One Step Forward, Two Tweets Back: Exploring Cultural Backlash and Hockey Masculinity on Twitter

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 McGill University
  • 2 SUNY Cortland
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Between 2000 and 2018, the number of fights in professional hockey decreased by more than half, reflecting rule changes intended to preserve player health. A 2019 playoff fight ignited debate on social media over the place of fighting in hockey. This research involved a content analysis of an incendiary tweet and the 920 replies it solicited. Content analysis confirmed that cultural backlash exists in sport and provided insight into manifestations of backlash. Comments exhibiting backlash varied by subject (i.e., what or who is being discussed in the tweet) and attitude (i.e., positive approval for fighting and negative attitude toward change), with many defending hockey masculinity. Connections are drawn to manifestations of backlash in the political realm, the extant hockey masculinity literature, and implications for sociological theory and the sport of hockey are discussed.

Sailofsky is with the Department of Sociology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Orr is with the Sport Management Department, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY, USA.

Sailofsky (daniel.sailofsky@mail.mcgill.ca) is corresponding author.
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