Reference Entry

social problem

Alan Tomlinson

in A Dictionary of Sports Studies

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199213818
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191726859
social problem

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The sociologist C. Wright *Mills argued that the *sociological imagination should distinguish between ‘personal troubles of milieu’ and ‘public issues of social structure’, with issues being public matters and often involving ‘a crisis in institutional organization’. Take drugs in the sport of cycling. If only one of the population of competitive cyclists takes performance-enhancing and life-endangering drugs, then that individual can be helped personally to deal with a personal trouble; if one in three or four of that population takes drugs, there arises a public issue or what can be identified as a social problem. In this latter case, the structure of fair competition has been destroyed, and any solution must be wide-ranging and structural. Social problems in sport—drugs, homophobia, racism—need to be tackled in ways that address the wider structural question of how the problems or issues arose in the first place....

Reference Entry.  147 words. 

Subjects: Sports and Outdoor Recreation

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