Андрей Адельфинский   1
  • 1 Московский государственный технический университет им. Н. Э. Баумана, 2-я Бауманская ул., д. 5, стр. 1, Москва, Российская Федерация 105005

Ordinary, Adequate, and Crazy: Reconsidering the “Pyramid” Metaphor for Mass-participation Sports

2021, т. 20, № 2, с. 224–249 [содержание номера]
The article critically examines the “pyramid” metaphor for mass-participation sports. It focuses on the heterogeneity of intra-group structure and motives among adult amateurs participating in open races in running, triathlon, etc. The study is based on comparative participant observation at Russian and European mass-sports events and semi-formalized interviews. We describe the lifestyle and motives of non-elite athletes. Mostly they participate “for fit, for fun, for challenge, for socialization”, defined as key motives. Participation in races is essential for healthy lifestyle. However, the motive “for health” is peripheral. We noted a latent motive of “to win, to be ahead of others”. It reflects the very nature of sports, but creates a “loser's problem” subverting participation. We show how skill-level and a balance between key and latent motives constitute three strata among non-elite athletes. We define these strata as “Ordinary”, “Adequate” and “Crazy” and demonstrate how the motivation difference produces hidden controversies among them. Our theoretical interpretation is based on Norbert Elias’s concept of civilizing process and Konrad Lorenz’s comparative anthropology. We outline two normative sports models. For the Expressive model, the key motives “fit, fun, challenge, socialization” are socially approved, but for the Traditional-competitive or Top-achievements model, only the latent motive of “to win” looks legitimate. We believe that mass-participation sports emerged due to modern recognition of the Expressive model as a new social norm, while the Competitive model hinders its development. Rejecting the “pyramid” metaphor in sports, we propose an “iceberg” metaphor wherein these models coexist through different social roles.

Журнал "Социологическое обозрение"
Москва, ул. Ст. Басманная, д. 21/4, стр. 1, А-205.
Зам. главного редактора: Марина Пугачева

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