Gretzky, Crisis, and Canadian Identity in 1988: Rearticulating the Americanization of Culture Debate

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper contributes to the recent debates concerning sport and the “Americanization” of culture with specific reference to Canada. The analysis focuses on the media’s role in articulating specific political, economic, and cultural events in order to construct a crisis of Canadian identity. In particular, this study examines how the 1988 marriage and trade of ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky were articulated within a discourse of crisis and specifically linked to an alleged threat of “Americanization.” It is asserted that a comprehensive understanding of Americanization must address its complexity beyond a simple case of cultural imperialism and should consider such issues as appropriation and strategic use to serve particular political interests.

Steven J. Jackson is with the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.

An earlier and shorter version of this paper was presented at the Americanisation of Culture Conference, University of Wales, Swansea, September 16–18, 1992, and appears in Borderlines, 1993, pp. 142-156.

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