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Deviance and Legitimacy in Ice-Hockey: A Microstructural Theory of Violence

Kenneth Colburn, Jr.
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 1986), pp. 63-74
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4106165
Page Count: 12
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Deviance and Legitimacy in Ice-Hockey: A Microstructural Theory of Violence
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Abstract

Bensman and Gerver's (1964) theory of structural deviance is employed as a general framework for examining the functional indispensability of the fist-fight in icehockey. Qualitative materials concerning the players' viewpoint are analyzed, according to Garfinkel (1967), in terms of a conception of practical decision-making used by players in their commission and interpretation of violent acts on the ice. A sociological explanation of hockey violence is thus offered that emphasizes the situationally relevant and meaningful nature of violence as it is experienced and understood by players. It also formulates the fist-fight as an institutionalized mode of legitimate violence that represents a compromise between conflicting ends within the sport.

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