Sport is a very prominent social institution in almost every society because it combines the characteristics found in any institution with a unique appeal only duplicated by, perhaps, religion. The functional, conflict, and cultural studies perspectives are reviewed, with additional discussion on how sport relates to the processes of socialization and social change. The latter focusses on the evolution of sport from a playful, participation-oriented activity to one that resembles a corporate form guided by the principles of commercialism and entertainment. The role of sport in international relations and national development dramatizes the political meaning of sport to many societies. While sport may be integrative at the higher political levels, it has not been so at the interpersonal levels of gender and race. The inequality that characterizes society's relations of gender and race is found in sport as well. The sociology of sport will be able to shed more light on all of these issues when theory informs more of the research in this subfield.