Beyond Analyses of Sport Media Texts: An Argument for Formal Analyses of Institutional Structures

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
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Sport media scholars have been increasingly interested in studying sport media texts for their meanings, particularly meanings that relate to gender and gender stereotypes. I argue that it is time to go beyond our present level of sport media analysis by identifying the formal structures that give rise to individual texts. Using the method of homology, I examine three dialectical formal structures or mechanisms of patriarchy: objectification, commodification, and voyeurism. I then select a particular text, the March 1992 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, to show how these mechanisms are manifested in the photographs and captions. Finally, I situate the three mechanisms in the historical and cultural contexts of the last decade and a half, where political events reveal the underlying formal structures of patriarchy.

Margaret Carlisle Duncan is with the Department of Human Kinetics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201.

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