First Advisor

Robert Shotola

Term of Graduation

Winter 1994

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Sports -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area -- Sociological aspects, Sports -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, xi, 168 pages)


The question of what constitutes a culture has often been answered in one phrase: shared knowledge. Recent developments in both the theory and mathematics of examining this shared cultural knowledge allow researchers to produce mathematical models of informants' knowledge and perceptions of the culture they belong to. Many studies in cognitive anthropology have utilized these theoretical and mathematical tools: the present research sought to integrate a research design (based on the theory and mathematics mentioned above) with a relatively new cultural domain: the culture of sports.

Three main question pertaining to cultural knowledge were addressed in this research:

  1. Did an informant's behavioral embeddedness in sports correspond to their cognitive embeddedness?
  2. Did informants' behavioral embeddedness (as a group) affect their perceptions of the sports culture they belonged to?
  3. Did informants' cognitive embeddedness (as a group) affect their perceptions of the sports culture they belonged to?

Behavioral embeddedness was measured using an instrument that contained 96 biographical variables primarily designed to investigate an informant's participation in sports. Cognitive embeddedness was measured using an instrument based on consensus theory. Subjects' perceptions (called "world view" in this study) of sports were based on their judgements of similarities and differences among 10 sports. These judgements were evoked by triadic analysis. Both consensus theory and triadic analysis followed the framework laid out in Romney and Weller's Systematic Data Analysis.

Sixty-six informants completed a self-administered survey containing the three parts mentioned above. Because of the nature of the sample used, this study was treated as an ethnography.

It was hypothesized that a) behavioral and cognitive embeddedness were correlated and, b) more culturally embedded individuals would have more "sophisticated" perceptions of sports culture.

The first hypothesis was not supported: only weak correlations were found between cognitive embeddedness and variables measuring behavioral embeddedness. For the second hypothesis, the exact opposite was found: the more culturally embedded groups of informants had less "sophisticated" perceptions of the sports culture they belonged to.


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