- Social functions of high school athletics in the United States: a historical and comparative analysis
- Sport in Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In the United States competitive sport is part of the extra-curricular program of high schools. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, competitive sport is practiced in private clubs which are completely independent of the high schools. The consolidation and continuity of this difference can be explained by the importance of the integrative function athletics acquired in the US high schools. These schools have a much more heterogenic body of pupils in terms of talents and social class than most Dutch schools. The prevalence of ceremonies, rituals and symbols surrounding high school games in the US enhances this integrative function. In Europe these ceremonies are nearly absent in games and matches between private clubs for boys and girls of high school age. The integrative function of athletics in American high schools contributes to the motivation of students to participate in the school system and to the prevention of students dropping out.
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