling, this paper finds that intense cultural omnivores and pop culture consumers are by far the most likely participants in the five team sports (baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, volleyball). The five individual sports are much more widely dispersed along the spectrum of cultural engagement. However, four of the individual sports (tennis, downhill skiing, cycling, swimming) map most strongly onto intense omnivorism, while golf maps onto more high-brow consuming patterns of cultural behaviour.