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The "Established Outsider"

"Elias’ theory of 'established-outsider' relations is used to suggest that females who participate in these sports can be described as an ‘outsider’ group, one that has lacked the organizational resources and networks of mutual assistance needed to shift significantly the uneven balance of power between the sexes" (Liston, 2005).

I have been exploring this topic of the "established outsider" brought to us by Dr. Katie Liston, Lecturer in the Sociology of Sport at University College Chester as well as Programme Leader for the MSc in the Sociology of Sport and Exercise, and Co-Director of the Chester Centre for Research into Sport and Society (

In this article she speaks to how the females on the sports teams are still placed in this outside positionality where they are still guided by dominant social constructions of what feminine looks like. These athletes are "part of the team" but are still treated differently, perceived as less valuable members and often prioritized last. In my experience working with teams, the females experience similar acts of degradation. Often the female athletes are not taught techniques better suited for their body type, they are often left clueless on how to execute said technique and are usually pitted against a male counterpart in that weight class who would do anything not to lose their varsity spot to a female. In high school these are the challenges a female wrestler might face, and as most schools do not have seperate girls teams, this is the rock and the hard place, so to speak, for coaches. The reality is that, females ARE valuable members of any team, male or female. ALL athletes can learn from one another in a harmonious way if the coach allows and demands for that environment to be had. As we move forward in this world of physical sport, the females need to havetheir own clear path. Expecting a woman to physcially dominate a man is setting both sexes up for societal backlash. However, women ARE strong, they can be tougher than males, they can dominate in physical sports, and EVERY female has the right to be given said opportunity.

-Dr. Cecchine


Katie Liston(2005)Established-outsider relations between males and females in male-associated sports in Ireland,European Journal for Sport and Society,2:1,25-33,DOI:10.1080/16138171.2005.11687763

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