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Midnight basketball may not have been invented in Chicago, but the City of Big Shoulders—home of Michael Jordan and the Bulls—is where it first came to national prominence. And it’s also where Douglas Hartmann first began to think seriously about the audacious notion that organizing young men to run around in the wee hours of the night—all trying to throw a leather ball through a metal hoop—could constitute meaningful social policy. Organized in the 1980s and ’90s by dozens of American cities, late-night basketball leagues were designed for social intervention, risk reduction, and crime prevention targeted at African American youth and young men. In Midnight Basketball, Hartmann traces the history of the program and the policy transformations of the period, while exploring the racial ideologies, cultural tensions, and institutional realities that shaped the entire field of sports-based social policy. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the book also brings to life the actual, on-the-ground practices of midnight basketball programs and the young men that the programs intended to serve. In the process, Midnight Basketball offers a more grounded and nuanced understanding of the intricate ways sports, race, and risk intersect and interact in urban America.
Is sport good for kids? When answering this question, both critics and advocates of youth sports tend to fixate on matters of health, whether condemning contact sports for their concussion risk or prescribing athletics as a cure for the childhood obesity epidemic. Child’s Play presents a more nuanced examination of the issue, considering not only the physical impacts of youth athletics, but its psychological and social ramifications as well. The eleven original scholarly essays in this collection provide a probing look into how sports—in community athletic leagues, in schools, and even on television—play a major role in how young people view themselves, shape their identities, and imagine their place in society. Rather than focusing exclusively on self-proclaimed jocks, the book considers how the culture of sports affects a wide variety of children and young people, including those who opt out of athletics. Not only does Child’s Play examine disparities across lines of race, class, and gender, it also offers detailed examinations of how various minority populations, from transgender youth to Muslim immigrant girls, have participated in youth sports. Taken together, these essays offer a wide range of approaches to understanding the sociology of youth sports, including data-driven analyses that examine national trends, as well as ethnographic research that gives a voice to individual kids. Child’s Play thus presents a comprehensive and compelling analysis of how, for better and for worse, the culture of sports is integral to the development of young people—and with them, the future of our society.
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CSA Sociological Abstracts abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,800+ serials publications, and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers.

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