Midnight BasketballRace, Sports, and Neoliberal Social Policy

Midnight BasketballRace, Sports, and Neoliberal Social Policy

Douglas Hartmann

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226374840

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book is about the late night basketball leagues organized in dozens of American cities in the late 1980s and early 1990s for purposes of social intervention, risk prevention, and crime reduction among African American youth and young men. The first chapters trace the historical origins and evolution of these programs set in the context of the social policy transformations of the era. As the chapters unfold, the book also analyzes the racial ideologies, cultures of sport, and policy debates that midnight basketball reveals and that endowed it with larger symbolic significance and political import. Ethnographic fieldwork is used in the final chapters to bring the actual, on-the-ground practices of midnight basketball programs and the young men they were intended to serve to life. Throughout, Midnight Basketball offers a nuanced understanding of the complicated and consequential ways in which sports, race, and risk intersect in contemporary American culture.