Sociology of Sport Online School of Physical Education, University of Otago

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Dr. Robyn Zevenbergen, Dr. Allan Edwards 
*Dr. James Skinner

School of Education and Professional Studies
Griffith University

*School of Exercise Science and Sport Management
Southern Cross University

Key Words: traditional ethnography, critical ethnography, habitus, cultural capital, rituals.


In this article it is argued that young cadet golfers (8-14 years) are exposed to practices which convey the meaning about what are seen as valued aspects of golf club culture.  Exposing young cadets to such representations is to display those aspects of golf habits that are valued.  Those cadets whose familial habits are congruous with that represented in the golf club practices, fit more readily into the culture of the golf club. Using the theoretical lens offered through the writings of Pierre Bourdieu this article presents rituals such as award presentation achievement, golf lessons and a round of golf, as representations of certain aspects of the culture valorised within the golf club context.

1.         Introduction

The 1995 special issue of Sociology of Sport Journal provided an introduction to French philosophy, and the philosophy of Bourdieu in particular. The special issue intended to raise awareness and to … “contribute to the discipline by allowing a confrontation of readings specific to different scholarly spaces within the sociology of sport” (p.119). This paper continues the challenge presented in the editorial of the issue by focusing on the questions raised by Clement (1995), Defrance (1995) and Laberge (1995). In particular, the notions that specific practices and discourses form the logic that governs what is seen as legitimate and valued within golf and predisposes people to act in common ways.

2.         Defining the problem

            The problem that this study addresses can be stated in theoretical terms. Golf clubs and golf are structured in ways that legitimate the habitus of the dominant, social and cultural groups.  This is achieved through ethos and cultural capital that work together to determine the behaviour and attitudes of the players. The practices of golf clubs and golf legitimate the habitus of the dominant social group and, by taking this as ‘natural’, the process reproduces the relationships of power, status and wealth. Accordingly, golf clubs act as a social filter whereby players who possess the habitus of the dominant groups come to be seen as legitimate holders of such status, wealth and power. The ethos and dispositions of players become forms of capital, which facilitate and legitimate acceptance. The habitus of the young players must be congruous with that of golf and golf club habitus if they are to be constructed 'worthy' club members. Hence, the problem that this research addresses is: What is the relationship between young cadet players' habitus and the field of golf?

3.         Rationale

3.1       The writings of Pierre Bourdieu will be used to address the issue of how young cadets are indoctrinated into golf club culture. It is argued that this analysis is best served by the writings of Bourdieu rather than theorists such as Marx and Foucalt principally for two reasons. First, Bourdieu (1984) looks at sports outside of a Marxist view of it as a ‘culture industry’. That is, Marx would perceive sports as a product or commodity sold to people without paying attention to its particular history and cultural function.

3.2       "If this is the case … that the system of the institution and agents whose interests are bound up with sport tends to function as a field, it follows that one cannot directly understand what sporting phenomena are at a given moment in a given social environment by relating them directly to the economic and social conditions of the corresponding societies: the history of sport is a relatively autonomous history which, even when marked by the major events of economic and social history, has its own evolutionary laws, its own crisis, in short, its specific methodology" (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 341).

3.3       Second, unlike Bourdieu, Foucault’s (1980) linking of  ‘modern disciplinary power’ or ‘bio-power’ with modern institutions, although salient, tends to elaborate the invisibility and pervasiveness of power in the modern society without direct reference to how cultural processes are used to reinforce acceptable behaviours. Furthermore Bourdieu (1992) permits a theorising of the relationship between the individual and the social structure whereby his aim is to:

            “make possible a science of the dialectical relations between the objective structures … and the structure dispositions within which those structures are actualised and which tend to reproduce them” (p. 3). 

3.4       Bourdieu seeks to develop a method and theory for the analysis of everyday life, where there is a dialectical relationship between agency and structure.  He achieved this through his method of:

            "generative structuralism… which is designed to understand both the genesis of social structures and of the dispositions of the habitus of agents who live within these structures" (Maher, Harker & Wilkes, 1990, p. 4). 

            A number of conceptual tools are employed in this process, but of particular importance to this article are his notions of habitus and field, which are supplemented by the concepts of capital and dispositions.

4.         Field

4.1       In terms of this research the researchers would demarcate the field as sport in general, and golf in particular.  Fields constrain and define what is seen as valued and legitimate within the field itself.  A field is a social system, which appears to be functioning with its own logic or rules.  To establish legitimacy within a field, it is necessary to "comply" with the rules and logic established and recognised within the field at any given time.  However, this is not to conceive a field as static, but rather it is a dynamic arena.  Maher, et al. (1990) argued that there are certain characteristics of a field:

            “Fields are at all times defined by a system of objective relations of power between social positions which correspond to a system of objective relations between symbolic points: works of art, artistic manifestos, political declarations, and so on.  The structure of the field is defined at a given moment by the balance between these points and among the distributed capital” (p. 8).

4.2       Within a field there are certain dominant practices, which confer power and legitimacy to some practices, while relegating other practices to marginalised status.  This is achieved through amassing the symbolic capital currently valued within the field.  To gain authority and power, agents take on board the culture, or the habitus of the field, and as they amass more capital they become more powerful, gaining more control and legitimacy, so becoming empowered to speak for others. In golf certain rules and logic are dominant, so that to be an effective participant in the field, it is essential to assimilate the tacit rules that govern the practices and strategies as legitimate.  The dominant practices within golf serve to legitimate practices that support the existing status quo. In this research the concept of field enables us to locate the discourses and practices that impinge upon the construction of young golf players and meaning making.  These practices and discourses form the logic that governs what is seen as legitimate and valued within golf (Defrance, 1995).

5.         Habitus

5.1       Insofar as this article is concerned habitus provides a means through which it is possible to understand and theorise the embodiment of certain aspects of the social context which will predispose people to act, think and behave in certain ways. Bourdieu (1979) defined habitus as: "The habitus is a system of durable, transposable dispositions that functions as the generative basis of structured, objectively unified practices" (p. vii). Habitus is a key concept used by Bourdieu, which has been criticised as being a "conceptual straightjacket that provides no room for modification or escape"  (Giroux, 1982, p. 7). The researchers would reject this latter reading of habitus and argue that it provides a lens through which children are predisposed to see the intergenerational link, and accounts for the reproduction of a social group through the internalisation of culture by the individual. Moreover, in times where there are changes in the material and social world, the habitus will undergo some reconstructions in light of the new experiences. The reconstituted habitus will engender different aspirations and practices and thereby changing the objective conditions. However, the changes that do occur are inevitably biased in favour of past experiences, since the habitus filters and translates the material or objective conditions. The daily lived experiences of people tends to structure their lives in certain characteristic ways which in turn governs people to organise their practices in ways that are consonant with their experiences. The role of the habitus is not a determinate one, but rather a mediating one between perceptions and action. The habitus is constituted and altered according to intersections of objective structures and personal experiences, and internalised in the form of dispositions or subjectivity. While there are differences among and between members of a social group, there is a common bond, a habitus, that predisposes people to act in common ways (Laberge, 1995).

5.2       For this study, habitus has many applications. First, there is the primary habitus with which young players will enter the golf club context. This has been influenced by the familial circumstances within which players have spent their early years. It will be influential in the ease, or difficulty, with which players assimilate into the golf context. Second, there is the golf club habitus.  Often referred to as the ‘agenda’ whereby young players are expected to display certain desirable behaviours if they are to be constructed as good club members. Third, there is the golf habitus, which also valorises certain behaviours and ways of thinking. To be constructed as good club members, young players need to display those aspects of the golf habitus valorised within the context of the golf club.

6.         Cultural capital and class

6.1       The concept of capital was central to Bourdieu's (1991) formulation of social space where "the kinds of capital, like trumps in a game of cards, are powers which define the chances of profit in a given field" (p. 230).  Social positioning is distributed according to "the overall volume of the capital…and the composition of that capital" (p. 231).  The different types of capital and their relative distribution and accumulation within a field will influence the social outcomes and regularities of those involved in the field.  Bourdieu (1986) identified three main forms of capital. First, economic capital that is intimately linked with, and convertible to, money and institutionalised into forms of property rights. Second, cultural capital that may be converted to economic capital under certain conditions and be institutionalised in the form of educational qualification. Third, social capital which may exist in the social connections that people have or be institutionalised in the form of nobility titles. For example, an artisan who has no money can be seen to have a high degree of cultural capital but little economic capital. Hence, cultural capital can be observed in the more manifest forms of style, language, taste, disposition and social grace (Harker, 1984). These attributes or preferences are acquired through primary socialisation as part of the habitus.

6.2       Bourdieu (1986) showed that the investing of symbolic value takes place not only on the level of the mind but also of the body. He argued that cultural capital exists in three irreducible forms: the objectified state, the institutionalised state, and the embodied state. The form relevant to this argument is the embodied or physical capital that exists in the form of long-lasting dispositions of the body and mind. Physical capital refers to the way people develop, alter, and hold the physical shape of their bodies, and learn how to present and manage their bodies through styles of walk, talk, dress and facial expressions.

7.         Rituals

            The potential for using rituals as a tool for understanding the construction of social difference permits practice to be seen as a symbolic system, which can then be interrogated for its implication in the processes of marginalisation.  Rituals enable the study of how cultural practices within a golf club setting function to convey ideological messages to the players who are an integral part of the rituals and golf.  In relation to golf course rituals this proposal is in line with Habermas' (1972) thesis that speech acts " to convey messages not only about the formal structure of language but also about the pattens of culture that organise thought and social interaction" (Wuthnow, Hunter, Bergeson & Kurzweil, 1984, p.186).  Rituals can be seen as rites of passage into the dominant golf culture.  Within the Bourdieuian framework that the researchers have employed for understanding the construction of social difference, the rituals that are an integral part of the golf culture can be seen to be a display of certain dispositions that are valued within the golf club. These dispositions become forms of cultural capital. 

8.         Methodology

8.1       The research setting
            Paradise Golf Club (a pseudonym) is a members only golf course in a rapidly developing tourist resort city in Australia.  Paradise Golf Club has been established for over thirty years.

8.2       The golf cadet programme
The cadet programme was developed to introduce children (8 - 14 years) to the game of golf.  Membership was restricted to sixteen cadets. Each cadet was compelled to undergo a probationary period of three months before being interviewed by the senior club captain and accepted as a cadet member by the golf club.

8.3       Using ethnography as a research tool
            A number of factors were taken into consideration when planning the research, the most important of which was how to collect data on a phenomenon that was embedded in everyday practice. A methodology that permitted an examination of those practices which constitute golf was necessary, one which was sensitive to the social contexts of golf clubs. A methodology was needed that allowed the researchers to collect extensive data on events, which were seen as ‘natural’ for their context in order to establish a profile of everyday golf life.

8.4       Spradley (1979) defined traditional ethnography as “the undisciplined study of what the world is like for people who have learned to see, hear, speak, think and act in ways that are different”(p. 3). However, critics of traditional ethnography are concerned about the exclusion of power from the field of study. Recent analyses has drawn attention to the role individuals play in the construction and maintenance of meaning systems and subsequently it fails to address the power relations between these individuals. Habermas (1978) suggested that traditional ethnography lacked a theoretical relationship to the political practices that might bring about emancipation of the people being investigated. Conventional or traditional ethnographic description uncritically represents versions of perceived realities without locating its stories within a framework of political and social explanation. Far from intentionally enlightening the subjects of an ethnography or giving them the means to understand and alter their circumstances, traditional ethnographic practice has historically involved subjective, anthropological description in which the subject of ethnography is observed by an authoritative, yet sympathetic, observer (Hammersley, 1992; Weedon, 1987).

8.5       Fay (1975) argued the traditional approach of ethnography is inherently conservative because, in assuming that actual social practice is innately rational and that conflict is due to irrational understandings, it endorses values and beliefs that supports the system. Hence, traditional approaches that seek to be interpretative by nature, would only “lead people to endorse the way they think about what they or others are doing, rather than provide them with a theory by means of which they could understand what they or others are doing” (p. 91). Such a theory would draw attention to the interrelationship between knowledge as beliefs and attitudes, actions and power relations, and by doing so offer a social, rather than individualistic approach to understanding how certain cultural practices are aimed at producing the desired behaviour of junior golf club members. Another area of concern is the apparent negation in traditional ethnography of the role of the researcher in the construction of the data he or she presents. Gitlin, Siegal, and Boru (1989) and Tyler (1983) drew attention to the textual practices of traditional ethnographers that, they argued, deny the voice of the researcher-as-author. While the researcher may describe their initiation into the field, the subsequent identified social or cultural patterns are present as objective descriptions, untainted by either the ethnographers’ presence or the rhetorical decisions made. Tyler maintained that such:

“... ethnography is a textual practice intended to obscure its textual practices in order to present a factual description of the way things are, as if they had not been written and as if an ethnography really were a picture of another way of life” (p. 84).

8.6       As Marshall (1989) noted in his critique of objectivism in educational research, “such a presentation of the world as an external reality implies that it can be observed objectively and impartially by any person” (p. 104). The ethnographic picture and the researcher are positioned as independent entities. This style of narrative realism presents fieldwork as an essentially rational activity rather than a social and political undertaking. In positioning the researcher as a neutral gatherer and hence the presenter of truth, traditional ethnographies are seen to deny the notion that knowledge is constituted within social relations. The researcher is not understood to be implicated in the production of the knowledge that purportedly belongs to the informants. Indeed, while the context of the research may be understood as socially constituted, the researchers are not; they are presented as a neutral tool. In contrast to traditional ethnography, critical ethnography acknowledges the existence of power relations in the construction of meaning systems. By acknowledging this existence it seeks to emancipate its subjects through enlightening them to the political and social circumstances of their existence. As critical ethnography seeks to be emancipatory, its subjects by definition are constrained by oppressive social or political relations of some kind. Critical ethnography then becomes the public voice for groups within a research setting who might otherwise remain voiceless.

8.7       Although exponents of critical ethnography agree that research conducted in the traditional ethnographic mode is concerned with social change, and recognises the political nature of knowledge production and its process of legitimation, differences exist in their understanding of the actual research agenda as well as their theoretical orientation. For some, the research process itself constitutes, in part, the intent of the study. Such work is concerned to directly empower research participants, including the researcher, through joint critical reflection on the constitution of their interpretive frameworks. This process involves exploration of the discursive positions from which participants are speaking and the creation of spaces from which the marginalised are heard. Therefore, in the context of this study, empowerment of the marginalised is not a product of the work of the researchers who, as the ‘transformative intellectuals’, assisted participants to realise the falsity of their views and to adopt the use of the researchers’ critical discourse or that of a new, shared reality. Rather, empowerment involved the research participants in an exploration of the politics of production of their knowledge. By examining the political nature of the cultural process occurring within the golf club setting, the possibility for enhanced insights into the process was achieved. Hence, critical ethnography is a valuable research method, which allowed the researchers to get closer to the people or culture being investigated by gaining 'insider' information and describing informants/participants in their own natural setting. The information accumulated is first-hand and in 'context'.

9.         Data collection

9.1       The data collection was based on observation. The observation component of the fieldwork had two areas of interest, one of which was the very general sense of ‘being in the situation’ (Kirk, 1986). This involved the total time spent at the research site in informed conversation with potential junior golf club members and the golf club community generally. Intrusion into the world of these groups was a vital means of obtaining contextual information about golf club cultural practices, and junior golf club members and the supporting network committed to the development of potential young cadets. This aspect of observation acted as a means to becoming sensitised to the research setting.

9.2       The second area of observation involved the systematic observation and field note taking of the rituals that junior cadets were exposed to. Throughout this study a structured and predefined method of systematic observation was used to itemise and categorise responses (Weick, 1985). Cultural practices were observed between junior golf club cadets and a number of groups. These included senior golf club members designated with the responsibility of overseeing the cadet programme, junior golf club cadets and individuals charged with the responsibility of improving their performance and behaviour, and between the junior golf club cadets themselves. These observations and field notes focused on a number of particulars. For example, they detailed the time and location, and key elements emphasised in certain rituals, the level of formality that existed between junior golf cadets and other individuals involved in certain rituals, the amount of emphasis and rewards as a result of certain behaviours, the facial expressions of the junior cadets being observed, their appearance and dress styles, their language, their body language and level and type of informal interaction.

10.       Validation procedures

            To ensure that the data collected were valid, two triangulation techniques were utilised. First, data-source triangulation involved the comparison of data relating to the same phenomenon but derived from the observation of different groups. Second, triangulation between the researchers was used to determine if inferences drawn were consistent. These forms of triangulation provided a means of checking the consistency and congruence of the findings. Furthermore, in the overall analysis it assisted in developing an understanding of how certain practices were used to reinforce acceptable cultural and social behaviours.

11.       Discussion

11.1     Deconstructing golf rituals
            In this section the researchers take four key rituals in the golf club process and deconstruct them in terms of their political and social consequences. While the researchers have taken four rituals, this is not to say that these are the only ones that should be investigated. However, within the confines of this paper it is suggested that these are key events in golf club habitus; that is, a means through which it is possible to understand and theorise the embodiment of certain aspects of the social context that will predispose people to act, think and behave in certain ways. By examining the ways in which cadet members come to locate themselves within these practices of the Paradise Golf Club, and more specifically within golf practices, it is possible to see how cadet members, come to be constructed in different ways. It is argued that this is a consequence of being exposed to the discourses and practices that are a part of golf rituals. The rituals are presented in the descriptive form compiled from field notes. Following each descriptive passage is an analysis of the ritual.

11.2     Weekly assemblies:  As a representation of the golf club ethos.
                        Weekly assemblies were an integral part of the life of Paradise Golf Club cadets. Assemblies were held each Saturday morning after the cadets had completed a round of golf (nine holes).

11.3     Description
            The young players sat on seats inside the golf club.  At the front, the Junior Golf Programme convenor stood on a slightly raised dais.  The young players sat and whispered quietly. The Junior Programme convenor called the group to order and spoke about the golf games he had observed. He commented to the players that they had "played like real men". He congratulated the winner in glowing terms and encouraged the losers, commending everyone for participating. The cadet captain (a boy of 13 years) came to the front and stood on the dais. He talked to the other cadets about their responsibilities of booking their tee off times, of picking up balls at practice and encouraging other players. After he had finished the Junior Programme convenor told the boys to quietly move outside.

11.4     Analysis
            It is possible to analyse the assembly ritual in terms of the ways in which it constructs the cadets as bourgeois children. There were multiple messages that were being conveyed to the cadets regarding the ‘official’ version of the ‘ideal’ club member. The bourgeois overtones that were so much a part of the setting and the assembly ritual not only served to introduce or reproduce the values and discourses embodied by the golf clubs, but positioned the cadet members within the discourses of the middle-class culture. The rituals of weekly meetings exposed cadet members to the values and practices seen to be desired by a conservative middle-class establishment. Hence, cadet members were positioned in ways that fostered the assimilation of bourgeois discourses as being natural and desired. This revealed the deepest dispositions of the (class-related) habitus at work, together with the struggle for social distinction

11.5     The discourse and embodiment of power and authority was inherent in the practice of the cadet captain taking on the role of facilitator within the assembly ritual. This exposed cadets to the discourses of power and control.  The public act of speaking can be seen to be a symbolic representation of power, since it defined who had the power to speak and who were defined as listeners. In this ritual, the cadets were given power to control the speech act. In doing so, the cadets were exposed to the discourses and practices of power for it is the cadets who were able to assume control of the ritual and in turn were able to control the listeners. The physical positioning of the cadet captain on the raised dais exposed them to the embodiment of power by being able to ‘look down’ on fellow cadets.  A sense of authority was further gained by the physical and symbolic distances between the cadet captain and the audience; a sense which was physically embodied by those who participated in the ritual.

11.6     The discourses of meritocracy and competition were inherent in the junior golf convenor's reports on the players’ rounds. The rhetorical messages of participation and good sportsmanship were portrayed as key factors in the ethos of sport.  The use of terms such as ‘played like real men’, ‘club spirit’, and ‘co-operation’ signified the appropriate behaviour of club members. What was interesting in the convenor's address was the contradictory messages contained within it. The first was concerned with the true nature of sport. His report had a panoptic effect of delineating the ideal club members as playing golf and being a ‘good sport’ regardless of the result. Yet his reference to those club members who won was contradictory to the message of participation since it valorised winning and winners. This suggested to cadet members that winning was more desired and valued, and in so doing, it implicitly suggested that the ideal cadet member was one who wins.  Similarly, the emphasis on masculine discourse in this assembly positioned male activities as being more prized and valued within the discourses of sport.  While the cadet captain reported on all golf scores for both girls and boys, suggesting equality across the various sporting activities, this was overridden when the convenor, who symbolises ultimate male power and authority within the golf club, reported that the cadets played ‘like real men’.

11.7     This comment was a valorisation of masculinity. Although they had lost the game, they were able to retain their dignity through their capacity to be ‘men’.  One can only assume therefore, that to have played like ‘girls’ would be seen as denigrating. The ethos of male superiority was a dominant part of the culture at Paradise Golf Club. Originally an all-boys cadet membership, it was ‘forced’ to become co-educational only in the past five years. A long serving club member commented that this change in direction was referred to ‘as the experiment’ and was quite dismissive of the role of the young girls in the golf club. Instead, the inclusion of girls was portrayed as something to keep away the complaints of gender equity.  The not-so-subtle portrayal of girls as an adjunct to the ‘real’ culture of the golf club was exemplified by the actions taken by the convenor at the assembly. From rituals such as this, it was possible to see how cadets were being exposed to a certain ethos through the weekly ritual. At Paradise Golf Club the assembly conveyed an ethos which valorised competition, individualism, meritocracy and masculinity. Cadet members who participated in the ritual embodied power and control, and became positioned in gendered and bourgeois discourses. These rituals can be seen as rites of passage into the dominant golf culture.  Within the Bourdieuian framework that the researchers have employed for understanding the construction of social difference, the rituals that are an integral part of the golf culture can be seen to be a display of certain dispositions that are valued within the golf club. These dispositions became forms of cultural capital.

12.       Cadet achievement scheme

            The second ritual that is discussed focuses on the development of achievement awards. The following exert from the cadet manual describes the operation of the achievement scheme.

12.1     Description
            This scheme was developed along the lines of the Scout Association ‘badge’ system.  Advancement through the Achievement Scheme is based upon a number of factors: each corresponding with a ‘points’ value. These factors are listed in Table One.

Table 1
Cadet Achievement Scheme

Factors upon which assessment is made include:


Attendance - clinics, socials, competitions.


Handicap reductions.

Practice sessions.

Competition wins.

Voluntary assistance - working bees, divot drives.

Skills tests.

(Adapted from Paradise Golf Club Cadet Manual, 1996)

            The system did not only provide reward for playing achievement but also provided an opportunity for all members to display a commitment to important non-playing aspects. Accordingly, it is not only the better players that were rewarded. The acquisition of knowledge and skill throughout the process developed better players and better people, upon entry to senior ranks. In addition to the intangible rewards associated with advancement, tangible prizes and acknowledgment were provided as members graduated to the next level. Naturally, as the rewards became larger, so did the degree of difficulty. Negative penalties were also inbuilt for behaviour breaches.There were four achievement levels within the structure, with minimum age criteria applying.  The age criteria and graduated difficulty scale for testing ensured that the integrity and longevity of the programme was not compromised.  (Paradise Golf Club Cadet Manual, 1996, pp. 1-2).

12.2     Analysis
            The presentation of achievement awards positioned cadets directly and openly as to what was seen to be the ideal club member. The two forms of rewards connoted two diverse messages. The players’ achievement awards were of a more encouraging or nurturing discourse whereby cadets who were showing traits of the ‘ideal’ club member behaviours were rewarded with the presentation of these awards. In presenting such awards, the club recognised and encouraged those who had displayed the desired traits, but it also served to display to the other cadets what behaviours were seen as desired and valued by the club. These awards were made on a regular basis and club officials attempted to ensure that all cadets received an award at some time throughout the year. Consequently, this achievement award encouraged cadets to continue to strive for what was valued by the club. The more prestigious playing awards were of a different nature and were presented for golfing achievement. These awards indicated to the cadets those ideals that the club desired. As such, the achievement awards were indicators that the club valued both golfing achievement and personal values while the weekly awards nurtured those aspects of cadet behaviour that lent themselves to becoming a good club member. Effort was associated with achievement, so that the cadets were positioned in practices wherein effort was prized and gained higher recognition than achievement only.

12.3     The discourses of competition were quite apparent in the achievement award announcements. Cadets were allocated points for various activities, both on and off the golf course, and these were read out at award meetings where all cadets came to know who were the ‘winners’ and who were the ‘losers’. The practice of allocating points to such things as ‘divot duty’ can be seen to be positioning the cadets within discourses of disciplining the self and bourgeois discourses of developing a sense of ownership and pride in oneself and golf club property. This practice was further enhanced with the parental involvement in the maintenance of the golf club property. Parents were rostered to help the junior players and recognition was given to the parents for showing the right example. Such practices extended the club-family links so that the club was seen as an extension of home.

12.4     The achievement scheme at Paradise positioned cadets in multiple discourses about the ‘ideal’ cadet member wherein the ideal cadet was constructed as one who could achieve, was loyal, respectful and who had a sense of pride in the club - the bourgeois individual. There was a strong emphasis on concrete rewards for displays of these desired behaviours, that is, cadets received recognition in the form of achievement awards or in the more ubiquitous form of prizes of golf balls and 'cokes' each week at assembly. It was clear that, in golf, certain practices were deemed ideal. Consequently, in order to be an effective participant in the field, it was essential to assimilate the rules that governed the practices as legitimate. These ideal practices within golf served to legitimate the cultural values that supported the existing status quo.

13.       Playing a round of golf

13.1     Description
            Each Saturday morning cadets arrived at 6.00 am and were organised into groups of four who then proceeded to play a round of nine holes. Cadets who arrived late or had not booked their round were put on 'stand-by'. If no vacancies or time slots were available they were not allowed to play. Cadets were required to become knowledgeable on the rules of the game. Any unnecessary noise, or breaking of golf rules led to an official warning and a one-month suspension. During the six-month study one cadet was suspended for talking whilst a player was taking a shot. One boy was expelled from the cadets for ‘gross misbehaviour’. His crime was that he had laughed at another cadet who had ‘duffed’ his shot.

13.2     Analysis
In this golf ritual, the cadets were exposed to practices and discourses that constituted golf as a very formal and exacting activity. Cadets were positioned within the practices that demanded rule-following procedures so that they were likely to construct the meaning of golf participation within these parameters. The emphasis on procedural manipulations, orderliness and punctuality positioned cadets within discourses that portrayed golf as a body of etiquette knowledge. Cadets came to construct the ideal member as one who was able to follow the nominated procedures. This process represented embodied or physical capital that existed in the form of long-lasting depositions of body and mind. It highlighted the ways cadets developed, altered, and held the physical shape of their bodies, and learnt how to present and manage their bodies through styles of walk, talk, dress and facial expressions. The body had as much potential for being shaped by the dominant culture as did the mind, and the two in fact, were inextricable in mediating between the individual and the golf institution. The golf habitus had determined which body dispositions would be invested with the most symbolic capita. In doing so, the rules of body regulation and body expectations became part of the 'hidden' curriculum that systematically discriminated between movements, styles and body presentation. Thus, in keeping with Bourdieu's general analysis, this revealed the deepest dispositions of the (class-related) habitus at work, together with the struggle for social distinction.

13.3     From the ritual described here, it was likely that the golf round was seen by cadets as a solitary activity in which there was little or no interaction. The requirement about keeping talk to a minimum during a round, suggested that the club supported a belief that golf was an individual activity. This was also reflected in the ways in which the game was organised so that little interaction was physically possible. Silence on the course was a premium within practices that valued non-communication. The lack of communication and dialogue could be seen to be a reflection of the meritocracy in the ethos of the club.  Sharing collegiality was not intrinsic to the nature of the golf round, rather it was individuality and competition that was both consciously and subconsciously promoted.

14.       Golf lessons

14.1     Description
            All cadets at Paradise Golf Club were required to attend a one-hour golf lesson each Saturday, which was conducted by a trainee professional golfer immediately after assembly. After morning assembly Ken, the golf professional, taught class to all the cadets. Each week the pattern was the same. Ken would call cadets together and outline the lesson focus e.g., chip, drive, bunker shots. Ken explained, in often quite technical terms, the mechanics of each shot and demonstrate. After a few demonstrations, the cadets would line up on the range and Ken walked up and down assisting with their technique.  The lessons were business-like with little interaction between cadets and the professional. Cadets were required to practice quietly and concentrate on the correct technique. The lesson usually finished with a competition such as ‘nearest the pin’.  The 'losers' of the competition were required to pick up the balls.

14.2     Analysis
            Ken's position of ‘golf pro’ enabled him to be seen as an authority on the content of golf whereby his knowledge was sovereign. This was not reflected in the way that he dominated the lesson by determining the content but through his pedagogy, which left little space for cadets to have any input. Hence, the cadets at Paradise Golf Club received their knowledge in terms of skills and techniques handed down by the golf 'pro'. As such, cadets came to construct golf as a form of skilled knowledge that was transmitted from one who knew to those who didn't know. Golf was portrayed as a given body of skilled knowledge that can be learnt through continual practice and reinforcement. What was also striking here was the lack of cadet interaction.  There was no encouragement to talk to one another or to move around, as the cadets in lessons appeared to know precisely what was expected of them. Every lesson that was observed followed the same format whereby Ken demonstrated and cadets practiced skills. Cadets had learnt this ritual of non-interaction very well, and generally would not transgress from what was expected of them. Control of the lesson was always with the golf 'pro', hence learning golf was being constituted as a solitary practice in which students could expect to work through a series of tasks. Dialogue, whether it was constructive or not, was not a part of learning golf.

14.3     Ken's lesson structure positioned him as the knower and the controller of golf skill knowledge. His pedagogy required minimal input from the cadets so that he, as the controller of knowledge, could veto what was not seen as legitimate.  Golfing skill was being portrayed as an exact art whereby there were only right and wrong ways. Ken was of the view that golf is a true and exacting practice, where there is (generally) only one technique that could be considered correct. His practice of demonstrating skills and having students reproduce the skills without justification, positioned them so that they were likely to construct golf technique as a very precise and rigid practice, where only 'good technique' was acceptable. The focus on correct technique fostered a meritocratic ethos within the lesson where cadets came to construct their sense of self worth in terms of the number of good shots they played. The more 'good shots' that they made, then the more ‘golf-abled’ they were.  Individual technique was not valued within the practices of the lessons.

14.4     Cadets were consequently being exposed to very narrow definitions of what constitutes golf and golf skills learning. While Ken’s practices could be seen as somewhat out of step with current trends by many contemporary sport educators, he was positioning students within the practices and discourses that they were likely to encounter within golf lesson contexts at Paradise Golf Club. Cadets were expected to embody the skill characteristics of the golf ‘pro’ so that they became constituted as part of the golfing habitus of the individual.

14.5     Bourdieu (1978) suggested that once a power relationship has been established and regularized through practice, people do not have to recognize authority consciously or overtly as ‘authority’ to give the authority power. They merely have to react to it practically. That is, by behaving in normal everyday ways that positively or negatively accord that authority, people tacitly signify their recognition of the authority's power over them. We can see this relationship and behaviour in the golf lesson. The coach exerted political influence over young cadets. To gain authority and power, the coach took on board the culture, or the habitus, of the field, and he amassed more capital as he became more powerful, gaining more control and legitimacy, so becoming empowered to direct an impart knowledge on others. The cadets understood tacitly, and enacted a relationship - a pattern for interaction - that required them to behave in ways that demonstrated respect for the coach, attentiveness to practice activities, and a desire for correction. Through this behaviour they allowed the coach to exert authority over them. Their tacit understanding was drawn from the experience of this relationship in school.

15.       Conclusion

Paradise Golf Club as a socialising instrument in the life of these young cadets added to the existing cultural capital, habitus and dispositions that cadet members brought to this environment. In many ways the practices and discourses that were integral to Paradise Golf Club enhanced the cultural capital, physical capital and habitus that some cadets brought to the club setting. For example, those cadets whose early socialisation at other golf clubs created a habitus congruous to that of Paradise were more likely to value similar aspects of the club habitus, and as such participated more effectively within such practices. Those cadets who did not bring valued cultural capital from other golf contexts were exposed to a golf habitus that promoted and valued often contradictory discourses and practices. For this group of players, there were few options other than to assimilate into the golfing culture in an attempt to learn the cultural system of golf. This was essential if the cadet was to remain a member, required extensive effort and was not readily achieved. One of the functions of the hidden curriculum of golf is to exclude those groups of young players for whom the culture of golf is incongruous with that of their previous culture. This process allowed the club to preserve and reproduce the existing relationships of power. The other option for cadets was to resist the cultural systems represented within the golf club context. However, young players who resisted the culture of the golf club quietly found themselves marginalised and excluded. This was achieved via rules and regulations covering behaviour and participation in the golf habitus. The consequences were that they were excluded from the power and status enjoyed by those who assimilated into the culture of the club.


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