chapter  15
18 Pages

The Social Psychology of Watching Sports: Prom Iluim to Living Room

The division of labor in Western sports has usually, but not always, fallen loose­ ly into two roles, player-contestants and spectators. The historical course of spec­ tator roles and changes (if any) in the behavior of spectators indicates that sports spectatorship appeared about 5,000 years ago in the cosmopolitan cultures of the Mediterranean and Middle East. In this chapter, we explore the development of spectatorship through the ages, report on recent empirical investigations into the social psychology of watching sports, and make some speculations about the func­ tion of sports in everyday life, especially as sports enters interpersonal transac­ tions and conversation.