This review surveys the sociological work on race and sport over the past 50 years. It begins by outlining the importance of C.L.R. James's book as a foundational text for the critical sociology of race and sport. Two paradigms of research on race and sport are sketched: the critical and the functionalist-evolutionary. The article then reviews the major contributions to the study of race and sport from three areas, namely mainstream American sociology, the sociology of race, and the sociology of sport, focusing primarily on the research published since 2000. The article concludes by looking at future directions of work in the field, suggesting that although sport remains marginal to mainstream American sociology and the insights of scholars such as James remain overlooked, the best work on race and sport will continue to emerge from the subfield of sport studies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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