Date of Award

8-1994

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

James Petersen

Second Advisor

Ronald Kramer

Third Advisor

Douglas Davidson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

The structuralist version of centrality has measured racial discrimination in professional baseball for the past two decades. Its reliance on positional groupings, based on location, has resulted in a count of racial occupancy at these locations, often without a comparative racial baseline. The structuralist premise has accused baseball of playing field discrimination, citing it as a black versus white issue while discounting other motivations. From a symbolic interactionist perspective, this structuralist account of centrality is flawed in that it lacked action. Nor has it correctly identified what is central to baseball, and many of its findings have been inconclusive. An interactionist theory of centrality properly locates baseball's central interaction, provides a dramaturgical reading of baseball's self-presentation, and reveals that, racially over the past decade, the percentage of white participation has declined, black activity has remained stagnant and restricted, while Hispanic action has achieved tremendous proportional gains. These racial adjustments appear to be due to economic motivation, mainly baseball's pursuit of profit, potentially resulting in institutional, rather than personal, discrimination.

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