It’s Just a Kid’s Game: An Ethnographic Approach Examining the Intersection of Societal, Social, and Cultural Elements of The Midwestern Kickball League
Stensland, Peyton Jo
University of Kansas
Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences
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For this dissertation, I conducted an interpretive ethnography of the Midwestern Kickball League (a pseudonym). The ethnography was grounded in a circuit of culture framework, and I immersed myself within the culture of the Midwestern Kickball League for the 2018 season where I attended practices, games, podcasts, charity events, social events, Game of the Weeks, and after parties. I became a participant (as) observer within the league and utilized ethnographic methods such as observations, informal and formal interviews, participant journals, a researcher diary, and material/digital products. I employed a circuit of culture model as a guide to understanding the fluid process of culture within the Midwestern Kickball League. Specifically, I analyzed culture through the production, representation, and consumption of cultural product throughout the league. I also implemented a multi-level (societal/community, organizational, and individual) examination of culture based in various academic research paradigms. A theoretical framework was formulated from literature on organizational culture, identity theory, social identity theory, sense of community, social capital, and sport participant motivation. The results are conveyed in the form of an interpretive ethnography, where I was able to provide personal accounts that contributed to the understanding of the Midwestern Kickball League context. In all, I used the six chapters that follow to provide an in-depth exploration of a captivating and complex cultural setting.
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