This is a grounded theory study attempting to answer the question of why high school sports are appealing to individuals without direct personal connections to contesting teams, incorporating observations from 16 high school basketball games that took place at 7 different gyms in Indiana over the course of the 2018-19 season. Engagement in high school basketball creates emotional energy as enumerated by Randall Collins, which is then invested into symbols akin to Durkheim’s totems. High school athletics attains a lasting appeal insofar as it associates itself with other community symbols in the context of a high-fusion identity (a la Jeffrey Alexander), thus creating many minor opportunities for engagement with symbols and reinvestment of emotional energy both within and outside the sporting context. The necessary frequency of these opportunities varies inversely to the emotional intensity of the major ritual investment event, such as a basketball game. The frequency of emotional investment and its relationship to fused identity could shed light on various forms of collective identity and shared ritual participation.
|Contributor||Kraig Beyerlein, Committee Member|
|Contributor||Erika M. Summers Effler, Research Director|
|Contributor||David Sikkink, Committee Member|
|Degree Level||Master's Thesis|
|Degree Name||Master of Arts|
|Departments and Units|