Sport in Advanced Capitalism

No. 114



Thomas Keil

University of Louisville

April, 1984


Distributed as part of the TRANSFORMING SOCIOLOGY SERIES of The Red Feather Institute, 8085 Essex, Weidman, Michigan, 48893.

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Our intent in this essay is to examine the place that sport occupies in the political economy of advanced capitalist social formations,, especially in the United States,, the most developed capitalist society. We will show that sport, rather than being a mere epiphenomenon, plays an integral part in the functioning of such societies insofar as it provides an opportunity for the mass of the citizenry to engage in class practices necessary for the reproduction of capitalist relations of production. Before detailing the ways in which sport, either in its "professional" or "amateur" forms accomplishes this, we will examine the nature of advanced capitalist social formations, paying special attention to the character of their political and economic relations. Then we will move to a consideration of the specific role that sport has in these.

Capitalist Social Formations.

The dominant structural characteristic of capitalist social formations is the production and exchange of commodities, which, in the West, is grounded in the private ownership of the means of production, supported by the state, upheld by court proceedings and enforced by police or militia, Commodity production and exchange not only determine the character of economic relations, in the last analysis they determine the character of most social relations as well. Commodity production and exchange penetrate, transform,, and/or dissolve all aspects of pre-capitalist social life (Marx, 1930; Lukacs,, 1971; Habermas,, 1975; Bauman,, 1976), As Keil and Ashley (1981) note, commodity relations are interactions between individualized actors which involve the exchange of some depository of value. The value is assessed in terms of money or money equivalence. Exchange and production of commodities (the value depositors) are carried out in market or market-like relations, With the building up of market relations, person-to- person transactions, both economic and social, come to occupy less and less of a place in an individual's life. Person-to- person relations are replaced with abstract market relations with anonymous others, usually a large corporation. Economic and social relations become the 'second nature' (Merleau-Ponty, 1973; Bauman, 1976). As a second nature, social and economic practice confront the person as an alien power with thing-like character.

The distinguishing characteristic of advanced capitalist social formations is the expansion and eventual dominance of commodity production and exchange. While beginning in the economic relations of production, commodity exchange tends toward a transformation of all forms of social practice in advanced capitalist social formations. On the level of the person, this creates an individualized consciousness and a reification of the other self, of its relations with others, and of social processes, as a whole. The bond between personal and social life is broken and the atomized individual is launched on a quest for the realization of personal interests, a quest which is blocked by the alien and the antagonistic social relationships. Common sense, grounded in the concrete activities of the person, reaffirms this on a daily basis. Such individualism is both a result of and a necessary precondition for capitalism. It. individuation of the self, is a structural underpinning of the continual production of capitalist relations of production.

Without individualism, the political economy of capitalism would be unsustainable. All that is needed to reproduce the power of the corporation, the bureaucracy, the market place is for the worker, citizen or consumer to come into a relationship one at a time. Collective action would change the advantageous position of the owner, the bureaucrat or the industry. Individualism, as Merleau-Ponty (1973) observes, is a powerful political force. If confined merely to economic relations, individualism would not be able to sustain bourgeois capitalism and individualism, itself, would be unsustainable. To determine how and why capitalism sustains this particular form of individualism, it is necessary to turn to a discussion of capitalism's "hegemonic apparat" (Gramsci,, 1959; 1971).

The State and the Hegemony Apparati,

Among the more important institutions penetrated by capitalist class practices is the modern state. This state encompasses far more than the bureaucratic offices typically taken as comprising it (Gramsci,, 1971). In advanced capitalism the state is a mix of juridically arbitrary and often fluctuating "public' and 'private" agencies and agents, the function of which is to maintain those conditions necessary for the ongoing reproduction of capitalist relations of production and, hence, capitalist accumulation.

Capital accumulation is the process wherein labor is organized to produce surplus value which, in turn, is used to create an even greater surplus, A critical element in the state apparatus is the ideological complex. The ideological complex works to sustain the conditions of modern social formation, Following Gramsci (1959), by ideological complex is meant not only well integrated, coherent sets of beliefs and/or philosophical positions, but also the ways of life of members of a social formation and the less well integrated, less fully elaborated common-sensical interpretations flowing from these life-ways, To reiterate, the ideological complex is a major element of the political apparatus.

The modern capitalist state presents itself to its citizenry as a popular, democratic structure grounded in the sovereignty of juridically free and equal citizens. While the capitalist state functions under the hegemony of the bourgeoisie, to see this state as an instrument of a ruling class is to mistake the nature of bourgeois political domination (Gramsci, 1971; Horkheimer, 1974; Poulantzas,, 1975; Habermas, 1975). In advanced capitalist social formations the state has a great deal of autonomy which permits it to present itself to the citizenry as an expression of the embodiment of the general public interest. By representing itself in this way,, the state is able to reconstitute its citizens into a 'unity' that appears to be universal -- universal in the sense that it is a more general unity than those based on ties of race, sex, ethnicity,, class, religion, or the like, In the liberal bourgeois state, the political subject is taken to be the individual, an individual whose ties to others are viewed as inherently competitive and transitory, rather than organic and permanent. Political groupings are defined as temporary aggregations of individuals who have shared interests (Ricci, 1971).

Through the structure of political life in the bourgeois state, the citizen has a common-sensical experience of and understanding of individualism confirmed. By reproducing, politically, the conditions of bourgeois individualism, the state undermines the conflict of class structure and class consciousness, The state, in advanced capitalism, continually works to reproduce the capitalist relations of production and, hence, the process of capital accumulation while striving for legitimacy. Thus, dominated classes are politically disorganized by the operation of the state, The interests of these dominated classes, as classes, are excluded from the center of state operation (Poulantzas,, 1973),

Both the 'political' and the "economic' roles of state action are presented as representing the interests of the people-nation, rather than the limited interests of the bourgeois. Each role reinforces the other, they are mutually supporting and complementary, as the case of capitalist development in the United States illustrates. Until around the time of the "New Deal," the main forces for constructing and for maintaining the degree of individualism necessary for the reproduction of capitalist relations of production and for the maintenance of market relations were to be found in the production processes of factory and family farm and in the mechanisms exchange. Prior to the Great Depression, there is every reason to believe that both capitalist relations of production and exchange, as well as the social order built around them,, appeared more nature-like in the United States than was the case in' Europe, where it was necessary for the state,, broadly conceived,, to be more activist both in constructing and in maintaining capitalism. In the United States, many of the tasks that the state assumed in Europe were left to private" groups. With the intensification of crisis in the 1930's, the role of the state in the U.S. began to grow and to approximate more closely the general European situation. In the U.S. the state began programs of systematic intervention in both production and exchange.

In sum: our thesis is that the justifications for class relations based on the private appropriation of socially produced wealth is sustained not only through the operation of process of commodity production and exchange in the marketplace but also by means of the penetration of bourgeois social practices into other areas of life such as the state, sports activity as well as the marketplace. The net result is an 'institutionalization" of the principles of bourgeois individualism, so that individualism comes to be seen as the 'paramount reality,' to use Berger and Luckmann's apt phrase. Individualism, as a principle, is used by the bourgeoisie not only to justify the destruction of pre- capitalist social relations, but also to establish the isolated, atomized person as the member of a social formation that, politically, has been constituted into a unity that transcends all forms of particularism, including class. As a result, each person and each person's social activity becomes a site for class conflict, a very restricted location for the struggle between different kinds of class practice. The worker must confront the bureaucracy alone; the customer must bargain with the national retail firm as an individual; the voter must vote alone; the student must deal with the university one at a time, Such is the logic of individualism.

Sport, whether "professional' or "amateur," is one of the major expressions of the ideological practices of advanced capitalist social formations. It is an arena wherein bourgeois class practices enter into the daily life of the population in special ways; ways which provide an opportunity to learn anew and to experience directly the behaviors, ideological orientations, and subjective states necessary for the maintenance of bourgeois class practices. Sport, then, is one means among many for the reproduction of capitalist relations of production. It is especially important as a mass means for the constituting of particular forms of selfhood. Sport, thus, is inherently a part of the political economy of advanced capitalism.

Sport and Individualism in Advanced Capitalism.

Sport is but one of the many forms of social practice available in a social formation which a person might call upon as a device for self- constitution and for establishing relations with others, Sport, being part of the ideological complex, has a general political function. That function is to disorganize subordinate classes within capitalism by sustaining, on the level of both common sense knowledge and experience, bourgeois individualism, In this regard, sport is something more than a mere diversion that narcoticizes a population and that diverts a population away from 'serious" and pressing concerns. Sport, rather, is a practical means for constituting the self as a subject and, thereby, for creating that structure of the self and the appropriate social relations which create and sustain bourgeois capitalism.

As Mead (1934), Erickson (1950) and others have observed, one of a person's earliest encounters with society comes through the medium of play, especially play in game situations. There one begins to apprehend the "objective' nature of social life, the character and function of social rules, and the demands that social life places on the person. Through participation in games of a certain form, one acquires a general sense of the relation of self to society, with the latter being presented to one as an abstract, objective force existing somewhere out there," separate from us, yet controlling us. As Piaget (1932) notes, our early experience with games communicates to us a perception of the external nature of society, the priority of its rules over personal dispositions, and the fixed, permanent character of the social. The formative role of games comes to be replaced by those of other institutions -- education,, work,, religion, and family. Yet, for a significant proportion of society, participation in games is an important supplement to what takes place in these other activities, especially with respect to their individualized effects.

Within bourgeois social formations, sport is structured in terms of principles and relations of competitive performance (Marcuse, 1955), By means of activities structured in terms of competitive performance, bourgeois class practices enter into sport, Competitive performance, as motivation, is generated in a social matrix where rewards are thought to be finite and where a person's access to these rewards (hence one's self development and self actualization) can be realized only in and through the domination of others. In school and work, as in sports, one is to compete as an individual to get in and stay on the team while one is to submerge oneself to the team as the team competes for domination in the marketplace. Achievement comes to be associated with domination.

Modern sport seems to have taken shape around the time of the industrial revolution, just at the point when the bourgeois were consolidating their hegemony and a modern proletariat was taking shape, The United States, lacking a feudal past, had little experience with pre-capitalist forms of sport, except for those brought by immigrants from feudal environments, Nonetheless, one can observe significant shifts in the nature of sport in the United States as capital underwent successive transformations. Baseball's history presents an excellent example of this. The history of baseball may be periodized with reference to the changes that American capitalism was undergoing in the 19th and 20th centuries. Baseball's struggle to develop a viable organizational form, its internal conflicts and problems, all were issues facing capitalism as a whole, a capitalism that was undergoing a transition from entrepreneurial production for a local market to oligopolistic or monopolistic production for regional or national markets,

According to Voigt (1966) mass participation in baseball began around the time of the American Civil War. Prior to that participation was confined largely to the urban bourgeoisie. It was during the period of rapidly expanding mass participation that commercialization of the sport came with the fielding of a fully paid team in Cincinnati 1869. The institutionalization of this new form of production relations created a significant disequilibrium in the sport, it was a serious threat to the petty producers who were using a mixed form of production, with some paid players and some "amateurs." The Cincinnati team showed that a 'superior' product could be delivered and profitably enhanced with a fully paid team, By 1871, the dominance of the commercial teams was clearly established within the sport (Voigt, 1966),, especially with the formation in that year of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, The name of this organization was deceptive. It was more an instrument of the owners of commercial teams than of players. At this time,, the organizational structure of baseball approximated that of American capital as a whole,, with petty producers (amateur teams and local leagues) with a large number of independent,, small scale, commercial producers. As in the larger economy, the hegemony of the large scale capital interests over small capital had yet to be established, Competition among these producers,, both commercial and amateur,, was intense,, threatening the profitability of the enterprises.

A key problem that faced commodity baseball was market development. With mass participation the sport took on a proletarian image. This placed a limit on profitability, insofar as the urban working class in the 19th century possessed neither large amounts of leisure time nor large amounts of discretionary income. A market with both was necessary to insure profitability. Given the class base on which it drew, baseball proved exceptionally susceptible to cyclical changes in the general economy. The problem of penetrating the growing middle class urban market was complicated by the fact that baseball's labor pool was drawn from the working class. Owners continually struggled with players over the issue of on-the-field and off- the-field discipline. Again, in this respect, owners were behaving no differently from capitalists in other industries. For example, Henry Ford exhibited an almost obsessive concern with the moral character of his employees' behavior, both while they were in the plants and while they were away from the production points. He, as did other capitalists, saw a link between a disciplined, bourgeois life-style among workers and the presence of a pacified, compliant, and productive workforce, The struggle to create the disciplined, bourgeois athlete continues to the present day, and, of course, is not only a feature of baseball. As capital sought to create bourgeois class practices within the proletariat in general, so as to increase productivity and to disorganize the formation of an organized proletariat, similarly the athlete was turned into a wage laborer, a specialist, a competitor, and a subject of another's will.

The problem of "labor discipline" was not merely an issue of player character development and life style, The competition among producers and among the various forms of production placed pressure on profits, It stimulated a demand for quality players, provided that they were white and male. The unbridled competition for athletes inflated player salaries and created an anarchistic labor market. Teams were continually raiding their competitors for performers and, in general, were bidding up the price of labor, Quite naturally, given the "limited' character of the labor pool, the competition for top flight performers drove up costs and placed further pressure on profits, The National Association of Professional Baseball Players had proved incapable of eliminating regulating competition, It was not until the formation of the National League (1876) that significant steps were taken to manage competition and to institute patterns of organization that would insure the hegemony of the owners of franchises in that league over all of baseball.7

The National League was able to gain a position of dominance through its capacity to regulate the market and to police its membership (Voight, 1966). In addition,, it was able to restrict player mobility. Complete domination over players by ownership would come with the instituting of the reserve clause in player contracts in 1879. There were several ill-fated attempts on the part of players to resist the domination of owners, including the setting up of a 'players' league" in the 1890s. The players were no more successful in resisting capitals domination than were workers in any other industry. The last major competitive threat that the owners experienced came with the forming of the American League. The integration of the American with the National League set the stage for baseball to assume its contemporary form as an industry whose ownership advantages are guaranteed by the state.8

We have gone into this history of baseball in some detail so as to illustrate the way in which the issues which confronted capital in commercialized sport reproduced those confronting capital in virtually all sectors of the developed economy. In addition,, the ways in which commercial baseball resolved its problems were similar to what was done in other industries. The owners restrained competition, created monopoly conditions for the production and marketing of their commodity, brought discipline into the market for labor, and integrated the industry vertically by subordinating the smaller producers (minor league and amateurs) to the power and the interests of the larger producers. Baseball set a pattern for future commercialization of other sports.7

The consequences, for primary participants, of commercialized sport have been amply documented, and need not be dwelt upon in any great detail here.10 It only needs to be mentioned that the structure of capitalist relations of production are as likely to have debilitating effects on highly paid workers as they do on those who are less well compensated for their labor. The fact that professional athletes receive high wages does not offset the structural consequences of being a wage worker. They are disemployed or demand fluctuates, they are driven to dangerous competition, they are discarded when injured and they struggle to improve their relationship to the means of production.

For a significant proportion of primary participants in sport in advanced capitalist social formations, sports represents a way of realizing one's subjectivity, That is, it is a way of attaining individuality (Weiss,, 1969; Slusher, 1966; Lenk, 1979). The individuality that persons are seeking in sport is an individuality defined in bourgeois terms. Prevailing sport practices as well as journalistic practices build up and reinforce the player's common sense experience of individualism, For most people,, the structure of social practice in advanced capitalism, especially in economic relations,, creates a false understanding that subjective actualization is a possibility for only a few. The opportunity for the masses to achieve such subjective actualization is unnecessarily but effectively blocked. The existential condition for the majority is to experience oneself as mass object and as a fragmented object at that. The very fact that many persons quest after the attainment of subjectivity through competitive relations means that relatively few will attain it. Within such a general social context,, sport is often presented as a way of achieving the subjectivity and the integration of self that persons do not experience in the normal routines of daily life.

Sport is held out as an avenue where one can test one's self and experience in a fairly direct and immediate way the efficacy of instrumental personal action. In conceiving of sport in this way, participants and analysts of mass sport assume that sport is a 'bracketed" world: a world that can (and somehow does) stand apart from the general demands, social practices, and class relations of the overall social formation. The social practices of sport, existing independently of class hegemony, thereby are viewed as being able to meet and to satisfy general needs that are given in human nature, The human nature,, from which these needs are said to derive, is assumed to be invariant over time and place. Where society is structured so as to allow for creativity in daily life, sport is seen as a complement; where society is oppressive, sport is seen as a way of escape, an ex-statis.

By bracketing sport as a separate phenomenon, the link between it and general social practice is marked, The pursuit of self development through sport does not constitute either a spiritual or practical emancipation from the routines of daily existence. Rather, for both player and spectator,, the practice of sport perpetuates these routines, it produces the relations of the society insofar as it serves to enhance the quest for individualism and, therefore, a separation of the person from the interests of society generally. Through sport activity, bourgeois social practices are made subjectively meaningful to many who otherwise would not experience them as such. Thus, the participant in sport, even at the level of the amateur, makes a powerful political and social statement on behalf of bourgeois capitalism. One can compete successfully and one can win against all odds. S/he affirms the legitimacy of its ontology in his/her freely chosen athletic activity. Thus, the participant in sport is a bourgeois social force of some importance.

Amateur Sport: For Love Not Profit.

As currently constituted amateur sport practitioners resemble the petty producer within capitalism. The amateur,, particularly the participant in widely popular sport such as running, the martial arts, surfing, and frisby, for example, is working in areas where capital has not found it profitable to penetrate via ownership, Although, it frequently does penetrate the activity through marketing of equipment, tournament sponsorship, media coverage and the like. Being a petty producer,, the typical amateur creates a product for a specialized, and frequently small, viewing consumer mass, perhaps not extending beyond those who, themselves, are active in the sport, It is these petty producers who are most enthusiastic about the possibilities for sport to bring about self- actualization and personal, individual development. The petty producer in sport sees himself/ herself as having escaped these demands of capital. In fact, however,, the petty producer is reproducing the objectives of the capitalist social formation through competitive social relations, the only means thought to be able to generate self-fulfillment, even if one is merely competing against one's own self.

Most participants in non-commercial sport, even those for which there is a formal organization, play before very small audiences, They fund the activity from personal sources and keep expenses down. This is what has limited the capitalization of these activities, This may change in the near future, especially with the advance of cable television. Cable television will permit relatively large markets to be created over a wide geographical area for sports that could not obtain a sufficient local market to be profitable. One such example is professional karate. The development of a large, mass audience will bring producers, agents, owners, unions, leagues, suppliers (colleges and institutes) as well as secondary uses for patriotism and political legitimacy.

In summary to this point we have tried to show the way in which sport works as a part of the ideological complex to stabilize and to reproduce capitalist relations of production, Sport, by institutionalizing the pursuit of individualism, has the political effect of disorganizing class formation, while furthering the class interests of dominant bourgeoisie. Sport accomplishes this in a seemingly depoliticized way, its effects are not obvious to participants, Yet, sport, by being part of the normal routine of the population, enters into our consciousness and supports the plausibility of the social world and the place of anatomized, competitively grounded individualism within it, One should note that in the same moment sports falsely changes the locus of conflict from class relations to school, city,, state and national competition, sports also works to eliminate the false conflict between ethnic, racial and gender groups, One must credit the emancipatory moments of sports.

Sports and the State

The importance of sports to a social formation is attested to in the way in which organs of the government relate to it, In the United States,, governments at all levels have been helpful in maintaining and extending the practice of sport. Government carries out these functions using a variety of organizational forms and a variety of agents, Some of the forms and agents are juridically 'public,' while others are juridically 'private.' The division between public and private sector involvement in the production and distribution of sport reinforces the conception of a distinction between the activity of the state apparatus on the one hand and the sphere of private production on the other. This reinforces the notion that within advanced capitalism there are spheres of relatively autonomous activity that are only touched in a limited way by state activity or by capitalist relations of production. Sport, then, is seen by the populace as an unpoliticized area of activity. The fact that private groups are seen to exercise a controlling function, even in some cases over state agencies and agents, reinforces the notion that state is susceptible to private power and is willing to accede to this power to serve the "common good.11

Generally, the state enacts legislation which protects property relations in sports,, protects sports monopolies, protects ownership against player interests,, and provides a disputes resolution mechanism which takes existing relations as unproblematic. In addition, the public sphere produces players without cost to ownership through playground, park, school, college and playoff services. Stadia and other infra-structural requirements are provided as are tax write-offs, Finally, the state picks up the costs of medical and other welfare needs of "retired" players, many of whom cannot trade on their fame and esteem.

Furthermore, to the extent to which sport is seen to embody general human values and ends as opposed to class-specific values, the involvement of the state in the promotion and protection of these values and ends results in the state being seen as something that is above or beyond class conflict. Thus, the very way in which sport, especially sport as direct capital accumulation activity, articulates with the state has positive consequences for the capitalist state, as well as for the capitalist economy, itself.12

It would be a mistake to see the intervention of government organs and the integration of the public and private spheres in terms of an instrumental, ruling class model of a social formation, as several recent critics of sport have maintained (Hoch, 1972; Sabo and Renfols, 1980). In advancing sport-as a form of social practice, the state and its functionaries are not merely serving the economic interests of the bourgeoisie or even merely their political interests. It is also serving its own legitimacy interests, State involvement in sport does introduce a certain re-politicization of the activity, as we witness with affirmative action programs to make sport available on a wider basis,, but this re-politicization is contained within relatively narrow limits.

Summary And Conclusions.

In this paper we have tried to understand the meaning of sport in advanced capitalist social formations and the consequences that such participation has for such social formations. We have indicated that sport has a broad social function, As part of the ideological complex, sport has a part in reproducing the conditions which make possible capitalist relations of production, Sport also works both to stabilize and to expand the process of capitalist accumulation. It is a multibillion dollar segment of the national economy.

Sport accomplishes the above primarily through providing a set of social practices that makes bourgeois individualism subjectively real to participants, The participant in sport engages in a form of social practice that enables him/her to experience activity as an outcome of independent thought, will,, behavior,, and effort within one small realm of human activity, This social practice places a premium on the application of norms of 'technical rationally" so as to succeed in competitive relations, Construed in this way,, sport becomes one more way of working in the world, Situated within capitalist relations of production, such work does not permit one to escape the demands of the social formation or to transcend them, Rather, it blocks the development of human capacities by reinforcing the participant's ties to existing relations of production. For failed athletes -- and there are tens of millions -- they had their fair chance and did not measure up, For them, there is mass media, bowling, and jogging.

Sport has this possibility of pointing to an alternative reality, it does contain within it a critical element as well as the emancipatory moments noted earlier. But, this critical element is not to be found in analyses which call upon sport to further enhance individualism. The critical capacity of sport is to be found in the extent to which it can point beyond existing social relationships toward alternative forms of solidarity, forms of solidarity not based on competition, dominance, and an achievement that is excessively personalized. The beginning of such a critical function has to start with a recognition that the needs which sport is structured to satisfy are not absolute, not grounded in human nature. These needs must be seen as historically given, emerging within the context of bourgeois economic and social relations. Needs are produced as a result of social practice and can be changed with changes in social practice.

By accepting the goals of mass spectator sport, the athlete acquires a special, limited understanding of the meaning of individualism and experiences its effects, Thus, the individualized self is made nature-like and alternative forms of self are dismissed as implausible, idealistic, and/or violations of common sense. By extension, participation in sport also strengthens the nature-like character of competitive social relations, Such relations, which through sport are seen to yield subjective actualization and a strengthening of individuation, likewise become part of our common sense understanding of what the 'real" nature of society is and limit our appreciation of alternative possibilities, Thus,, sport contributes to the view of society as "second nature," In doing so, commodity sport reinforces bourgeois hegemony.

To the extent in which sport becomes part of the everyday life of members of a social formation, it contributes to the reification and mystification of the social formation. Social practices developed to meet the needs presumed to be given in human nature are hypostatized. The connection of these practices with human action, especially action in other spheres, is lost to participants, The hypostatization of sport practices strengthens the same reaction to the larger social formation.

The very existence of petty production in sport, as in the economy as a whole, serves to legitimate capital and the social reactions constructed around it, It supports the popular conception of the existence of autonomous spheres of production within a social formation, spheres that can resist the forces of monopoly capitalization, Thus, it holds out the possibility of escape. In addition, the 'inferior' quality of amateur sport plus the cost of production, serves to justify the profit taking of owners, who are thought to be delivering a superior product at great cost to themselves.

In sum, sport is a vital social resource that a social formation calls upon to legitimate itself and to reproduce itself. Sport is not merely a microcosm of society nor is it a reflection of society. Sport is social practice, It is activity which constitutes and reconstitutes a given social formation in ways that are consistent with other social practices in that formation.


2. The material in this section and the one that follows is based on a longer discussion of these concepts presented in 'Deviance, Individualism,, and the State in Advanced Capitalist Social Formations' (Keil and Ashley, 1981).

3. Prior to the development of bourgeois capitalism, these existed in an inchoate form, They lacked an integration wherein they take on the character of mutually reinforcing elements of a-system of relations geared toward generating surplus value.

4. These traits are taken to be universal properties of a human organism. As such, they are seen as being independent of history and social relations in any given historical epoch, Such a view fails to appreciate that each historical period and each social formation produces the pattern of self requisite to the maintenance and expansion of particular social relations (Seve,, 1978). This is accomplished not by repressing certain needs or by developing others, Rather it is accomplished by generating the needs themselves and having them accepted as part of nature,

5. The application of "technical rationality,," Weber's "Zweckrationalitat,," results in a standardization of individuals, Such standardization makes possible an interchangeability of persons with respect to production and consumption. Interchangeability results from the way in which commodity production and exchange limit certain developments in human capacities while encouraging others (Seve, 1978).

6. This is not to claim that such a view was uniform throughout the United States, As Montgomery (1979) notes, there were significant numbers of workers who rejected the very premises of wage labor and the relations of production which it entailed. Yet, a sustained class conscious movement directed toward overthrowing such a system never developed in the United States.

7. Lenk proposes that the emergence of sport in its modern form coincided with the rise of the bourgeoisie because both sport and bourgeois social practice were influenced by the same set of values identified by Weber (1958). Therefore, his position is subject to the same criticism that applies to others who have tried to show that weber's theory suggests that values cause social practice (Bauman, 1976).

8. The hegemony established by the owners of the major leagues was such that it established their right to determine the very nature of the game. There is a tendency to see sporting activities as the result of some evolutionary process that leads to an improvement in both rules and technique within a particular game. The history of baseball clearly shows that this is not the case, Rule changes and changes in technical aspects of the sport, which in some cases radically transformed the nature of the game, more frequently than not resulted from the exercise of the power of owners, who wished to enhance the marketability of the sport. It, the change, was not introduced as a part of some inner logic of development in the sport which tended toward achieving some abstract point of development.

9. Variations in the way in which sport became commercialized and the organizational forms that the various sports took on is a function of the development of the capitalists' relations of production, including technology, at any given time, It is a mistake,, however,, to give too much emphasis to the independent role of technology, as does Betts (1953), In any social formation, technology is far from being neutral social forces (Habermas,, 1975).

10. The reader is referred to a number of excellent autobiographical accounts of the experiences of professional athletes as wage laborers, Two of the better ones are Dave Meggysey's Out of Their League (Berkeley: Ramparts Press, 1970) and Jim Bouton's Ball Four (New York: World,, 1970). Several academic works have also taken up this topic: Edwards (1973) j, Hoch (1972),, Ingham (1975),, to name just a few.

11. The private groups, that is, groups not formally part of the governmental organ, that control sport are the formal leagues and the various sport associations, the AAU, the various national Olympic committees, the NCAA,, etc, While not part of the government, these groups play an important social control function, supporting the social relations of production within capitalism. Not only do these organizations guarantee that sport will be restricted to particular forms, with certain class practices being embodied in their content, but, as part of the intelligentsia, they provide a theoretical justification for the institutionalization of these very class practices.

12. Government uses much the same means for guaranteeing profits in sport as it does in the economy as a whole. For example, through publicly financed sport programs in high school and college, the initial preparation of athletes is socialized, the cost is born by the society, yet, profits remain private, Government has taken to financing, constructing, owning and operating stadia for professional sports, thus reducing the fixed capital requirements of sport and their property tax obligations (Eitzen, 1979). In addition,, owners can depreciate their labor-pool. Government not only intervenes to lower the cost of production, but also works directly to stimulate demand, School sport programs are an important source for learning spectatorship,


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