Sports the Opiate

Topics: Capitalism, Sociology, Marxism Pages: 6 (1944 words) Published: May 8, 2008
Welcome to the wide world of sports. With an array of sports gracing the face of the Earth we know it as a form of physical activity consisting of a partnership of play, and dramatic spectacles. Although definitions of sports vary, many scholars agree that sports are institutionalized competitive activities that involve rigorous physical exertion or the use of relatively complex physical skills by participants motivated by internal and external rewards. Wide ranges of sports were already established by the time of Ancient Greece and the military culture and the development of sports in Greece influenced one another considerably. Sports became such a prominent part of their culture that the Greeks created the Olympic Games, with the implementation of the games, the term spectator sport is know coined. A spectator sport is merely a sport that is organized and played in a stadium, arena, or dome for the enjoyment of others. In modern time these spectator sports have become under the control of the sports industry. This Industry operates the business side of sports with the influence of the media. The mass culture of sports has grown increasingly over the years with countries trying to inflict their domesticated activities to the masses globally. Just this past October the National Football League (NFL) introduced its first regular season game on foreign soil when the Miami Dolphins squared off against the New York Giants. You have David Beckham a native of Liverpool, England, who is also referred to as the Michael Jordan of soccer being paid millions by corporate investors to help the rise of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the states. With the National Basketball Association (NBA) reaching out to different countries to attain its newest superstars like Yao Ming and Yi Ling it helps give rise to a new era of fans who roughly add their countries population to the viewer’s ratings every time their team touches the court. It is a huge part of the Economy no matter what country you are in. Capitalism (coined by German social thinker and political activist Karl Marx) is a two-class system composed of capitalist and the proletariat, where the capitalist exploits the proletariat (Ritzer, 2007). Capitalism generally refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all or mostly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. Many theorists followed Marx and over the years took his theories in many different directions, these theories are known as “neo-Marxian theories”. Unlike other neo-Marxian theories that fail to offer grand narratives, critical theory closely follows Marx in the sense of offering depictions of the great sweep of history. As the name suggests, the critical theorists were social critics. They were followers of Marx who of course was a critic of capitalism. Marx’s main focuses of capitalism was the economy which was the era he lived in (the Height of the Industrial Revolution.) Critical theorist however felt that capitalism had undergone a dramatic change. The most important aspect of society was in the process of shifting from the economy to the culture; People were more likely to be controlled by the culture rather than the economy (Ritzer, 2007) Referencing Karl Marx, like religion sports has become an “opiate to the masses”. It provides the false reality to its viewers. One sees a show; Viewed by the fans, acted out by the athletes and run by long arm of the business. Sports culture has dominated people in various ways. Using the theories of Marx and Neo-Marxian we will discuss the commercialization of sports as it pertains to the capitalistic view and critical theory and the emergence of the culture of the sports industry. Sports have been increasingly organized and regulated from the time of the Ancient Olympics up to the present century....
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