John Muir, Mountaineer: A Gender Perspective
Life histories are culturally produced artifacts as well as interpretive documents. In this paper I construct the life history of John Muir from a gender perspective. In doing so, I discover that the historian’s emphasis on the “masculine” qualities of Muir as a famous explorer and rugged individualist fighting a lonely battle to save Yosemite Valley gives way to a different view. Through the mentoring of Jeanne Carr, Louie Strentzel, and others, Muir’s “feminine” qualities as a good conversationalist, impassioned lover of nature, and prolific letter writer were enhanced, and enabled Muir to develop connections to many important people. It was these connections, not his rugged individualism that led Muir to become the most successful Western nature writer of his time. Told in this way, Muir’s life history can provide a valuable example about the importance of social connectivity even for the most rugged mountaineer of the 19th century.
Judy Davidson, University of Alberta
Olympic Melancholia: Pride, Shame, and the Emergence of the Gay Games
When the United States Olympic Committee was granted a court injunction to stop the first Gay Olympic Games from using the word ‘Olympic’ in 1982, the ceaseless haunting of the Gay Games by discourses of Olympism and queer shame was secured. I argue that the metonymic relationships between Tom Waddell, his death, homophobic shame, and juridical Olympic prohibitions underpin and motivate the production of this frenzied athletic event of urgent gay pride. The (sometimes unconscious) identifications with things Olympic and with gay pride discourses have both enabled and constrained the success and viability of the Gay Games through the past 20 years. I briefly outline the historical events leading up to the loss of the word Olympic in a US Supreme Court decision and the death of Tom Waddell shortly after that decision. The Games are then read as complicated processes of melancholic incorporation, where shame and pride are important parts of a particular identification which produces the fraught relationship between Olympism and the Gay Games. I use Judith Butler's argument about gender melancholia (1990, 1997) and rework that heuristic to consider how loss has operated in the discursive production of the Gay Games.
Larry DeGaris, James Madison University
Good Gays and Bad Gays: The “Faggot” Gimmick in Professional Wrestling
Homoerotic characters and storylines have a long and prominent history in professional wrestling. However, the characters are not promoted uniformly as villains, nor have they been received as such by fans. That is, there are “good gays” and “bad gays.” Drawing on an analysis of televised events and results from an experimental ethnography, I discuss the factors associated with determining how performers are able to elicit the desired reactions from their audiences by performing homoerotic identities. In particular, I suggest that dynamics of dominance and subordination are cloaked in a rhetoric of morality; and that elements of power can supersede sexual behaviors in determining sexual identities. In conclusion, I discuss aspects of homophobia that lend themselves to commercial exploitation within the pro wrestling’s performative idiom.
Bryan E. Denham, Clemson University
Hegemonic Masculinity, Perceptions of Group Homogeneity and Enjoyment of Televised Football
Drawing on literature from communication, sport and social psychology, this paper explores the concept of media enjoyment through televised football, moving beyond the game itself and considering more carefully the milieu in which many men, subscribing to traditional notions of masculinity, experience the contest. Addressing how individuals tend to connect with, and sometimes count on, established social groups, the article suggests that in scholarly research efforts, the enjoyment individuals sometimes attribute to media content can be characterized more accurately as enjoyment of an environment facilitated by a specific type of content, such as that found in the “masculine” game of football. Such an environment reinforces hegemonic masculinity and allows group members, who commonly can predict the attitudes of others in the group, to express thoughts that extend beyond the game and into domains in which traditional conceptions of masculinity have been challenged, without fear of repercussion. Thus, when commentators call football a “male preserve,” they may be partially correct—for reasons beyond kickoffs and touchdowns. Theoretical frameworks addressed in the article include uses and gratifications, social identity, disposition and uncertainty reduction theory.
Jim Denison, University of Bath
Inhibiting Progress: The Record of the Four-Minute Mile
In this paper I explore the long standing significance of the four-minute mile in line with the meaning it still holds today. A meaning, I argue, that derives from the construction of an idealized past. To support my argument I discuss the concept of nostalgia, as well as examine how four minutes as a meaningful barrier for runners first arose. Further, I cite material from a series of in-depth interviews I conducted with 21 sub four-minute milers. These athletes, whose careers spanned five decades, represent a variety of cultures, styles and abilities. In fact, I deliberately selected a wide array of sub four-minute milers to interview—from those who broke four minutes dozens of times to those who did so only once; from those who were professional milers to those who were strictly amateur; from those who came from countries with no miling tradition to those who were brought up on the mile; and from those who went on to set world records and win Olympic medals to those who remained distinctly sub-elite—to try and track any changing perceptions with respect to the four-minute mile’s significance over the last half-century. Despite my diverse sample, however, every miler I spoke to, irrespective of his era, remarked on how momentous and memorable his first sub-four was. A cherished memory from the past, they all said. And it’s precisely how idealized sporting memories such as this form and the effect they have on contemporary standards that I analyze. Effectively, then, this paper presents an embodied history of the last fifty years of sub-four miling and considers how and why this landmark achievement has magically maintained its significance and the implications this has for runners today.
Fabrice Desmarais and Toni Bruce, University of Waikato
Broadcast Sport, Communication and Culture
Sports broadcast commentary constitutes a site for the theatrical production of meaning and the construction of particular 'fictions' of identity. In this paper, analysis of broadcasts of France versus New Zealand rugby clashes and interviews with famous commentators in both nations allows us to uncover how broadcast practices in both countries create culturally specific understandings of rugby, masculinity and national 'style'.
Michele Donnelly, University of Maryland
All Female Snowboard Camps–Empowerment Through Segregation?
Women only snowboard camps, where women pay money to learn how to snowboard without men (as instructors or participants), are now available at many ski resorts across North America. This paper presents a preliminary investigation into the growing trend of female only snowboard camps. Using promotional materials produced for these camps and interviews with instructors and camp organizers, I examine the reasons given for their existence, as well as their claimed benefits for girls and women interested in learning how to snowboard. Snowboard camps indicate a further commodification and ‘mainstreaming’ of snowboarding, a formerly ‘alternative’ lifestyle sport. The idea of learning to snowboard at an organized (and costly) camp runs counter to the ethic of alternative sport subcultures. Additionally, all female snowboard camps promote the notion of an essentially female/feminine way of learning and of snowboarding, while earning money for themselves and for companies making specific equipment and clothing for women. This includes a reliance on characteristics of hegemonic femininity – that girls and women are more social, dependent, and less competitive. By promoting an ideology of essential gender differences, all women snowboard camps both rationalize and ensure their own existence.
Delia D. Douglas, Independent Scholar
Where We Live Now: Kobe Bryant and the Fire this Time
"Because sports and athletic competition constitute a primary context in which masculine identity is forged … the need to ensure that male athletes actually possess the heterosexual orientation supposed to found masculinity is particularly great" (Harper, 1996, p. 23). This essay is not an attempt to address the question of Kobe Bryant’s ‘guilt’ or ‘innocence’ of the charge of rape. Rather I am using the occasion of his admission of adultery and the allegation of sexual assault as a point of departure from which to interrogate contemporary cultural politics. The NBA remains a key site through which we encounter and interpret images of Black male heterosexuality. This link between athletic prowess and Black heterosexual manhood has obscured the complex ways in which basketball has contributed to the reproduction of a heteronormative ideal and code of behaviour which has had a profound influence on Black sexual politics and gender relations in Black communities. Drawing upon the insights offered by multiracial feminism and critical race scholarship this paper considers how the charges against Kobe Bryant is an occasion through which we can explore the intersection of discourses of race, gender and sexuality in the production of racialized masculinities and gay sexual identities.
Margaret Carlisle Duncan and Monica Branch, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Portrayals of the African-American Female Body in Urban Music Videos
This study examines the objectification and eroticization of the Black female body in urban music videos. Employing textual analysis and group interviews, we examine how these images contribute to a social process that helps shape the African-American woman's view of herself and larger society's view of her. Six young college-education/bound Black women participate in a focus group discussion that centers on portrayals of female bodies in four popular urban music videos. In particular, we ask how is the ideal female body portrayed in urban music videos? And from whose point of view? How do these representations affect our focus group members' views of their bodies? What are the sources of social pressure to conform to these images? An analysis of the transcript identifies several related themes, which are discussed in the context of contemporary African-American culture in the 21st century.
Steve Estes, East Carolina University
The Faculty and Contemporary Intercollegiate Athletics Reform
Efforts: The Drake Group and the Coalition for Intercollegiate Athletics
The Drake Group and the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) represent two contemporary faculty perspectives on reforming intercollegiate athletics. While both perspectives support reform agendas, their methods differ. The Drake Group has put forth specific reform goals, whereas the COIA has focused on the reform process. Both the Drake Group and the COIA enjoy different types of support, and each approach has demonstrated an ability to sway public opinion and to garner national attention. This purpose of this paper is to compare the two organizations to each other, along with the pros and cons of both approaches. Also, it will be argued that a process similar to that developed by the COIA to mobilize and empower faculties to obtain athletics reform will be the means by which the seven Drake Group goals can be achieved.
Linnet Fawcett, Concordia University
Recreational Rink Culture and the Swaggering Midlife Female Trick-Skater
This paper revolves around the figure of the midlife female recreational trick-skater–a risk-taking, gender-bending, genre-distending entity who performs figure skating moves on hockey skates. Proposing that this figure’s playful and irreverent mixing of two distinct and highly structured on-ice disciplines troubles the traditional division between feminized-aesthetic and masculinized-athletic sport, I argue that the new forms of individual bodily comportment and communal space negotiation to emerge out of this disruption offer important insights into where the liberatory potential in “alternative” sports might lie. In particular, I examine the typically macho attitude of “swagger”: observing how it manifests itself in its bladed and generally male embodiment down at the Atrium–a skating rink located in the middle of the food court of a busy commercial centre in downtown Montreal; suggesting how the midlife female recreational trick-skater re-configures swagger into a feminist attitude through her unconventional approach to movement, and her subverting of skate technology and its associated practices. Informed by a lively cohort of feminist “body” theorists (I.M. Young, J. Frueh, J. Grimshaw, J. Halberstam, M. Ian) and based on an ethnographic study of recreational rink culture, this paper also draws on my own experience as a "born-again" trick-skater.
Ted Fay, SUNY, Cortland, Mary Hums, University of Louisville and Karen DePauw, Virginia Tech University
Teaching and Learning: Disability in Sport Sociology Applied
Theory versus practice. Problem-based learning strategies versus lecture formats. What is best? How and where do you infuse, create or otherwise integrate a disability in sport perspective within the sport-related humanities or science courses in undergraduate or graduate curriculums? What can the literature in sport sociology inform students and faculty about the critical issues facing athletes with disabilities that are similar or different from their worldview? After all, if it is not presented on ESPN or Fox Sports does it really exist as a true sport anyway. What is the role of the sport humanities courses, particularly those that are foundationally rooted in the various perspectives of sport sociology, to create new critical contexts in challenging whether athletes with disabilities competing from novice to elite levels should have rights to access to sport similar to their non-disabled peers? How and where are these new paradigms or critical contexts formed and presented as part of the body of knowledge deemed as important by sport sociologists as related to sport and physical activity-related curriculums? How does one best convey such a message to students assuming adequate materials with reasonably constructed content exists? Is it a 50 or 75 minute video in one session in an introductory sport sociology class? Is it a separate, upper division elective course on Disability in Sport? Is it a module-based curriculum with engaging and challenging case studies that examine the implicit and explicit issues found in most identity group studies such as: a) stratification and sports governance and operating structures, b) discrimination, c) integration, d) segregation, e) power, f) social identity and socialization, g) gender, h) race, i) minority relations, j) cultural diversity, k) the role of media and the organizational hierarchy of sport to name a few? This presentation will examine some of the more practical or applied pedagogical strategies for infusing and integrating the discussion of critical issues facing athletes with disabilities in a nation’s sporting culture. Tested examples of teaching practices dealing with the subject of disability in sport will be presented. Future needs and considerations will also be presented as a concluding summary.
Sarah Fields, Ohio State University
Jurisprudence, Gender, and Sport
In part because of Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment, competitive sport in America has become a system designed around separate but equitable teams for males and females. Although the numbers of women and girls participating in sports has increased exponentially since 1972 and the enactment of Title IX, the question still remains of whether or not separate but equal is the fairest and most just way to maximize the opportunities for and experiences of female participation in sport. I will examine the system through the lens of jurisprudence (legal philosophy), particularly the different branches of feminist legal theory and critical legal studies. These varied philosophical schools of thought disagree on the utility as well as the fairness of separate but equal as a means of promoting gender equality and social justice.
Giovanna Follo and Desire Anastasia, Wayne State University
Women in the Olympics: Now You See Them, Now You Don't
Sport is unfeminine. Could this perception be the catalyst for the second-hand treatment of female athletes? Literature suggests that female athletes receive less coverage than male athletes in all forms of media. To investigate this assumption, a quantitative content analysis will explore the media coverage of women’s sports during the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games, August 13–29, 2004. The Games will be videotaped in their entirety from the American channel NBC and the Canadian channel CBC. Taping will commence with the pre-opening ceremonies on August 13th and continue until the end of the ceremonies. During both the week and weekend the Games will be taped from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Using SPSS, the authors will perform quantitative analyses of how many female versus male athletes are covered by each network, as well as how much coverage time each gender is allowed. In addition, the authors will code for the following themes: the type of sport played, the duration of the event televised, and the time of day the sport is televised. It is hypothesized that, compared to the male athletes, the female athlete will be covered less and at times when T.V. viewership is low.
Brian Frederick, University of Colorado
“Gay Hockey Talk”: The Dominant Gay Liberal Philosophy of the Colorado Climax
This ethnographic research explores the production of masculinity by a gay hockey team in an ostensibly heterosexual, and homophobic hockey league. Results find that gay athletes reproduce a dominant gay liberal philosophy of adopting all attributes of masculinity, other than their sexuality. This was particularly true of gay players who were socialized into hockey early in youth. This study carries interesting implications for the understanding of masculinity, particularly in an area of decreasing homophobia.
Michael Friedman, University of Maryland
Camdenization: Authenticity and Simulation in the Renovation of Fenway Park
Opened in 1912 for baseball’s Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is one of the most iconic, popular and economically-successful sports structures in the United States with its distinctive architecture and storied history. As such, Fenway Park and its “early-modern era” contemporaries (Ritzer & Stillman, 2001) have been design templates for all 15 Major League Baseball stadiums opened following the nostalgia-laden Camden Yards in 1992. Built in a postmodern style, “retro” facilities represent a “random cannibalization of all the styles of the past” (Jameson, 1991, p. 18) as superficial aesthetic signifiers from early-modern ballparks have been combined together with little regard for their initial contexts, and melded with spectacular displays and revenue-generating amenities (Ritzer, 1999). In this presentation, I focus on the developments made to Fenway Park within the past three years. Guided by Camden Yards-designer Janet Marie Smith, the Red Sox have made several physical and aesthetic improvements to the ballpark, many similar to postmodern stadiums, especially in Fenway Park’s use of heritage. While these improvements have been made to increase revenues and enhance fan experience, they ironically may serve to undermine the character of Fenway Park and devalue its authenticity.
Stephanie Fryberg, University of Arizona
“We’re Honoring You, Dude”: The Impact of Using American Indian Mascots
Five studies examine the psychological consequences of American Indian mascots on American Indian high school and college students. In Studies 1 and 2, American Indian high school students were either primed with an American Indian mascot (i.e., Chief Wahoo) or were not (control condition) and then completed state self-esteem or collective self-efficacy measures. In both studies, American Indian students primed with the mascot showed depressed self-esteem and collective self-efficacy when compared to American Indian students in the control condition. In study 3, American Indians attending a predominantly American Indian university with an American Indian mascot (Haskell Indian) were also shown one of three mascots (either Chief Wahoo, Chief Iliniwek, or the Haskell Indian). Participants in the mascot conditions reported fewer achievement-related possible selves than did American Indians in the no-prime control condition. Finally, in Study 5, European Americans were either primed with an American Indian mascot (i.e., Chief Wahoo) or were not (no-prime control). In the mascot prime condition, European Americans reported heightened self-esteem compared to those in the control condition. This boost in self-esteem for European Americans suggests that the dominant social representations of minority groups have significant implications for the psychological functioning of both minority and majority group members.
Zan Gao, Louisiana State University, Louis Harrison, Jr., Louisiana State University and Ping Xiang, Texas A. & M. University
Competence Beliefs, Achievement Values, Race, and Gender in Physical Activity
Guided by an expectancy-value model of achievement choice (Wigfield, Eccles, & Rodriguez, 1998), this study examined the relationships among competence beliefs, achievement values and performance among college students in a physical activity as well as if these variables differed by race and gender. A total of 120 participants (64 Females, 56 Males) completed questionnaires assessing their competence beliefs, achievement values, and performance at a dart-throwing task. Pearson correlations indicated that competence beliefs and achievement values were positively related to each other (r = 0.48) and both were positively related to students’ performance at the dart-throwing task (r = 0.51; r = 0.18). A multiple regression analysis further revealed that competence beliefs (É¿=0.57) and achievement values (É¿= 0.21) were positive predictors of students’ performance. A 2 Å~2 (raceÅ~ gender) MANOVA yielded no significant differences on competence beliefs, achievement values and performance between African- and White-American participants, which was consistent with the previous research (Graham, 1994). Gender differences, however, emerged (Wilks' É©=0.76, F3,114=11.72,p<0.01) with males reporting higher scores on competence beliefs and performance than females. Overall, these findings provided additional empirical evidence to support the importance of examining race and gender differences in students’ motivation in physical activities.
Margaret M. Gehring, Ohio Wesleyan University
Greedy Institutions and the Dearth of Women Coaches.
The dearth of women coaches is an established fact (Acosta & Carpenter, 2004), however the reasons for this steady decline over the past couple of decades are not clear. Further, when examining this phenomenon from an individual perspective the findings do little more than “blame the victim” (Stangl & Kane, 1991). For instance, Sagas et al (2000) found that women lack interest in coaching due to perceived occupational stress. The purpose of this session is to turn the focus (and blame) away from the individual by critically analyzing the collegiate coaching profession from a gendered perspective. Recent research on this topic will be reviewed and analyzed from multiple perspectives. In doing so, Coser’s (1974) notion of a “greedy institution” will be used to help explain the dearth of women coaches at U.S. institutions. Finally, strategies for challenging the status quo in an effort to get and keep more women in coaching will be discussed.
Dorie A. Geissler, University of Illinois
From Sex Roles to Self-Esteem: Sport Science and the Athletic Female Body in 1970s America
This paper revisits early research conducted during the 1970s on the physical and psychological consequences of female sport participation to explore its role in the production of particular “truths” about the athletic female body and their effects. Informed by cultural studies and post-structuralist sensibilities, I consider how early efforts by the sport sciences to come to terms with female sport involvement in the U.S. during the 1970s, were shaped and limited by popular debates and concerns over female sport participation and their articulation with broader cultural anxieties over racial, sexual, gender, and economic transformations. More importantly, this paper explores how the popular dissemination of (?) scientific definitions of the athletic female body as feminine, healthy, and empowered, functioned to dismiss cultural suspicions about female sport participation as physically risky and masculinizing as outdated falsehoods. To this extent, I argue that during the 1970s, through the authority of science, the athletic female body was “made safe” for social, cultural, and economic consumption, and in turn, served as an important site for the imagination of corporeal deviance and the operation of power in America. Lastly, this paper considers the enduring influence of early scientific definitions on contemporary understandings of female sport participation and definitions of healthy female subjectivity and agency.
Gerald Gems, North Central College
An Analysis of Women’s Leadership Roles in the Olympic Movement
This study undertakes a brief historical analysis of women’s participatory roles in the Olympic movement from athletic participants to leadership positions. Its primary focus examines more recent developments in the International Olympic Committee and its member organizations, i.e. national organizing committees (NOCs), and international sport federations. It particularly examines the IOC’s aims and strategies to improve gender equity in governing bodies. It more specifically emphasizes the importance of gender equity in the process of bidding for the Olympic Games. Does the IOC require any standards of parity in the bid process? Do bid cities practice gender equity with regard to decision making groups and committees? Do bid cities’ proposals to the International Olympic Committee include gender as a consideration in the bid process? The study is based on primary documentation from the bid cities’, including IOC reports from 2004–2008 from the International Olympic Academy Library and web pages from the 2012 bid cities’ to derive among other things the number of women and the nature of female roles in the bid cities’ management boards. Preliminary data suggests that the majority of bid cities are not in compliance with IOC aims for gender policy. Such deficiencies apparently have little effect on one’s application; thus calling into question the commitment and efficacy of the IOC’s stated intentions for gender equity. Even if bid cities met the stated IOC guidelines gender parity in leadership roles would take many years. This study concludes with a more radical approach based on historical precedents.
Tammy George and Geneviève Rail, University of Ottawa
Fusion, Confusion or Illusion: An Exploration of Health and Fitness Among Young South Asian Canadian Women
Stereotypes emphasizing passivity, docility, and uncleanliness all contribute to cultural (mis)understandings of Canadian women of South Asian background. Such understandings feed dominant racist discourses, including “bodily” discourses related to fitness and health. In turn, such discourses have “effects” in terms of how women approach bodily practices. This study focuses on the constructions of health and fitness among 20-25 years old second generation South-Asian Canadian women who now live in Ottawa or Toronto. Based on conversations with these women, the study focuses on how they construct health and fitness as well as the types of institutional and cultural discourses they draw from. Results show how these women struggle to construct an identity that speaks to their experience of being South Asian in Canada: they often unsettle, contest, negotiate and resist normative constructions of both “South Asian” and “Canadian” identities. Results also highlight the impact of these negotiations on the young women’s constructions of health and fitness, and on their position as un/fit and un/healthy subjects within cultural discourses. Insights from this study fill an important gap in the Canadian literature on health as well as inform contemporary debates regarding health policy and health education programs for South-Asian Canadian women.
Michael D. Giardina, University of Illinois
Remembering the Titans: Racialized Educational Policy and the Re-narration of De/Segregation
Based on a true story of the racial integration of a high school and its football team in 1971 Virginia, Disney’s (2000) Remember the Titans is regarded by many popular critics as one of the most poignant Hollywood movies to tackle desegregation in recent memory. However, though popularly conceived of as an historical “parable about racial harmony yoked to the formula of a sports movie” (Ebert, 2000), the film serves as commentary on present-day race relations, affirmative-action, and debates concerning school vouchers as read through a culturally conservative White middle-class lens of Disney “magic” that re-narrates history with a commodified history book account filled with sound-byte fictions of school integration and the struggle for Civil Rights. This paper thus interrogates the filmic narratives of Remember the Titans, paying specific attention to its tripartite focus on sport, education, and racial affiliation. I then articulate the film to debates currently circulating in US political and popular cultural germane to education policy, specifically the “No Child Left Behind Act” and school vouchers. I conclude by commenting on the cultural pedagogical role films such as Remember the Titans play in the production of a national fantasy of the present that makes claims on our understanding of the past, national coherence, and popular memory as a site of injustice, criticism, and renewal.
Audrey Giles, University of Alberta
Negotiating Boundaries: Traditional Dene Games in Contemporary Classrooms
The need for a culturally sensitive and relevant curriculum in schools has been recognized and articulated in education policy in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada. Despite the existence of such policy, many difficulties remain in implementing Dene Games as a meaningful part of school curriculum. This paper explores the tensions faced by teachers and school administrators in Fort Simpson, NWT as they attempt to find a place/make room for Dene Games in politically and emotionally charged classroom environments.
Audrey Giles, University of Alberta
"Slaying the Sacred Cow": Girls in Dene Games
The 2004 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) in Fort McMurray, Alberta marked the first time that Dene Games component of the AWG included a category for women. The expansion of girls into the formerly exclusively male athletic realm in the Dene Games drew mixed reviews from athletes, coaches, organizers, and spectators alike. The addition of the category for girls also raised questions concerning the need–which some view as real, others as perceived–for the continued maintenance separation of males and females or the exclusion of females in many Dene Games. Excerpts from semi- and unstructured interviews will be used to examine discourses and challenge metanarratives concerning women and girls’ participation in Dene Games.
Pat António Goldsmith, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Race and Basketball Playing Ability: Preliminary Investigation With a Large, Nationally Representative Sample of High School Students
One of the most controversial topics in the sociology of sport literature is the relationship between race and sport-playing ability. Unfortunately, much of this discussion focuses exclusively on elite athletes and consequently, we do not know how much race and other factors influence sport-playing ability in the general population. In this study, I investigate the importance of race, socioeconomic status, neighborhood residence, and other conditions in influencing ability in the sport of basketball using the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), a nationally representative data set. Results indicate that students who self-identify as Black tend to be better basketball players than those with other racial/ethnic-identifications, all else equal. However, Blacks' advantage over others is larger in some schools than in others. Most notably, Blacks' advantage in playing ability is especially large in schools where there are large status differences between Whites and Blacks and where relations between Blacks and Whites are relatively conflictual. Thus, the findings indicate that race does play a significant role in playing ability in the population, but the importance of race in doing so depends upon the level of racial inequality and the racial relations in the surrounding environment.
Laurie L. Gordy, Daniel Webster College
Females of Color in Sports Illustrated for Women
With few exceptions, racial minority female athletes receive little attention in mainstream sports. Furthermore, there is very little research on the media's portrayal of female athletes of color. In Sports Illustrated for Women, a sports magazine published from 1999-2002, racial minority female athletes did receive more attention and coverage compared to mainstream or "male centered" sports magazines. However, much of the coverage in the feature stories of SI for Women consigned Black female and Asian female athletes to very limited roles. Based on content analysis of the feature stories in SI for Women this research examines the roles, as defined by words and photos, assigned to Black female and Asian female athletes. These roles, in fact, reinforce cultural stereotypes in that Asian females were often depicted as submissive and graceful while Black females were often depicted as assertive, aggressive, or as domestics. Such stereotypes were clear not only in the images presented but also in the framing of contradictory images. Female athletes of color face the cultural ideals of race and gender in that Black females are often under-feminized (and seen as more masculine than White females) and Asian females are often over-feminized.
Andrew Grainger, University of Maryland and Joshua I. Newman,
The University of Memphis
From Immigrant to Overstayer: Nationalism, Rugby, and Pacific Island Identity
During the late 1970s thousands of-in many cases legal-Pacific Island immigrants were systematically evicted from New Zealand shores. Once filling the boom-time demand for unskilled labor, they had become the easy scapegoats for looming recession and rising unemployment-overstayers taking jobs from "real" New Zealanders. It is somewhat ironic then that today that very bastion of New Zealand-ness, the national rugby team, should be dominated by players of Pacific Island descent. Indeed, in the "All Blacks" New Zealanders find their ostensible postcolonial present: Pakeha men toiling side-by-side with their South Pacific Island brethren. However, it is our contention that the All Blacks in fact contribute to a veneer multiculturalism, which obfuscates the cultural politics of race and nation embodied in, and played out through, the game of rugby. Taking rugby as a cultural tracer of wider New Zealand society, in this paper we examine: how players of Pacific Island descent raise increasingly complex questions of national eligibility and allegiance; the parallel exploitation of Pacific Island industrial and athletic labor; and, finally, how the new Pasifika team-in drawing its players from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji-may provide an opportunity to build on an emergent diasporic “Black Pacific” culture which transcends the boundaries of nationalism
Mick Green, Loughborough University
Elite Sport Development in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom
This paper explores the processes underlying elite sport development and policy change in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom (UK). The analysis draws on an examination of policy documents and data gained from semi-structured, in-depth interviews with key personnel in three Australian and Canadian national sporting organisations (NSOs) and three UK national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport in swimming, athletics and sailing; senior officials at the Australian Sports Commission, Sport Canada and UK Sport; and sport policy analysts/academics. In Australia, it is apparent that, over the past decade, there has been a relatively unquestioned federal emphasis on developing elite athletes, legitimised in large part, by the hosting of the Sydney Olympic Games. In Canada, recent policy statements and legislation suggest a shift, at federal government level, away from its preoccupation with elite sport over the past 30 years. In contrast, in the UK, from the mid-1990s onwards, there has been a noticeable shift towards supporting elite sport objectives from both Conservative and Labour administrations. Insights provided by the advocacy coalition framework throw into sharp relief the part played by the state in using its resource control to shape the context within which debates on beliefs/values within NSOs/NGBs take place; in particular, debates around the emphasis placed on elite sport compared to mass participation initiatives.
Chris Grenfell, California State University, San Bernardino
Old School - New School, Value Constructs In Sport and Among Sport Consumers
The fluidity of language, particularly the English language, allows for and often encourages change in the meaning of words and phrases. Within the context of change, I discuss the value orientations of the phrases "old school" and "new school." These phrases occur frequently in sport vernacular and in media coverage of sport. There is even recent research which attempts to quantify "old schoolness" in sport consumers to better enable marketers to match their products with the clientele. (Sukhdial, et.al.,2002) In virtually all settings, the phrases old school and new school are discussed as having a dichotomous relationship with opposing value orientations. However, there is little evidence to indicate that there is a conceptual understanding of the phrases old school and new school or an awareness of the philosophical foundation for the role of sport as it interacts with the larger social system. I explore here the philosophical antecedents of old school, the dynamic between old school and new school and the extent to which the social system acts to change the value constructs it purports to support.
Richard Gruneau, Simon Fraser University
Keynote Panel: (Post)Identity and Sport
When Everything Old Becomes New Again: Sport, and the Retreat
From Subjectivity and Romanticism
Social theory has oscillated over the past two centuries between a concern for concrete social "facts," or readily identifiable social forces that shape human beings and their social relations, and a concern for the meaningful, interpretive, dimensions of human life, including subjectivity, discourse, identity and the emotions. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the concern for subjectivity, discourse, identity and emotion was often most powerfully expressed by romanticism. I want to argue that work in the sociology of sport since the 1960s been swept up in this broader series of theoretical
oscillations. Notably, the postmodern assertion of subjectivity and identity in the sociology of sport in recent years is a manifestation of a burgeoning post-war romanticism that arose in the 1960s and took full flight during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. This romanticism provided an important corrective to many of the limitations of mainstream social theory and traditional political economic analysis,
but its excesses have prompted a renewed interest in alternative perspectives. Suddenly, with the growth of "post-identity" thinking, everything old becomes new again.
Matthew Guschwan, Indiana University
The State in the Stands: Soccer Fandom in Italy.
The State in the Stands: Soccer Fandom in Italy. The State in the Stands: Soccer Fandom in Italy. The State in the Stands: Roman Soccer Fans
When fans of Italian soccer team, AS Roma, gather in the stadium, they sing, “Tell me what it is that makes us feel like friends even though we don’t know each other?” (translated from the song, Grazie Roma). These self-reflexive lyrics are a testament to the deeply emotional, if ephemeral, sense of community that Roma fans feel when they are at the match. While the Roma fans answer their rhetorical question, “AS Roma”, this presentation will open this question to broader interpretation. How do AS Roma soccer fans (called ultras) create an imagined community? To what extent does soccer affect and reflect the ultras’ understanding of Italy as a culture and as a state? Soccer offers the fan a deeply affective sense of identity that is expressed at the stadium through songs, cheers, gestures, costumes, banners and periodically, violence. Away from the stadium, they use websites, newspapers and occasional protests to express their views. In this presentation, I will examine the ways in which the displays of AS Roma ultras reflect regional prejudice, xenophobia, and nationalism. I will also speculate on how these ultra groups influence the individual’s notion of community and citizenship.
Kelby K. Halone, University of Tennessee
Disciplining Sport as a Communication Phenomenon
The domain of sport is a communicatively rich locale for understanding an array of symbolic processes endemic to everyday human interaction. A cursory overview of the interdisciplinary research clearly intimates how processes and practices of communicating play a central and critical role in understanding a host of personal, relational, group, organizational, and mediated issues. These issues, subsequently, can give rise to a host of applied communication considerations at both micro and macro levels. A majority of this research on sport, consequently, have endorsed disciplinary assumptions that privilege an understanding of sport from psychological and sociological paradigms—amidst previous intellectual advances—to the sheer exclusion of those communication processes that essentially give rise to (and empirically constitute) such respective issues and topics. What is absent from this respective body of interdisciplinary literature is a serious consideration of those communicative processes that symbolically govern the course of sport and those communication consequences that interactively fuel the everyday conduct of sport. This paper intellectually (re)considers what the domain of sport might look like if disciplined from a communication paradigm. Engaging in such a task provides an opportunity to (re)examine how the conduct of sport research in communicative terms can productively advance theory and practice in the domain of sport.
Kelby K. Halone, University of Tennessee
(Re)Considering Sport as Communicative Consumption
The community of sport is a process that is communicatively accomplished and interactively maintained. Accordingly, the intersection of communication and sport is conceptually explored. Drawing upon literature from the discipline of communication studies, and various allied disciplines, the domain of sport is (re)considered as a form of communicative consumption. Integrating such interdisciplinary research serves to illustrate the multiplicity of ways in which processes of sport become communicatively consumed.
Marie Hardin, Pennsylvania State University
Life in Purgatory: Female Journalists and the Sports Media Hierarchy
Although sports media organizations in the United States have publicly made diversity, including the hiring and promoting of women, a goal, sports media leaders say it is difficult to recruit and retain women. The number of women working in sports media has grown during the past two decades but remains relatively low; the number of women in leadership positions is even lower. Focus-group interviews with 20 women who work at various levels in U.S. newspaper sports departments reveal that although they believe their gender was an advantage in their “breaking into the business,” it is ultimately a barrier to their career advancement. These journalists discuss feeling pigeonholed, tokenized and marginalized by male co-workers and feeling harassed by sources and readers. They also report feeling a strong sense of responsibility to mentor younger females in sports media and to provide more coverage of women’s sports in their newspapers.
Othello Harris, Miami University
Keynote Panel: (Post)Identity and Sport