A theory of the preferred worker: A structural explanation for black male dominance in basketball

Scott N. Brooks, Michael A. McKail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Black males' 'dominance' in basketball is taken for granted and often explained in terms of racial difference and socio-environmental factors. However, this is only one side of the coin. Power needs to be considered for a fuller understanding. This article does this, providing a structural perspective of black male integration into basketball that builds from Edna Bonacich's work on labor and group relations. An occupational niche is two-way; a group finds and occupies a niche that they have been given access to by a hiring group. Black males do not dominate the collegiate and professional ranks of basketball simply because of ability. They were given access to the opportunity because it benefited capitalist interests and because of their marginalized position in society. In this specific context, they represent the most profitable labor source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-387
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Sociology
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Exploitation
  • Hoop dreams
  • Intersectional subordination
  • Preferred labor
  • Urban crisis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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