“Be a Good Fan During the Good, the Bad, and Even the Ugly”: Exploring Cultural Boundaries Through Sport Fan Discourses on Twitter

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Katherine Sveinson Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA

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Larena Hoeber Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada

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While sport fandom can be assumed to be inclusive, a deeper exploration of discourses around fandom exposes alternative perspectives. Using the frameworks of cultural boundaries and critical discourse studies, we explored how sport fans use Twitter to create, maintain, and transform cultural boundaries of sport fandom. We used tweets from a season of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team as a case. Data were collected via Visual Twitter Analytics software focusing on tweets containing #LetsRise and #BlueJays. From the larger data set, we selected 172 tweets to examine using critical discourse analysis and ideological structures of discourse. Findings demonstrate that discourses of loyalty, consumption, and unity have plural meanings and are used to draw boundaries that are simultaneously fluid and rigid. Thus, we argue that fans engage in an active process of determining who is and is not included in fan cultures through Twitter use.

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