Once More, With Feeling: Sport, National Anthems, and the Collective Power of Affect

in Sociology of Sport Journal
View More View Less
  • 1 Georgia Institute of Technology
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $67.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $89.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $126.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $169.00

In this paper I apply insights from Sport Studies, Indigenous Studies, Music Studies, and Feminist Cultural Studies to illuminate and theorize the cultural, material, and political affective salience of national anthems staged prior to sporting events. To do so I analyze two different cases: The Aboriginal musical trio Asani’s 2014 multi-lingual performance of “O Canada” prior to an Oilers hockey game which closed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) events in Edmonton, Alberta; and the projection of hatred onto former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest of racism during the playing of the U.S. national anthem in 2016. Analysis suggests that these emotive, often visceral musical performances and responses are not contained within individual subjects but instead reflect contextually specific repetitive (dis)articulations across time, space, and a variety of bodies. Placed within broader colonial contexts, Asani’s version of the Canadian anthem is exemplary of the embodied sensory, but politically limited settler-oriented communitas of Canadian TRC inclusionary music as previously explicated by Robinson. Kaepernick’s anti-racist kneeling activism provides an additional case to theorize the relationship of national anthems in regards to movements for and against an imagined white nation as well as State-sanctioned colonization and hatreds.

McDonald (mary.mcdonald@hsoc.gatech.edu) is with the School of History and Sociology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.

  • Abad-Santo, A. (2018, September 6). Why social media boycott over Colin Kaepernick is a win for Nike. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2018/9/4/17818148/nike-boycott-kaepernick

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ahmed, S. (2015). The cultural politics of emotions (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University.

  • Alfred, T. (2005). Wasáse: Indigenous portraits of action and freedom. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto.

  • Andrews, D.L., & Silk, M.L. (2018). Sport and neoliberalism: An affective-ideological articulation. The Journal of Popular Culture, 51(2), 511533. doi:10.1111/jpcu.12660

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Angel, N., & Wakeham, P. (2016). Witnessing in camera: Photographic reflections on truth and reconciliation. In D. Robinson & K. Martin (Eds.), Arts of engagement: Taking aesthetic action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (pp. 93134). Waterloo, UK: Wilfrid Laurier University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beydoun, K. (2016, September 2). Colin Kaepernick: Mix of racism and anti-Islam rhetoric are increasingly toxic. The Undefeated. Retrieved from https://theundefeated.com/features/colin-kaepernick-mix-of-racism-anti-islam-rhetoric-are-increasingly-toxic/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blair, K. (2015). Hockey sticks and heartstrings: The men’s gold medal hockey game and the affective legacy of the 2010 Olympic Games. Critical Theater Review, 164, 8388. doi:10.3138/ctr.164.015

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bologna, C. (2018, May 19). The history of the national anthem in sports. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/history-national-anthem-sports_us_5afc9bcfe4b06a3fb50d5056

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bosman, J., & Goldstein, J. (2014, August 24). Timeline for a body: 4 hours in the middle of a Ferguson Street. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/us/michael-brown-a-bodys-timeline-4-hours-on-a-ferguson-street.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bruce, T. (2017). The Rugby World Cup experience: Interrogating the oscillating poles of love and hate. In L.A. Wenner & A.C. Billings (Eds.), Sport, media and mega-events (pp. 100114). New York, NY: Routledge.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bryant, H. (2018). The heritage: Black athletes, a divided America, and the politics of patriotism. Boston, MA: Beacon.

  • Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of sex. New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Butler, J., & Spivak, G.C. (2010). Who sings the nation-state?: Language, politics, belonging. London, UK: Seagull.

  • Chaplin, K.S., & Montez de Oca, J. (2019). Avoiding the issue: University students’ response to national anthem protests. Sociology of Sport Journal, 36, 1221. doi:10.1123/ssj.2018-0108

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coaston, J. (2018, September 4). 2 years of NFL protests, explained. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2018/8/15/17619122/kaepernick-trump-nfl-protests-2018

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coulthard, G.S. (2014). Red skin, white masks: Rejecting the colonial politics of recognition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cvetkovich, A. (2003). An archive of feelings: Trauma, sexuality, and lesbian public cultures. Durham, NC: Duke University.

  • Davidson, J. (2006). The necessity of queer shame for gay pride: The gay games and cultural events. In J. Caudwell (Ed.), Sport, sexualities and queer theory (pp. 90106). London, UK: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Douglas, D.D. (2005). Venus, Serena and the Women’s Tennis Association: When and where race enters. Sociology of Sport Journal, 22(3), 255281. doi:10.1123/ssj.22.3.255

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunning, E., Murphy, P., & Williams, J. (1988). The roots of football hooliganism: An historical and sociological study. London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Elias, N. (1994). The civilizing process. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

  • Ferris, M. (2014). The Star-Spangled Banner: The unlikely story of America’s national anthem. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins.

  • Forsyth, J. (2012). Bodies of meaning: Sports and games at Canadian residential schools. In J. Forsyth & A.R. Giles (Eds.), Aboriginal people and sport in Canada: Historical foundations and contemporary issues (pp. 1534). Vancouver, BC: UBC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fullagar, S., & Pavlidis, A. (2018). Feminist theories of emotion and affect in sport. In L. Mansfield, J. Caudwell, B. Wheaton, & B. Watson (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of feminism and sport, leisure, and physical education (pp. 447462). London, UK: Palgrave.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fullenwieder, L. (2018). Settler biopower: Accumulation and dispossession in Canada’s Indian residential school settlement agreement. Settler Colonial Studies, 8(4), 422441. doi:10.1080/2201473X.2017.1327401

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garneau, D. (2016). Imaginary spaces of conciliation and reconciliation: Art, curation and healing. In D. Robinson & K. Martin (Eds.), Arts of engagement: Taking aesthetic action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (pp. 4366). Waterloo, UK: Wilfrid Laurier University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gebhard, A. (2017). Reconciliation or racialization? Contemporary discourses about residential schools in the prairies. Canadian Journal of Education, 40(1), 130.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Geisler, M.E. (Ed.). (2005). National symbols, fractured identities: Contesting the national narrative. Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Government of Canada. (n.d.). Official symbols of Canada. Government of Canada website. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/official-symbols-canada.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Graham, B.A. (2017, September 27). Donald Trump blasts NFL anthem protestors: Get that son of a bitch off the field.“ The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/22/donald-trump-nfl-national-anthem-protests

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gruneau, R., & Whitson, D. (1993). Hockey night in Canada: Sport, identities and cultural politics. Toronto, ON: Garamond.

  • Guerrero, J.C. (2018, September 4). Timeline: Looking back at Colin Kaepernick’s transformation from football star to social justice advocate. San Francisco ABC 7 News. Retrieved from https://abc7news.com/sports/timeline-of-kaepernicks-push-for-social-justice/4147237/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, S. (1985). Signification, representation, ideology: Althusser and the post-structuralist debates. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 2(2), 91114.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2001). Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

  • Horton, A. (2018, September 4). “He would be the first to kneel”: Pat Tillman exploited to attack Kaepernick, biographer says. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/04/he-would-be-first-kneel-pat-tillman-exploited-attack-kaepernick-biographer-says/?utm_term=.1be3c2a1b748

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Idle No More. (n.d.). The vision. Idle No More website. Retrieved from http://www.idlenomore.ca/vision

  • Ingham, A.G., Howell, J., & Schilperoort, T.S. (1987). Professional sport and community: A review and exegesis. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, 15(1), 427466.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ingham, A.G., & McDonald, M.G. (2003). Sport and community/communitas. In R.C. Wilcox, D.L. Andrews, R. Pitter, & R.L. Irwin (Eds.), Sporting dystopias: The making and the meaning of urban sport cultures (pp. 1733). Albany, NY: State University of New York.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • King, C.R., & Leonard, D. (2014). Beyond hate: White power and popular culture. London, UK: Routledge.

  • King, S. (2006). Pink ribbons, inc: Breast cancer and the politics of philanthropy. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

  • King, S. (2008). Offensive lines: Sport-state synergy in an era of perpetual war. Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies, 8, 527539. doi:10.1177/1532708608321575

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lagimodiere, J. (2014). Reconciliation is about more than saying sorry. Eagle Feather News, 17(4), 4. Retrieved from https://www.eaglefeathernews.com/quadrant/media/pastIssues/2014%20/Apr-2014.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lamothe, D. (2016, August 29). The Colin Kaepernick flap highlights the NFL complex history with the military and patriotism. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/08/29/the-colin-kaepernick-flap-highlights-the-nfls-complex-history-with-the-military-and-patriotism/?utm_term=.20f5557f36af

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leonard, D. (2018). “You’ve been on my mind like Kaepernick kneelin”: Hip-hop, heritage and hope in the revolt of the black athlete. Keynote address given at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport annual conference. Vancouver, BC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Trumansburg, NY: The Crossing Press.

  • Markula, P. (2006). Body-movement-change. Dance as performative qualitative research. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 30(4), 353363. doi:10.1177/0193723506292963

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McDonald, M.G. (2005). Mapping sport and whiteness: An introduction. Sociology of Sport Journal, 22(3), 245255. doi:10.1123/ssj.22.3.245

  • Mertz, E. (2014, March 26). National truth and reconciliation event comes to Edmonton. Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/1232599/national-truth-and-reconciliation-event-comes-to-edmonton/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nagy, R. (2014). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Genesis and design. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 29(2), 199217. doi:10.1017/cls.2014.8

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ogg, A. (2014, September 25). Edmonton Oilers honour First Nations hockey. Cree Literacy Network. Retrieved from https://creeliteracy.org/2014/09/25/edmonton-oilers-honour-first-nations-hockey/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Omi, M., & Winant, H. (1994). Racial formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Pavlidis, A., & Fullagar, S. (2014). Women, sport and new media technologies: Derby grrls online. In A. Bennett & B. Robards (Eds.), Mediated youth cultures: The internet, belonging and new cultural configurations (pp. 164181). London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pringle, R., Rinehart, R., & Caudwell, J. (2015). Sport and the social significance of pleasure. London, UK: Routledge.

  • Probyn, E. (2005). Blush: Faces of shame. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

  • Relman, E. (2018, September 4). Tucker Carlson warns that American society ‘will fall apart’ because Nike is supporting Colin Kaepernick. Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/tucker-carlson-american-society-destroyed-by-nike-colin-kaepernick-2018-9

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robinson, D. (2014). Feeling reconciled, remaining settled. In E. Hurley (Ed.), Theaters of affect (pp. 275306). Toronto, ON: Playwrights Canadian Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robinson, D. (2016). Intergenerational sense, intergenerational responsibility. In D. Robinson & K. Martin (Eds.). Arts of engagement: Taking aesthetic action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (pp. 4366). Waterloo, UK: Wilfrid Laurier University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robinson, D., & Martin, K. (2016). Introduction: “The body is a resonant chamber.” In D. Robinson & K. Martin (Eds.), Arts of engagement: Taking aesthetic action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (pp. 120). Waterloo, UK: Wilfrid Laurier University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenthal, R., & Flacks, R. (2011). Playing for Change: Music and musicians in the service of social movements. New York, NY: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roy, G. (2014). “Taking emotions seriously”: Feeling female and becoming-surfer through UK surf space. Emotion, Space and Society, 12, 4148. doi:10.1016/j.emospa.2013.07.004

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scherer, J., & Davidson, J. (2010). Promoting the “arriviste” city: Producing neoliberal urban identity and communities of consumption during the Edmonton Oilers’ 2006 playoff campaign. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 42(6), 157180.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sewell, C. (2001). Decolonization through harmonization. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 25(2), 94104.

  • Smith, J., & Ingham, A.G. (2003). On the waterfront: Retrospectives on the relationship between sport and communities. Sociology of Sport Journal, 20(3), 252274. doi:10.1123/ssj.20.3.252

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, K.Y. (2016). From #blacklivesmatter to black liberation. Chicago, IL: Haymarket.

  • Thompson, M., & Biddle, I. (2013). Sound, music, affect: Theorizing sonic experience. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

  • Thorpe, H., & Rinehart, R. (2010). Alternative sport and affect: Non-representational theory examined. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 13(7–8), 12681291. doi:10.1080/17430431003780278

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thrift, N. (2008). Non-representational theory: Space, politics, affect. London, UK: Routledge.

  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P., & Craig, M. (2010). Affect, race and identities: Visceral, viscous theories of race after social constructionism. Environment and Planning A, 42, 23092314. doi:10.1068/a43300

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tomlinson, A., & Young, C. (2006). National identity and global sports events: Culture, politics and spectacle in the Olympics and the football World Cup. Albany, UK: University of New York.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honoring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada [Monograph]. Retrieved from www.trc.ca

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Turino, T. (2008). Music as social life: The politics of participation. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

  • Van Ingham, C. (2011). Spatialities of anger: Emotional geographies in a boxing program for survivors of violence. Sociology of Sport Journal, 28(2), 171188. doi:10.1123/ssj.28.2.171

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vowel, C. (2016). Indigenous writes: A guide to First Nations, Metis & Inuit Issues in Canada. Winnipeg, MB: High Water Press.

  • Wagoner, N. (2016, 2018). Colin Kaepernick unveils details of “Million Dollar Pledge.” ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18083005/colin-kaepernick-san-francisco-49ers-reveals-million-dollar-pledge-details

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wolfe, P. (2006). Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native. Journal of Genocide Research, 8(4), 387409. doi:10.1080/14623520601056240

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Woodward, K. (2009). Embodied sporting practices: Regulating and regulatory bodies. London, UK: Palgrave.

  • Wyche, S. (2016). Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during the national anthem. NFL Website. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000691077/article/colin-kaepernick-explains-why-he-sat-during-national-anthem

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zembylas, M. (2015). Rethinking race and racism as technologies of affect: Theorizing the implications for anti-racist politics and practices in education. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 18(2), 145162. doi:10.1080/13613324.2014.946492

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1983 835 51
Full Text Views 449 167 3
PDF Downloads 246 106 3