Foucault’s technologies of the self have been used by sociological scholars of sport for nearly two decades. Yet Markula’s seminal articulation of a feminist Foucauldian ethics in 2003 stands as a watershed publication, insofar as the majority of publications following this article have framed much of their analyses in relation to this work. In this article, then, I review sociological studies of sport and exercise that draw on Foucauldian ethics from Markula’s article onward, paying careful attention to how Foucault’s ethics and Markula’s Foucauldian feminism have been deployed. Although I interpret this body of work as productive and insightful, I offer a critical reading of the emphasis on explicit problematizations and, relatedly, develop a methodological critique of researchers’ reliance on interviews as a prime form of research method.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is currently in the midst of an extraordinary period of mega-event hosting. While a large number of articles have been keen to illustrate the transformative potential and dilemmas of utilizing mega-events to advance an urban agenda, less understood is the role that media play in the construction of the "media geography" of mega-events. This research examines the collective narratives crafted by five Western international news outlets that emerged in the lead up to Brazil’s 2014 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. Incorporating interviews with international and new media journalists from a number of organizations, we illustrate the difficulty that foreign journalists faced in their attempts to represent the circumstances of "two Brazils"—one that was hosting a global event and another that is mired in structural injustice. We also highlight the role new media played in shifting the representative frame as Rio de Janeiro prepared for the tournament.
This article considers the relationship between Big Data and the athlete. Where Beer and Hutchins have focused on Big Data and sport, this article concentrates on the athlete’s potential response to Big Data monitoring. Drawing on the work of Andrejevic, and Kennedy and Moss, the project speaks to the Big Data–athlete relation through the theoretical framework of the digital divide. It describes Big Data and its relation to the digital divide before tracing out how athletes might respond to Big Data monitoring by presenting concerns about privacy and/or embracing a quantified self. Considering these responses provides a starting point for further work on how athletes should treat Big Data and its implications for sport.
Skateboarding has a global reach and will be included for the first time in the 2020 Olympic Games. It has transformed from a subcultural pursuit to a mainstream and popular sport. This research looks at some of the challenges posed by the opening of a new skatepark in Hong Kong and the introduction of a mandatory helmet rule. It explores attitudes to helmets in skateboard media, the local government, and among the skateboarders who use the new skatepark. It argues that helmet use is not only an issue of safety but also an issue of control. From the skateboarders’ perspective, it is about participant control over their sport, and from a government perspective, it is about accountability. The contrast between the two approaches is explored through the concepts of edgework and audit culture. As skateboarding continues to become a mainstream sporting activity, such issues of control will prove to be more relevant and must be negotiated in partnership. The growth in new skateparks, many of which are concrete, underlines the need for this discussion. It is argued that helmet use will continue to be a site of conflict as skateboarding becomes further incorporated into a mainstream sport, and that how helmets are represented in skateboarding will come to indicate who has control over the sport.
Tobacco and alcohol companies have long faced criticism regarding the unhealthy nature of their products and decisions to sponsor community sport events (CSEs). Recent public health concerns have led to additional CSE sponsor products facing similar criticism, including soft drinks, confectionary, and fast food. With CSE sponsorship increasingly utilized as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, research into the perceptions, effects, and management of CSR-based sponsorships within CSEs is opportune. This multiple case study reviews the food and beverage sponsorships of four New Zealand–based CSEs and positions resulting discourse within the sport management domain. Findings suggest that criticism of CSR-based CSE sponsorship is on the rise and predominantly stems from public health concerns. Such ongoing criticism of sponsorship decisions could be detrimental to the financial viability of CSEs.
This article analyzes timing and imaging systems used as sports decision aids (SDAs). Evidence of athletic performance in the form of timing and imaging data is the product of distinct interactions between humans, technology, and the live environment. As such, sports decisions are fallible. Yet the measurement of athletic performance is often presented as irrefutable thanks to enhanced technological precision. As this article shows, there are limits to the accuracy of timing and imaging systems as they are deployed in the physical environment, but such limits are rarely acknowledged in the public and professional discourse surrounding elite-level sport. To address this issue, the article analyses three sporting decisions: the 100 m butterfly race between Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; the third-place tie between Jeneba Tarmoh and Alysson Felix at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials; and the gold medal tie between skiers Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin at the 2014 Olympic games. The article examines the professional and public discourse surrounding each event as well as the regulations governing timing and imaging data in each sport to stress the situatedness and fallibility of SDAs. The article identifies limits to the accuracy of timing and imaging systems as they are deployed in the physical environment and calls on sports regulating bodies to clearly articulate the capabilities and limitations of timing and imaging systems in the production of evidence.
Inspired by assertions of "creeping commercialization" in issues of social justice, this article seeks to address the entanglement of privatization with sport for development and peace initiatives. We look specifically at Nike’s history of "social responsibility" to situate the N7 initiative, for Indigenous health, within a larger landscape of privatized social justice. Critical discourse analysis was used to unpack Nike’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. In addition, a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the #DeChief movement, which lobbies against the use of "Native" mascotry, was conducted via the social media platform, Twitter. The authors observed public criticism against Nike’s incongruous business practices in supporting Indigenous health on one hand, and financially benefitting from the sale of harmful Indigenous caricatures on the other.
This case study used concepts associated with Black masculinity to critically analyze newspaper depictions of the Ray Rice Domestic Violence Case (RRDVC). The pattern matching and content analysis revealed the following themes: colorblindness, binary depictions, and commodification. This article used the RRDVC to establish a persistent pattern of public discourse that situates Black male athletes accused of committing crimes within a series of controlling images depicted by the media that serve to maintain White supremacist patriarchal understandings of Black masculinity. The results of the analysis reveal how hegemonic depictions of Ray Rice serve the White supremacist patriarchy in maintaining the containment and commodification of Black men and perpetuate the acceptability of violence against Black women.
Recent growth in the media visibility of female combat sport athletes has offered a compelling site for research on gender and sport media, as women in deeply masculinized sports have been increasingly placed in the public spotlight. Although scholars in the Anglophone West have offered analyses of the media framing of this phenomenon, little work has been done outside these cultural contexts. Thus, in this article, we offer a qualitative exploration of how Joanna Jedrzejczyk, a Polish champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has been represented in Polish media. Our findings reveal a relatively de-gendered, widely celebratory account, primarily framed by nationalistic discourse—findings we ascribe to both the particularities of the sport of mixed martial arts as well as the historic nature of Jedrzejczyk’s success.
This article analyzes the role of male journalists in the construction of gender models in the specialized mountain bike press. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s field and habitus theory, it shows that the masculine and feminine media figures are mainly dependent on the professional habitus of these male journalists. Indeed, on one hand, professional socialization experiences out of the mountain bike press do facilitate a critical attitude regarding the most stereotypical gender models. On the other hand, male journalists who inversely spent all of their career within the mountain bike press do perpetuate representations in keeping with the dominant doxa.
The International Paralympic Committee, U.K. Government, and the Organizing Committee for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games all contended that the London 2012 Paralympic Games would positively impact the lives of disabled people in the United Kingdom, particularly with regard to changing nondisabled attitudes toward disability. All three have claimed partial success during the course of the 4-year period (Olympiad) separating the London and Rio Paralympic Games. However, this is at odds with the findings of Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and the experiences of disabled individuals. This article considers the claims of both sides against a backdrop of public policies that are targeting large-scale benefit cuts, the media coverage of which actually appears to be hardening attitudes toward anyone on benefits and negating any positive impacts from the Games themselves. It argues that the continued predominance of "ableist" perspectives on disability underpins many of the challenges faced by disabled people. The article adopts a historical perspective on the development of legacy-based foundations upon which the disability sport and Paralympic movements originated. It contends that the gradual move toward an elite "Olympic" sports model of competition has actually served to undermine these foundations.
Jackie Robinson was the first acknowledged Black player in 20th century Major League Baseball (MLB). By 1951, a few Black players had performed credibly at the Major League level, while others were integrating Minor League Baseball. Unlike other labor situations where proxies for productivity must be used, Minor League players at the AAA level—the level just below the Major Leagues—performed and compiled their playing statistics under similar competitive environments. Using regression analysis, we test whether there is evidence of discrimination in promoting Black players to the Major Leagues, based on productivity data from the early 1950s.
The aim of this article is to provide insight on how claims that sport contributes to development or peace are transformed into facts. Beyond a theoretical discussion about how sport for development and peace (SDP) facts are built, this article demonstrates, in rich detail, the subtle art of SDP fact building for funding purposes. Specifically, through an integrative literature review and two case studies, a mix of fact-building actors composed of experts, literature, and allies, is exposed and analyzed. Furthermore, a conceptual model that synthesizes the relationship between the mix of fact-building actors and contextually predisposed funding agencies is also proposed.
Wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular sport activities among persons with disabilities. The current study focuses on "reverse integration" (RI) groups of athletes with and without disabilities playing wheelchair basketball in Israel. A qualitative analysis approach was chosen to examine whether the able-bodied participants in RI wheelchair basketball training and competition identify their participation as a "serious leisure" (SL) activity, and to determine which additional insights could be gained about this activity from participants’ perspectives. Eight male able-bodied participants, who have taken part in three Israeli wheelchair basketball leagues (divisions), were interviewed. All eight participants in this study played longer than a year. The findings revealed support for the SL premise within all six SL criteria. Participation of our informants was categorized within the establishment and maintenance phases. All participants reported sustained perseverance in spite of having to deal with significant challenges, including the physical strain and mental difficulties associated with the game, coping with dual roles of participation as player and coach, and finally, having to face the same economical and social barriers typically reported by athletes with disability.
This article analyzes the transition from a solid modern soccer-scape into a liquid modern soccer-scape in professional soccer in Morelia, Mexico. The acquisition of the club by TV Azteca is considered the milestone that separates both soccer-scapes. The figurational sociology of Elias and the liquid modern analysis of Bauman serve as the foundations of this study. The analysis involves a time component as well as a spatial component. There are two central arguments: (a) the liquid modern soccer-scape is characterized by an ever-increasing turnover speed of rosters, a time acceleration of advertisement in soccer spaces, as well as the intensification in the use of spaces involved in soccer; (b) the liquid modern cultural framework has preceded and paved the way for its globalized economic-material realization.
This essay analyzes articulations of race and power as they surfaced in the media uproar surrounding National Football League (NFL) star Richard Sherman’s notorious 2014 National Football Conference (NFC) Championship post-game "interview for the ages." It charts two dialectical poles of representation: overtly racist denunciations of Sherman as a classless "thug" and counter-representations of self-enterprising talent. I argue these competing images register "permissible narratives of difference" that underwrite a neoliberal, post-racial project. The article thus explores how Sherman’s newfound celebrity authorizes "official antiracisms" of post-racial rhetoric, which foreclose alternatives to the privatization and depoliticization of racial discourse.
This study asks, "Does a highly identified sports fan feel a strong bond while watching his favorite football players and then exhibit violent, copycat behavior?" Using the media, copycat framework, this research looked at five categories of domestic violence arrests in the city of Philadelphia on Eagles’ "gamedays," for an 8-hr period, beginning with kick-off time. These relationships were tested using comparison of means tests. The mean average of domestic violence arrests on football was statistically significantly different from both comparison Sundays and other sports’ "gamedays." As predicted, there was no statistically significant difference between home and away games, removing the possible bias that fans were at the game and then became violent.
Despite the growing research on doping in sport, there is little analysis of the sanctioning process. This article contributes to remedying this gap by examining anti-doping rule violation hearings heard before the California State Athletic Commission. Drawing upon qualitative fieldwork informed by socio-legal approaches, it explores how athletes articulate defenses against formal accusations of doping. Their performances reveal broader power relationships. Analysis of the interactions between participants in the hearings illustrates how relational aspects of the hearings are integral to understanding the anti-doping sanctioning process. In sum, this article reveals how attempts to adhere to seemingly objective, procedural protocols and intersectional forms of social difference converge, complicating the pursuit of the Commission’s mandate to protect the health of athletes under its jurisdiction.
It has long been suggested that even after baseball’s "color line" was broken in 1947, Black players had to be better than White ones to be given an opportunity to play in the major leagues. The present article provides empirical support for that claim, using data from the point at which all major league teams were integrated and five subsequent major league seasons, sampled at equal time intervals through 1999. Average annual wins above replacement (Win Above Replacement or WAR, an overall measure of a player’s value) were significantly higher for non-Latino Black players than White players promoted to the majors at least until the mid-1970s. As discussed, the bias suggested by these data could be due to a combination of explicit (conscious) and implicit prejudice.
Media shifts in the past 50 years based on a late capitalist economics have profoundly affected how a film is produced, delivered, and received. In this article, I aim to examine two exemplar surf films—The Endless Summer (1964) and Slow Dance (2013)—as well as the surf film genre to note some of the ways these cultural artifacts have changed over time. I link these shifts to larger cultural shifts, and draw attention to several key strategies that these surf films utilize to remain topical to their audiences.
This study discusses changes in football fans’ perception of nationalism in recent years. A growing number of athletes, fans, and sports teams have been explicitly prioritizing their own particular individual interests over national ones. National football teams nowadays enjoy far less support from their fans, whose allegiances are often multiple and who, at times, even reject their own national team. Globalization and the rise of social networks, along with economic and individual agendas, have all been chipping away at national sports teams’ popularity. Using content analyses of online forums and Israeli football fans’ Facebook groups during times the national team was playing, this study aims to reveal a variety of vested interests on multiple levels, which serve to undermine national sports hegemony.
This article starts from the assumption that the European Union (EU) could play a leading part in reducing the negative environmental impacts of sport. The extent to which the EU fulfills its potential in this regard depends upon the integration of environmental objectives in EU sports policy. The article has a dual purpose. First, it analyzes the integration of environmental objectives at the different stages of the policy process. Second, it identifies the main barriers to the integration of environmental protection and explores the way forward. It is shown that establishing an Expert Group focusing solely on mitigating the environmental impact of sport is a suitable strategy for integrating environmental considerations at the heart of the decision-making process.
The focus of this article centers around an established universities sports outreach program—the Sport Universities North East England (SUNEE) project—and explores how its core workforce, student volunteers, perceive that they develop effective working relationships with the project’s "hard-to-reach" clients. The SUNEE project represents an alliance between the region’s five universities to tackle social exclusion, and promote and nurture social capital and civil responsibility through the vehicle of sports. This joined-up approach to sports development provides the region’s student volunteers with vast opportunities to gain both experience and qualifications as sports coaches, mentors, and leaders by working with a range of hard-to-reach groups. To explore how the dynamics of the project influenced relationship statuses between SUNEE’s diverse participants, from the perspective of the student volunteers, this article draws upon Robert Putnam’s notion of social capital to interpret the experiences of the study’s percipients (n = 40). Captured using semi-structured interviews, students indicate that over the course of their participation in the project, social capital served both exclusionary and integrative functions, yet as time elapsed, social capital was increasingly generated between SUNEE’s diverse participants, playing a crucial role in bringing both volunteers and hard-to-reach clients together.
This study uses a panel of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletic department revenue and expenditure data from 225 public colleges and universities to empirically investigate the behavior of athletic departments over the period 2006-2011. Three empirical relationships were explored: (a) how changes in total revenue affect disaggregated expenditure categories, (b) how disaggregated revenue streams influence total expenditures, and (c) whether changes in revenue categories change the size of the athletic department’s subsidy. The results show that additional athletic revenue increases expenditures for coaches 7.5 times more than direct expenditures for student-athletes, a ratio that increases for schools in power conferences. For every US$1 increase in ticket sale revenue, total expenditures can rise by US$0.83 and reduce a school’s athletic subsidy by US$0.19.
Surfers have created their own subculture, which has been associated with concepts such as environmentalism, masculinity, place, and nonconformity, yet the increasing global reach of their sport has created transnational surf communities that bring into question the definition of what it means to be a "local" surfer. This ethnographic study examines identity construction in local Nicaraguan surfers, the ways in which their subculture has formed within a transnational context, how they accept/reject resident foreign surfers, and how foreign surfers see themselves in Nicaragua’s globalized surf space. The findings indicate that Nicaraguan surfers have formed their own local surf subculture from globalized influences, and determining whether foreigners are accepted or rejected from this subculture depends on a complex set of factors related to their relationship with local surfers and the local indigenous community.
Tough Mudder, a market-leading event in the burgeoning practice and industry of mud running, is a 21 km "military-style" obstacle course with a curiously collaborative ethic. Teams of runners traverse the course in the name of fun, fitness, bravado, and much more besides, galvanized around Tough Mudder’s distinctive ethos of togetherness. This essay sets out to reassemble the "camaraderie" for which Tough Mudder is renowned as an element and outcome of material, corporeal, and symbolic enactments, and, with actor-network theory as a guiding sensibility, recasts it as a profoundly shared endeavor, one in which a whole host of actors, human and otherwise, make dramatic and subtle contributions.
Focusing on the cultural and structural contours of the global sport of golf, this analysis features the rhetorical power of U.S. Ladies Professional Golf Association (USLPGA) commissioners in narrativizing this "American" global tour. Selected mediated rhetoric of each of these commissioners is read within a post-title 9/11 context, attending to Winant’s notion of "new imperialism" as a process of linking gender and race in a sporting space of globalization. This post-title 9/11 reading illuminates the manner in which USLPGA leadership espouses an elite, global identity and simultaneously acts to contain the very "global" difference it claims to produce. The analysis is also instructive for thinking about the cultural and rhetorical power of commissioners in locating the USLPGA in a set of discourses about globalization, nationalism, and difference.
This study examines the sport of quidditch, based on the Harry Potter franchise, an alternative sport growing in popularity. The purpose of this research was to examine the impact and benefits participants of this sport received and determine similarities and differences to mainstream sport activities. Findings suggest involvement with quidditch provided leadership skills, social gains, self-confidence, and pride, along with a positive sporting experience, all of which have been recognized in more mainstream sports. Considering the need for inventive and fiscally viable sports programs due to shrinking budgets and increased burnout, this study advocates the potential value of alternative sport initiatives and the benefit of their implementation.
Within recent years, policy makers and practitioners have increasingly drawn on sport as a vehicle to assist with the resettlement of young people from refugee backgrounds. This article presents the views of sport development and resettlement service staff responsible for supporting the participation of young refugees within sport. Our data suggest that while there are a myriad of well-established barriers beyond the sporting context that restrict the participation of young people from refugee backgrounds, there are considerable issues within mainstream sports settings and structures that will continue to reduce the value of sport in the resettlement process. Sports providers continue to attempt to integrate young people from refugee backgrounds into existing mainstream sport structures that may not meet their needs or provide inclusive environments. We outline how sporting practices reflect broader integration/resettlement policy rhetoric and suggest problematizing the structure and culture of sport is essential if it is to be of value in resettlement work.
One of the more contentious issues North American athletic organizations face is how to deal with Native American imagery that is associated with their sports teams. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has, in recent years, banned member organizations from using and displaying Native American nicknames and mascots at postseason events, with a few exceptions. This has led to protests, especially by alumni, at some schools. This case study examines how alumni at one university perceive and experience the removal of a Native American team nickname from the University’s athletic program. Fourteen semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with alumni from Miami University representing one of three cohorts: those who graduated by 1993 (before the removal of the nickname was discussed or implemented), those who graduated between 1993 and 2000 (during the time the nickname was removed), and those who graduated after 2000 (after the change was implemented). Borrowing from the narrative inquiry approach, thematic analysis was utilized. Two major themes that arose irrespective of cohort are presented and discussed.
Critical to the Indian mascot debate is the question of whether American Indians support their use. My research describes the diverse viewpoints of Northeast (NE) Ohio Natives, who live in a region with a prominent Indian mascot. I also explore a biographical pattern that maps onto respondents’ perspectives. Natives who lived in the urban setting exclusively (urban only) are less likely to resist romantic portrayals of Indianness, such as those conveyed by Indian mascots. Natives who lived on or near a reservation prior to moving to NE Ohio (reservation & city), however, are more likely to participate in protest against the region’s Indian imagery. I suggest that Natives with experiences in both environmental spheres have a heightened sensitivity to the harmful consequences of all Indian stereotypes.
This study explores the complexities and ambiguities of the recent increase in criticism among football supporters of so-called "modern football." Drawing on existing elaborations of the concept of reflexivity in sociology, this contribution theoretically extends the hegemony/resistance analytical framework that has commonly been used to portray the criticism of football supporters in strict opposition to neo-liberal trends. The examination of the social and symbolic mechanisms surrounding anti-neo-liberal campaigning suggests that the slogan has been embraced by heterogeneous actors with contrasting topics, values, beliefs, and opinions. Considering the different reactions of contested anti-neo-liberal institutions and the context in which these processes take place, it has been demonstrated that protests and reflexive discursive practices can both inhibit and enhance the transformative potential of the "Against modern football" slogan.
This article examines the diverse forms of public opposition, protest, criticism, and complaint in the United Kingdom on the staging of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. Our discussion draws heavily on empirical research, primarily fieldwork and interviews in East London with local residents, opposition groups, business people, politicians, and other stakeholders. The article is separated into three main parts. First, we explore the setting and political–economic context for London 2012. The main Olympic setting—the London Borough of Newham—features very high levels of poverty and ethnic diversity. We argue that London 2012 represented a form of "festival capitalism" that was part of a broader set of "New Right two-step" policies in poor urban areas, involving initial Keynesian investment, followed by a deeper and far-reaching array of neo-liberal measures. Second, in the main part of the article, we identify and examine, in turn, six forms of public conflict, criticism, and complaint that centered on the Games, specifically national criticisms (e.g., on distribution of Olympic resources), local criticisms (e.g., on lack of jobs and business benefits), issue-specific campaigns (e.g., on the environment), "glocal" protests against specific nations and sponsors (e.g., campaigns against BP, Dow, and Rio Tinto), neo-tribal transgressions and situationist spectacles (e.g., mass cycle rides near Olympic venues), and anti-Olympic forums and demonstrations (e.g., critical web sites, multi-group marches). Third, we set out briefly the importance of conducting research into critics and opponents of sport mega-events, and discuss different arguments on how the social impact of protest movements might have been intensified at London 2012. The findings in this article may be extended to examine critical public responses to the hosting of other mega-events in different settings.
Based on semistructured interviews with 56 women who had at least one same-sex relationship prior to age 30, I conclude that sport both nurtures, and to a lesser degree hinders, development of these relationships. Homophobia on particular teams, sometimes triggered by the masculine reputation of sport, often hindered the development of these women’s same-sex attractions/relationships. In contrast, sport often nurtured these attractions/relationships due to its: sex-segregation, demonstration of women’s capabilities, lack of heteronormative climate, emotional intensity, time-consuming nature, and similarity-inducing tendencies. In addition, sport more often nurtured these attractions/relationships when lesbian/bisexuals were present, teams were accepting of same-sex relationships, and the sport was perceived as gender neutral. I discuss the occupation of coaching, and the sport of softball, relative to these more general trends.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of post-racial narratives and colorblind racism in a case of Black intercollegiate student athlete experiences. This case study engaged a critical race theory (CRT) perspective and colorblind ideologies to advance an understanding of participant experiences and extend the CRT literature. Findings indicate that participants recognize racial beliefs and racial inequities abound and that colorblind racism has indirectly affected their experiences and perceptions. The findings are illuminated using the four colorblind racism frames: abstract liberalism, naturalization, cultural racism, and minimization of racism. Implications for enhancing student athlete programming, preparing others to work with student athlete populations, and continuing CRT sport scholarship are further discussed.
In this article, we use the theories of Giorgio Agamben to conceptualize the contemporary American football training camp as a material and metaphorical "camp"—a "space of exception" or a zone of indistinction where bare life is produced and the exception becomes the rule. Our aim is not to sportingly trivialize the horrors of those camps about which Agamben has written extensively (i.e., the concentration camps of the Third Reich), nor do we set out to hyperbolize the events, logics, or methods of the football training camp. Instead, we move to answer Agamben’s call to "learn to recognize [the camp] in all its metamorphoses." In the process, we hope to address some of the criticisms leveled at Agamben’s work and move toward reconceptualizing a biopolitics of human movement, vitality, potentiality, and action. It is our contention that "the camp" provides an important site through which to understand the (corpo)realities of contemporary American football as hyper-physical and hyper-commodified body spectacles defined by protective equipment turned into damaging weapon, players as "hitmen" with bounties on the heads of opponents, and "heterotopias of survival," which produce exceptional and measurable bodies, silent bodies, broken bodies, bodies that die the most banal, unheroic, and (un)acceptable deaths.
This article offers a historically informed answer to the question why are Black Americans less likely to know how to swim than Whites. It contends that past discrimination in the provision of and access to swimming pools is largely responsible for this contemporary disparity. There were two times when swimming surged in popularity—at public swimming pools during the 1920s and 1930s and at suburban swim clubs during the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, large numbers of White Americans had easy access to these pools, whereas racial discrimination severely restricted Black Americans’ access. As a result, swimming never became integral to Black Americans’ recreation and sports culture and was not passed down from generation to generation as commonly occurred with Whites.
Research has underscored the need to generate a clear and coherent theoretical underpinning relating to the social processes attached to involvement in fitness training and organized sports when engaging in young adult offender community reintegration supports. The research utilized a collective and instrumental case study approach to explore the learning and associational experiences of Irish young adult male offenders’ participation in fitness training and organized sports during community reintegration. Grounded theory was used to guide and analyze the research, which involved nine in-depth interviews with adult male participants engaging in two community reintegration projects. The emergent theory presents a winding trajectory of prior positive experiences with sports during childhood, rejection of positive leisure activities while engaging in substance use and crime, and the importance of fitness training and sports in providing a new pro-social identity and daily routine while reintegrating. Solitary and compulsive participation was common, with certain sports imparting new values, discipline, and coping mechanisms. Findings can be used to improve lifestyle and sports programs designed to support young adult offenders.
The progressive commercialization of football in Brazil has been accompanied by the emergence of social movements that seek increased visibility and power over decision-making processes in the sport industrial complex. These groups are responding to rapid changes in the political economy of Brazilian sport, particularly football. While many of these processes were well underway before FIFA selected Brazil to host the 2014 World Cup in 2007, the event preparations are accelerating the trends toward corporatization, privatization, and mercantilization of football culture. In the years leading up to the 2014 World Cup, social movements have formed to respond to these changes in the political economy of football. This article will analyze the emergence and decline of the National Fans’ Association (Associação Nacional dos Torcedores, ANT) as an attempt from Brazilian civil society to insert more progressive social agendas into the rapidly neo-liberalizing framework of Brazilian sport. I contextualize this movement with the larger frames of fandom and fans’ rights, the role of activist academics within social movements more generally, and explore the successes and failures of the ANT. The conclusion suggests that even short-lived experiments in the formation of social movements are worthwhile as they can take future shapes and directions that can eventually bring about the desired change.
Diversity and equality are key issues confronting sport. This article draws on findings from qualitative research carried out in Australia to critically examine how diversity is understood and valued in community sport. The findings suggest that there is a discrepancy between the policy objectives of government and sport organizations and the way in which diversity is understood and responded to in practice. Diversity management is not being adopted widely among local sports clubs. The idea of a moral imperative to cater to people with diverse backgrounds and abilities is largely absent; rather, the dominant discourse is underpinned by a business rationale which interprets diversity in terms of benefits and costs to the organization. This business-driven approach is often detrimental to the social policy objective of ensuring equitable outcomes in sport. A fundamental reconsideration of the rationale and practice of managing diversity in sport is therefore necessary.
When the Japan women’s soccer team, more affectionately dubbed "Nadeshiko Japan," emerged FIFA World Cup champions in 2011, its members became celebrities overnight. However, central to their celebrityhood is the media’s obsession with "femininity." Through constructing sport celebrities, or tarento ("talents"), I argue that the Japanese media shift between representations of Nadeshiko Japan as glorified national athletes and as trivialized "feminine" figures. Following Michel Foucault’s concept of "power" as relational, these structures dominate, and are in turn challenged by, the Nadeshiko members. Through close textual analysis of Japanese morning talk show, Sukkiri!!, this article explores how Nadeshiko Japan offers its primary audience, women, alternative forms of subjectivity. Using a cultural studies approach, this recent study of Japan reweighs gender anxieties surrounding athletes in the media.
The recent problematization of opioid use among National Football League players presents an opportunity for scholars to rethink conventional approaches to drugs in sport, and to incorporate into their analyses a consideration of medically authorized substances. Such an undertaking may help illuminate the social dimensions of painkilling and the contextual complexity that fades from view in seemingly compassionate media portrayals of the struggles of former players who are living in pain and dependent on drugs. It may also offer new insights into more established traditions of research on cultures of drug use in sport.
This article explores how the National Football League’s (NFL’s) commemoration ceremonies on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 present a unique instance of sports–media-military convergence through their meticulous implementation across multiple games, broadcasting channels, and geographic locations. Expanding on themes of healing, the valorization of troops, and the sanitizing of war, as well as territorial conquest, I argue that the NFL’s 9/11 commemoration ceremonies are complicit in the silent re-empowerment of the neoliberal state in times of perpetual war. The policing and monitoring of U.S. citizens is hereby legitimated through reasserting hegemonic portrayals of masculinity that firmly frame the subject/citizen in a heteropatriarchal mold, as well as by creating a neoethnic version of national identity that renders certain ethnic minorities, particularly Middle Easterners, as aberrant.
Social identity theory is used to explain behaviors, thoughts, and feelings associated with group membership. This study focuses on the New Orleans Saints National Football League (NFL) team and its effect on citizens of its host city as well as fans from the surrounding region. While a large body of research shows little evidence that new stadiums and professional sports teams make a significant economic impact on the region, some findings have shown that sports teams can provide intangible benefits. These intangible benefits are often related to the positive associations fans of the team have by considering themselves a part of that particular in-group. This study applies social identity theory to the New Orleans Saints’ fan base and discusses the reactions of the team’s fans during the 2009 Super Bowl–winning season as reported in national, regional, and local publications.
In January 2012, during his "State of the Association" address, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Mark Emmert urged members to fix the "collegiate model." Imbedded in the speech’s framework, this relatively new term in the NCAA national office’s lexicon has received spontaneous consent from the association, member universities, and other college-sport constituents including administrators, coaches, athletes, reporters and journalists, and college-sport fans. This anchor—"The Collegiate Model of Athletics"—has been adopted without disclosure regarding its genesis, dissemination, and insertion into college-sport’s institutional consciousness. This process of achieving spontaneous consent among constituents provides a case study illustrating the NCAA’s position as a hegemon, the institutional logics that sustain such hegemony, and the effective use of propaganda to quell critical examination of and dissent to the created collegiate model of athletics. Such examination reveals this process has not only been detrimental to higher education and the general public, but particularly harmful to college athletes.
Between 2006 and 2009, Chicago’s political and civic leadership developed a bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ultimately selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Games, with Chicago finishing fourth among the finalist cities in the October, 2009, IOC voting. This article is based on 20 key informant interviews with members and staff of the Chicago 2016 Committee, neighborhood activists and organizational staff in projected Olympic "venue" neighborhoods, and three "unaffiliated" civic leaders. The aim of the interviews was to determine—in light of the failed 2016 Olympic bid—if Chicago’s leadership had effected a process of what urban regime theorists term "social learning," collective retrospection that can lead to the pursuit of more successful future civic ventures. The evidence provided by these interviews suggests that not only has there been little civic retrospection by Chicago’s leadership, but also that processes put in place to promote the Chicago bid to international and local constituencies actually inhibited the ability of local elites to learn from past action.
This article examines how structural and symbolic forces combine to produce racialized discourses of belonging and geographies of exclusion in and around downhill skiing. Drawing from literatures in Whiteness studies, sports sociology, leisure studies, and environmental history, I advance the concept of racial spatiality to illustrate how processes of everyday racism work to secure skiing’s social spaces as predominantly White, thereby restricting the participation and representation of Black skiers. Skiing’s hegemony of Whiteness is discussed in relation to parallel integration strategies of Black ski organizations, racialized representations of extreme skiing and snowboarding, and exclusionary residential development tactics. As a provisional effort to promote research on racism and leisure–sports–tourism, I argue that skiing offers a valuable site for considering the ongoing and overlooked saliencies of race and racial segregation in America.
This article examines the ways in which upper middle class families acquire, transmit, and preserve their social and cultural capitals through membership at the Pine View Swim and Tennis Club, a semiprivate facility located near a major mid-Atlantic city in the United States. Drawing on Cultural Theorist Pierre Bourdieu’s theorizing on sport participation and social class position, as well as 4 years of ethnographic investigation, I argue that the pool, as a cultural field, maintains socially segregated boundaries offering members a significant, yet hidden vehicle through which they can facilitate their class and race-based privilege. Specifically, Pine View fosters an important sense of community and belonging in and through members, as well as an exclusive social learning opportunity, thus contributing to the (re)production of their White, privileged habitus.
This article presents the findings of a discourse analysis carried out from November 2011 to February 2012 on two prominent association football (soccer) message boards that examined fans’ views toward racism in English football. After analyzing more than 500 posts, the article reveals the racist discourse used by some supporters in their online discussions and the extent to which the posts were either supported or contested by fellow posters. The overall findings are that social media sites such as fan message boards have allowed racist thoughts to flourish online, in particular by rejecting multiculturalism and Islam through the presentation of whiteness and national belonging and an outright hostility and resistance toward the Other. Despite this, the majority of posts that contained some form of racist discourse were openly challenged.
This article explores the relationship between popular representations of soccer and the rise of neoliberal discourse celebrating a new individualism in Japan at the turn of the millennium, a time when the country experienced sharp economic decline and consequent economic restructuring. Examining dominant vocabularies and practices present in coaching discourse, on soccer fields, and in media portrayals of Japanese men’s and women’s professional leagues, the author argues that rather than a coincidental, coeval mirroring between two seemingly unrelated realms—sports and economic transformations—these relationships point to the positioning of soccer over the past 20 years in Japan as a site to educate and physically train individualistic sensibilities and perspectives suitable to and reinforcing of a neoliberal labor market and governmental system.
Formal contractual agreements between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) evince the closer relationship that has been negotiated in recent times between the governing bodies of the Olympic and Paralympic sporting movements. This article explores the IOC–IPC relationship using Paralympic stakeholder perspectives, gathered via semistructured interviews. Utilizing Bourdieusian theory, these insights are analyzed and highlight the complex contestation for multiple forms of capital that occurs at the intersection of Olympic and Paralympic sport. Discussion focuses on perceived similarities between the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, before considering IOC–IPC contractual and economic relationships. Finally, concerns are voiced that to market Paralympians as the same as Olympians risks marginalizing certain individuals with impairments, and alienating disabled people in general.
This article assesses cultural representations of Blackness in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) in relation to contemporary forms of racism in North American society. In particular, this case study examines media narratives surrounding the adoption of the NBA dress code and the behavior of NHL goaltender Ray Emery during the 2005 to 2006 basketball and hockey seasons. Despite significant differences in the racial composition of the two leagues, the NBA and the NHL made similar efforts to discipline, police, and contain the young Black males under their control. Racialized constructions of Black athletes as menacing, criminal, and dangerously different were prominent in media coverage of both sports. An exploration of these sporting controversies offers a transnational and comparative framework for understanding racial discourses in the United States and Canada today.
This study presents the prisoner and prison staff ideographic experiences of an English initiative which aimed to use sport as a way of engaging young men in identifying and meeting their reentry (or "resettlement") needs in the transition from prison custody to the community. Young men aged between 18 to 21 years old (N = 79) participated in the prison-based sporting "academies" and the qualitative findings demonstrated how the initiative led to perceived benefits in terms of a positive impact on prison life and culture, preparation for release, improved attitudes, thinking and behavior, and in promoting desistance from crime. The results help to delineate how and why sports based interventions can motivate imprisoned young offenders in reentry programs, with the ultimate aim of reducing reoffending.
Analyzing women’s fitness/beauty magazines for advice on diet and exercise reveals a range of contradictions, the focus of this research. Contradictory diet and fitness discourses signify our culture’s paradoxical expectations for women’s bodies, ensuring that virtually no woman can measure up. In short, the production of feminine bodies is rigged for failure. Starting with Spitzack’s (1990) initial insights into the "aesthetics of health" and fat as disease, we explicate, through textual analysis, the underlying principles of eight essential contradictions in diet and fitness discourses (e.g., diets are freeing), principles that both necessitate and enable the discursive net in which contemporary women are ensnared. Comparisons are drawn between the themes that Spitzack elaborated and those uncovered by our examination 20 years later. Connections are made to the obesity "epidemic" and implications are discussed. Future research should investigate the actual interpretation and utilization of these contradictory messages among magazine readers.
Opportunities for women to participate on professional women’s football teams have expanded over the past decade. Still the experiences of these players have largely gone unnoticed by the general public in the United States and underanalyzed by scholars. Using a feminist interactionist framework, this research examines how women on a successful Midwestern football team developed and maintained their identities as football players. The major themes that emerged from participant observations and semistructured interviews include play the right way, recognize uniqueness, and demand respect.
As sport enters new global territories, attending to questions of cultural difference is increasingly important to studies of women’s sports fanship. This article draws on theories of transnational feminism and feminist sports scholarship to contemplate the cinematic portrayal of the non-Western female football supporter. Women sports fans rarely appear as film protagonists, with the notable exception of the 2006 movie Offside, which tells the story of Iranian women soccer fans attending a World Cup qualifying match. By focusing on the ways that women fans negotiate their marginal status in the sporting arena, I argue that the film unsettles cultural associations between masculinity and football in Iran, and confounds the oppositional construction of the "other" woman as a passive victim of, or freedom fighter against, Islam.
This article reconsiders the Skirtboarders’ blog, produced by a crew of female skateboarders, as a space where crew members attempt to reflexively start a movement and, in doing so, construct and circulate a wider collective identity (Taylor & Whittier, 1992). Through a discourse analysis of blog comments and user interviews, we attempt to understand how young women who visit the blog interpret (re)presentations of female skateboarders and whether they become engaged in the movement to promote skateboarding among women. Do they adopt this collective subjectivity? While the analysis suggests that they do feel part of the movement, it raises the issue of blog user access to the more specific "Skirtboarder" identity.
New media technologies are seen to be changing the production, delivery and consumption of professional sports and creating a new dynamic between sports fans, athletes, clubs, governing bodies and the mainstream media. However, as Bellamy and McChesney (2011) have pointed out, advances in digital technologies are taking place within social, political, and economic contexts that are strongly conditioning the course and shape of this communication revolution. This essay assesses the first wave of research on professional sport and new media technologies and concludes that early trends indicate the continuation of existing neoliberal capitalist tendencies within professional sport. Using the concept of political economy, the essay explores issues of ownership, structure, production and delivery of sport. Discussion focuses on the opportunities sports fans now have available to them and how sports organization and media corporations shifted from an initial position of uncertainty, that bordered on hostility, to one which has seen them embrace new media technologies as powerful marketing tools. The essay concludes by stating as fundamental the issues of ownership and control and advocates that greater cognizance be accorded to underlying economic structures and the enduring, all-pervasive power of neoliberal capitalism and its impact in professional sport.
Scholarly interest in the relationship between sport and new media has increased significantly in recent years, yet research about online sport fan groups remains limited. This article contributes to this body of literature through an ethnographic examination of a fan-produced hockey blog called Nucks Misconduct. The article examines the blog’s social characteristics by conceptualizing it as an electronic tribe—that is, a fluid, neotribal social formation located in cyberspace. Specifically, it explores how the interplay between topographical website features and the social interaction of members constructs the blog as a social space; and the tensions and ambiguities that arise from this process. The possibilities and limitations for online sport fan cultures to destabilize dominant constructions of sport are discussed, with a particular focus on the gendered construction of hockey as a masculine realm.
Against the common perception that media consumption engenders inactivity, in recent years the technology sector has developed an extensive catalogue of games for bodily and cognitive exercise. Despite their popularity, however, and despite their potential ability to affect perceptions and experiences of health and fitness, there remains a shortage of academic research on video games of this kind. Drawing from earlier studies, the central contribution of this article lies in the introduction of "bio-play" and "bio-games" as terms for conceptualizing these new fitness products. The former term refers to the conjoining of self-care—specifically, self-assessments, surveillance, and discipline—and entertainment in games such as Nintendo’s Wii Fit; the latter refers to the technological genre as a whole that is characterized by such activity. The prefix "bio" in each case reflects the contribution of new fitness technologies to the broader conjuncture in which they are located—namely, their discursive and material support of the (neoliberal) presumption that biological "self-improvement" is achievable through the marketplace. Acknowledging their possible benefits, in this analysis I also highlight concerns associated with the arrival of bio-games. These include the relations underlying the production of these technologies, their manner of proffering fitness services, and their representations of the "ideal" body and brain. I close by outlining challenges for researchers, educators, and policymakers that follow from industry’s newfound promise that, with the help of new media, we can amuse ourselves to life.
The increased popularity of mobile smartphones and tablet computers in developed economies is transforming how and where sports footage, highlights and information are accessed. These developments are contributing to new commercial arrangements in the media sport sector, as well as legal conflicts over sought-after content that is transferable and reproduced across broadcast (pay-for-view and free-to-air television), online (desktop and laptop computers), and mobile platforms (smartphone and tablets). In particular, mobile and wireless communications highlight that the media sport content economy is now "on the move" from technology, commercial, regulatory, and legal perspectives. This article outlines factors that are determining how this economy functions in relation to mobile media, with an emphasis on the complex and sometimes unpredictable relationship between content production, distribution, platforms, and access.
This essay explores a set of new media user trends that are (re)shaping fan–athlete interaction through (para)social connections. Acting as bonding agents, the trends considered either contribute to or detract from membership in the community of sport. Accordingly, social leveling practices, invitational uses, and bridging functions serve to connect people within the community of sport, whereas policing, maladaptive parasocial interaction, and hypermasculinity function to disconnect people from the community of sport. The essay looks at these trends in detail and provides examples of each in practice. It concludes with a discussion of the digital literacy implications that fan–athlete interaction via new media introduces.
On September 11, 2010, Ines Sainz, a sports reporter for Mexican television network TV Azteca, was allegedly harassed by members of the New York Jets football team. Controversy erupted around the role of women in sports broadcasting and the myriad attendant dimensions involved, including issues of credibility, dominant beauty ideals, and the male gaze, among others. This study assesses how sports blogs covered the controversy, using a combination of in-depth interviewing and textual analysis of four popular sports blogs. The analysis revealed that the blogs constructed an atmosphere that exposed attitudes of objectification, Sainz’s perceived lack of credibility, and the sexual economy of sports blogs.