A Critical Review of “the Ambiguities of Football, Politics, Culture, and Social Transformation in Latin America” by Tamir Bar-on.

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A Critical Review of “The Ambiguities of Football, Politics, Culture, and Social Transformation in Latin America” by Tamir Bar-On.


In Latin America, soccer is not a game; it is a way of life. It is mixed in with politics and nationalism. It defines social classes. How politically influential is soccer in Latin America? It is used by “various Latin American socio-economic elites in order to retard the acceleration of working class and popular discontent” (Bar-On 1997:1.8). Is it then not intriguing that women play no part in the scheme of things? I can immediately off the top of my head name at least 5 male professional soccer players… and not a single female player.

Tamir Bar-On discusses in detail the influence of soccer in Latin America in great detail, yet makes little reference to female athletes and their influence, if there is any.

Statement of Sociological Problem:

Soccer, also known as “football” in some parts of the world has become much more than a sport. In fact, in some parts of the world, largely Latin America and Europe, soccer has become a symbol of nationalism, politics, and class… that is, when it is played by men. Little or no attention is given to females. As powerful as the sport is in Latin America and Europe, its power is exclusively bigoted towards the women, who take the sport just as seriously as the men, but rarely, if ever, get the kind of representation men receive in the media industry. They also get no political influence and little national recognition.


The problem is worth researching for several reasons. Although soccer is the central sport discussed in Bar-On’s research, the gender issue is the same for most if not all professional sports: women never get the same recognition men receive for their achievement. The research problem is beyond doubt a social problem. When it comes to soccer, the most recognized event is the FIFA (Federation of International Football Association) World Cup, in which a select group of very well-paid men represent their country. FA Women’s Cup is its “equivalent”. Ever heard of it? Neither have I. In hockey, most sport fans are familiar with the NHL (National Hockey League). Not quite as many are familiar with the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League). Easily the sport where the women’s teams get most recognition in comparison with any other sport is the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association). But again, the WNBA athletes do not get remotely close amounts of media attention, sponsors, fans, and salaries that the NBA (National Basketball Association) players get.

Literature Review:

Article 1:

• Title:

“Toy for Boys? Women’s marginalization and Participation as Digital Gamers” by Garry Crawford and Victoria Gosling

• Connection to research problem:

In this article, the authors suggest that women do not play video games (digital games) as much as men do and that this is mainly because the gaming industry views the concept of video games as belonging to men. This is connected to the research problem in that not only are men considered more significant and valuable in the athletic field than women, but the same idea is paralleled in the video gaming industry.

• Reference:

crawford, garry. "Toy for Boys? Women’s marginalization and Participation as Digital Gamers." Sociological Research Online Volume 10, Issue 131 mar 2005 14 nov 2007 .

Article 2:

• Title:

Ethnicity, Class and the Earning Inequality in Israel, 1983-1995 by Nabil Khattab

• Connection to research problem:

In Kattab’s research, he reveals that social classes and salaries in the workplace are greatly related to ethnicity and gender. In one part of his research, he compares the salaries of males of several ethnic backgrounds with females of the same ethnic backgrounds. His research shows that women earn significantly less than men do, even when they come from the same ethnic...
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