Ways of Thinking…: Sociological Madness in March

Ways of Thinking...: Sociological Madness in March
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Beyond Loyola University’s slogan, “Made by Culture,” there are many ways the NCAA basketball tournament can be tied to sociology.

Loyola really tried to create a culture that impacted basketball success. They implemented norms and language that reinforced and reframed the program’s values.

“It’s amazing how he made us all believe in his vision for us,” Kaster said. “The big thing this year is buying into his style of play. We are selfless.” That’s the kind of cultural impact Moser hoped for when he came up with the idea for the wall shortly after arriving at Loyola in 2011.
Interesting discussion of cultural production; how hype about men’s basketball creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. “…by making the resources of the men’s tournament more attractive and informative, it reinforces the feeling that the women’s tournament is a side event, not worthy of the same attention as the men’s. As she points out, ESPN probably spent less time and energy on the women’s tournament site because it thought fewer people would sign up and use it. However, by creating less engaging resources, they are less likely to encourage fans to sign up and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A secondary source with many links to primary data on the positive effects of win upset. “…schools that exceed performance expectations during March Madness not only gain public awareness, but also the number of applications they receive.
With so much black identity and masculinity is tied in the game, it contradicts cultural grain for players to achieve a low status position…All our athletic socialization is different,” said Moore, a professor at the University of Texas. “It’s more about our sense of self-worth. It comes from our family, teachers, church pastors: “You’re a basketball player.” So when I’m 18 or 21 years old and I can say I’m going to coach, what I’m saying is my basketball career is over. And it doesn’t have to end…Walking has it stereotype that it is something shameful or looked down upon.
An interesting study of how the story of Cinderella affects college. Breakdown by data and graphs.

Rick Eckstein, a sociology professor at Villanova University, argues that much of March Madness may be just hype: “There’s a lot of cultural the pressure to “perform” during certain major sporting spectacles. This usually means buying certain products (often food) and treating the sporting event as another commodity to be consumed in excess….He says that this cultural pressure comes from sources as diverse as the media, the workplace, religious institutions and schools. “But remember, with all the attention this March Madness is getting, a lot of people just don’t care,” Eckstein says. “But the barrage of cultural imagery exaggerates the overall social appeal of this sporting event.”

Crafty vs. The Secret: How Racial Bias in Sports Broadcasting Hurts Everyone
These differences in word choice may seem small, but they can have far-reaching consequences.

Here’s an excerpt from a story featuring sociologist Rashawn Ray:

two sociologists recently published a study that looked at a decade of March Madness broadcasts, and they found that sometimes racial bias sounds like this:

“It’s a tough matchup for JJ Redick on the glass. Redick isn’t known for rebounding. Tasmin Mitchell is much stronger, bigger and more athletic.”

“Of course we can highlight some of these larger comments that most people would consider racist,” says Dr. AS Rashawn Ray, who teaches sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. “But what we’ve highlighted in many ways is implicit bias and the subtle ways that race actually works when it comes to talking about some of these historical stereotypes, about what it means to be black and physically superior and intellectually inferior at the same time.” and, on the other hand, what it means to be lighter-skinned or white.’

Same action, different description

Dr. Ray and his co-author Dr. Steven Foy of the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley transcribed 52 men’s college basketball broadcasts, including 11 championship games. They looked at how broadcasters talked about players of different skin tones and whether there was racial bias.

The original research article from the U of Chicago is called Skin in the Game: Colorism and the Subtle Operation of Stereotypes in Men’s College Basketball and published in the American Journal of Sociology 2019.

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