Football for student communal cultures in south of Russia

Dr.Sc.Soc., Associate Professor E.V. Kargapolova3
PhD student S.V. Kargapolov2
Dr.Sc.Soc., Professor N.V. Dulina2
PhD Y.G. Mironova1
1Astrakhan State University, Astrakhan
2Volgograd State University, Volgograd
3Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow

Keywords: sport, football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, sport interests, youth, students.

Background. Modern sports are viewed among the key personality socializing factors [1-4] that may be analyzed in a few dimensions – as a social technology with its system of clear rules and behavioral models; and as a social institution to facilitate progress in the social and professional domains [4]. Subject to analysis herein is the academic football as an indispensable component of the university culture. Socio-cultural domain is viewed herein as the ‘world outlook forming standards, values, priorities and their objective manifestations in one or another culture’ [6] that underline the ontological unity of a society, culture and individual.

Objective of the study was to analyze the role of football for the academic cultures on the Russian South – in Astrakhan and Volgograd cities.

Methods and structure of the study. The study data were generated by the online questionnaire survey ‘2018 FIFA World Cup: Youth Opinions and Ratings’ run by the Russian Society of Sociologists in November-December 2017. More details on the survey are available on the official website of the Russian Society of Sociologists. Subject to the survey and analysis were 4,703 students from 60 universities in 25 cities, including 41% males and 59% females. Analyzed herein are the survey data mined in Astrakhan (n=250, 41% male and 59% female subsample) and Volgograd (n=839, 45% male and 55% female subsample). It should be noted that the findings cannot be rated dependable since errors for some subsamples are higher that for the total sample. However, the total sample (as demonstrated by the practical experience of the similar surveys run by the Russian Society of Sociologists) makes it possible to make meaningful conclusions.

Results and discussion. Survey of the role of academic football for the student communities in the socio-cultural aspects showed most (56% including 46% males and 63% females) of the national sample being disinterested in football. Reasons for this finding deserve to be studied separately. There are many other hobbies apart of football, and it is only natural that the interest in football is reasonably limited. Half of the student sample interested in football may be considered an encouraging result for the sport. However, thinking about those (the remaining half) who are not interested in them, one should take into account that football is one of the most popular sports, and the popular attitudes to it may be indicative of the attitudes to sports on the whole. It should be also mentioned that many sports (including football) are genuinely aggressive in their competitive versions, with the aggression required to be limited by the socially safe forms [2].

The coaching specialists should be trained respectively – with a special priority to the aggression control knowledge and skills. Due attention in such trainings should be given to the supporter community emotionality control and management aspects, with the sport commentators, journalists and other influential actors expected to be aware and skillful enough in the aggression control domain to prevent it from aggravation into a sort of social hysteria and other socially dangerous forms. As far as the disinterested half of the student sample is concerned, it may make sense to mention that the amateur sports have apparently degraded as they are no more considered the ‘gentlemen’s sports’. The modern professional sport recruitment paradigm is dominated by the commercial agendas with the competitive success and awards viewed the absolute and prime priority of any sport career – often at sacrifice of the physical, mental and social health.

The shares of those disinterested in professional football in the Astrakhan and Volgograd subsamples (38% versus 51%, respectively) were somewhat shorter than in the national total; with the disinterested shares being 24% and 50% and 44% and 57% male and female, respectively.

The top-ranking international football events, including the FIFA Cup matches are of interest for one of five in the national sample and the Astrakhan and Volgograd subsamples. The Astrakhan subsample was found more interested than the other respondents in the Russian Championship (25% versus 19%), UEFA Cups and European League matches (22% versus 17%); national football league competitions in other countries and continents (16% versus 12%); and in the local football matches, league events and tournaments (15% versus 11%). Self-identified football supporters were estimated at 17% and 28% in the Russian sample and Astrakhan subsample, respectively. Furthermore, the Astrakhan and Volgograd subsamples were found more interested in the football match broadcasts than the Russian sample, with the Astrakhan students leading in this aspect: see the Table. 51% of the Russian sample and 45% and 40% of the Volgograd and Astrakhan subsamples was found disinterested in broadcasts of the World and European Football Championships. It should be noted that 35%, 28% and 25% of the Russian sample and Volgograd and Astrakhan subsamples, respectively, reported fully disinterested in the professional football matches.

39% and 34% of the Volgograd and Astrakhan subsamples, respectively, reported often watching football matches with their families; 34% and 29% of the Astrakhan and Volgograd subsamples reported supporting their teams with their friends. 26% and 22% of the Astrakhan and Volgograd subsamples reported watching the matches alone at home; or in sport bars/ clubs (7% versus 3%, respectively).

The survey data show that football is somewhat more popular in the student communities on the Russian South than in Russia on the whole, with the Astrakhan subsample tested somewhat more interested than the Volgograd one. The survey data were interpreted with the following facts and considerations taken into account. In the Volgograd subsample, about one of four respondents is trained at a physical education university to become a professional athlete. This may be the reason why the Volgograd subsample was tested with a slightly higher interest in professional football than the total national sample. The Astrakhan subsample included only 4% of the physical education university students; 32% of the humanities university students; 25% of the technical university students; 24% of the economic university students; 5% of the natural science university students; 4% of the military academy cadets, and 3% of the mathematics, information technology and medical university students. The Astrakhan subsample interest in football, however, was found undetermined by the future professional service.

It should be also mentioned that the Astrakhan subsample was more senior (with a lesser share of the 1-2-year students) than the Volgograd subsample and the national sample (37%, 56% and 69%, respectively). This may be the reason why the Astrakhan subsample includes more people combining studies with work, with only one of four-five and one of three Astrakhan and Volgograd residents, respectively, reporting having no job so far. Reportedly employed on a permanent basis were 29% and 16%; occasionally employed 35% and 24%; and employed only in summertime 25% and 13% of the Astrakhan and Volgograd subsamples, respectively. It should be mentioned that the Astrakhan subsample interest in football was again found irrespective of the employment status. We believe that origins of the interest in football should be found in somewhat different area. We found one of four Astrakhan respondents being raised in country areas versus one of five in the Volgograd subsample and national sample. Since football is a collective/ team sport, interest in football may be higher in the primarily rural communities as appealing to their collectivistic routes – as we have found in a few other questionnaire surveys of the Astrakhan and Volgograd residents [5].

Conclusion. The analysis found more than a half of the national sample being uninterested in modern professional football; whilst the Astrakhan student communal culture was found more football-centered than the Volgograd one. The finding may be explained by the areal specifics of the football interests and motivations, since the Astrakhan communal and student cultures are still dominated by the ‘countryside’ mentality with the relevant life agendas and priorities.

References

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Corresponding author: k474671@list.ru

Abstract

Modern sports are getting increasingly popular and accessible to contribute to one of the major social phenomena as they are increasingly appreciated for their personality socializing benefits that may be considered in two aspects: as the social technology with its clear hierarchy of rules and behavioral standards; and the social institution that shapes and builds up an individual social and professional status. Objective of the study was to analyze the role of football for academic communities on the Russian South – in Astrakhan and Volgograd. The study data were generated by the online questionnaire survey ‘2018 FIFA World Cup: Youth Opinions and Ratings’ run by the Russian Society of Sociologists (RSS) in November-December 2017. Subject to survey and analysis were 4,703 students from 60 universities in 25 cities, including 839 and 249 students from Volgograd and Astrakhan, respectively. The analysis found more than a half of the national sample being uninterested in modern professional football; whilst the Astrakhan student culture was found more football-centered than the Volgograd one. The finding may be explained by the areal specifics of the football interests and motivations, since the Astrakhan communal and student cultures are still dominated by the ‘countryside’ mentality with the relevant life agendas and priorities.