Culture, Structure, and Race in Pick-Up Basketball: Everyday Hoops inside a Predominantly White University Student Recreation Center
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When an observer looks at pick-up basketball in an integrated space it appears like groups of players are playing based simply on racial difference, but a deeper look reveals other factors that influence how these apparent racial dynamics play out. In this dissertation, I break down the types of norms and rules of pick-up basketball culture, analyze how those norms and rules are tied to structure, and demonstrate the influence of these factors on racial dynamics. I go beyond a simple understanding of race as it plays out in this particular space for pick-up basketball to show, using sociological concepts, the nuanced ways in which everyday people involve themselves in routine kinds of informal recreational activities. I found that players used norms as a way to make and enforce social rules and cultural customs, and that players used these rules and customs to informally organize large and small groups in ways significantly related to race. I also found that players used race in overt and covert ways, and as interactive strategies to structure particular games and to manipulate micro pick-up basketball cultures on particular courts and sidelines.
Chaplin, Kenneth S (2015). Culture, Structure, and Race in Pick-Up Basketball: Everyday Hoops inside a Predominantly White University Student Recreation Center. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from