In this article, which is an expanded and updated adaptation of the 2018 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Presidential Address, I look at the challenges and opportunities presented to the field by the Sokal 2.0 hoax. Specifically, I look at issues of epistemology and politics as expressed in, and produced through, the field(s) of sport sociology, physical cultural studies, and critical studies in/of sport. I conclude with a discussion regarding how sport sociologists and scholars in related fields might look to form new associations as they continue to produce politically-meaningful scholarship and seek social justice and social equality there through.
Joshua I. Newman
Joshua I. Newman
The study examines the significance of the Confederate flag in the local sport cultures of the American South. Building on a growing body of research related to sport, Whiteness, and the formation of local identity, this article questions how and why the Confederate signifier remains a contested, yet meaningful, symbol in the spaces and spectacles of the South’s most Confederate-emblazoned sporting institution: the University of Mississippi’s football team (the Ole Miss Rebels). Informed by (1) a critical historiography and (2) an exhaustive ethnography conducted from 2004 to 2006, this article mediates on the intersection of an exclusionary history and contemporary signifying acts of Dixie South Whiteness articulated through the sporting local. It concludes with a brief discussion on the international expansion of the flag’s sporting import.
Joshua I. Newman
In this coda, I consider the oncoming and already-present “crises” (see Giardina & Laurendeau, this issue) which threaten to unsettle the Enlightenment (and its hermeneutic legacies) substrata scholars of sport and the active body rest their work upon. In so doing, I aim to take up a number of the questions posited by the guest editors in their call for papers for this edition. I look back on the research and research acts that have come to hold sway in our field to reflect upon what the contents of this special issue might tell us about the politics of evidence, knowledge, and research action within such a state of metaphysical disorientation. I do so with this question in mind: what if these epistemological and ontological bases—the very axioms of intellectual reason and the pursuit of knowledge—no longer carried (much) value? What if the institutions which house our work no longer privileged the very foundational metaphysics—Enlightenment axioms of inquiry and reason—upon which our endeavors are hoisted? In short, what would sociocultural inquiries of the sporting and active body beyond Enlightenment look like?
Joshua I. Newman
This article seeks to unsettle the taken-for-granted epistemological and ontological foundations upon which many curricular and research-based activities in contemporary sport management are grounded. With an emphasis on that academic field’s development in the United States in particular, the author problematizes the underlying assumptions that guide many of sport management’s concomitant scientific and industrial projects. The article concludes with a brief discussion on how we might reenvisage both the study and praxis of sport management in ways that are not just economically generative, but in ways that might also bring about cultural and social transformation.
Matthew G. Hawzen and Joshua I. Newman
In this article, we explore the media and cultural politics of former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Tim Tebow. More specifically, we investigate paradoxical and contradictory media representations of Tebow as his celebrity surfaced within, and came to dominate, the Obama-era ‘American’ media landscape. In so doing, we draw lines of articulation from Tebow—as performative and representative embodiment of white identity politics and Christian fundamentalism—to broader frames of nation-based morality and racialized meritocracy. We end the article with a discussion on why mediated and mediating Tebow—as framed in contradictory yet religiously significant ways—was at once polarizing and codifying in the media’s ability to galvanize a contextually-significant set of cultural and racial politics.
Dans cet article, nous explorons les politiques médiatiques et culturelles de l’ancien quarterback de la National Football League (NFL) Tim Tebow. Plus spécifiquement, nous étudions les représentations médiatiques paradoxales et contradictoires de Tebow étant donné que sa célébrité est apparue, et a fini par dominer, le paysage médiatique ‘américain’ pendant l’ère Obama. Pour ce faire, nous envisageons l’articulation de pistes allant de Tebow – en tant qu’incarnation performative et représentative des politiques identitaires blanches et du fondamentalisme chrétien – à des cadres plus larges de moralité nationale et de méritocratie racialisée. Nous terminons l’article sur une discussion expliquant pourquoi le médiatique et médiatisé Tebow – décrit dans des termes significativement contradictoires bien que religieux – a été immédiatement polarisé et codifié par la capacité des médias à galvaniser un ensemble contextuellement significatif de politiques culturelles et raciales.
Michael D. Giardina and Joshua I. Newman
In this article, we identify various points of ontological, epistemological, and methodological intersection from which an embodied, generative Physical Cultural Studies project can emerge. We follow scholars such as Ingham (1997) and Andrews (2008) in arguing that contemporary “body work” scholars might benefit from “framing” (Butler 2009) embodiment and corporeality within the general coordinates of 1) cultural studies’ politics of articulation (as theory and method) and radical-contextualism and 2) the cultural exigencies of the body (i.e., cultural physicalities)—and in the “messy” practices of reflexivity, empirical vulnerability, and writing (as representation and performance) such embodied research as/in practice demands.
Joshua I. Newman and Adam S. Beissel
This article profiles the ascent of stockcar racing from parochial pastime of the late industrial American South into an internationally-distributed corporate sport conglomerate. We explicate the role NASCAR (the sport’s governing body), its spectacles, and its consumer-spectators played in reproducing the political, economic, and cultural conditions by which it was made both “local” and “global.” It also briefly illustrates the problematic nature of recent initiatives to sell historically localized NASCAR commodities to “nontraditional” national and international markets.
Lin Yu, Hanhan Xue, and Joshua I. Newman
In recent years, Shanghai has become one of Asia’s major players in the bidding for, and hosting of, international sporting events. Uniquely positioned by history (e.g., China’s liberalized urban node to the globalizing economy, an imbedded urban cosmopolitanism) and geopolitics (e.g., a shift toward free market domestic political economy, a growing pro-corporatist governing alliance), sporting Shanghai provides a critical site of analysis for contemporary sport-based global-localisms. In this study, we examine how local culture, global commercialism, and policy discourse intersect to “produce” the global sporting city. We conclude with a discussion of how sport in this context is manufactured not only as economic, social, and political catalyst, but also how sport policy itself represents a conjunctural city as “modernization” event.
Christopher M. McLeod, Haozhou Pu, and Joshua I. Newman
During the 2008 Olympic Games, after years of environmental regulations, two months of short-term measures, and opportune weather, Beijing measured a record number of “blue sky days,” at the same time reassuring international athletes and journalists the air was safe for competition and Beijing residents. We use this case to understand how environmental objectives are achieved in sport. Using Bruno Latour’s object-oriented political ecology, we describe the events leading to, during, and after the Games. We argue environmental objectives are possible when environments are made public; this means environmental objects—such as skies and particulate matter—must be assembled and then articulated or, in other words, brought forward and made capable of speech.
Joshua I. Newman, Grace Yan, Hanhan Xue, and Nicholas M. Watanabe
In this article, the authors provide a Deleuzoguattarian tracing of a specific set of relationships between traditional Chinese medicine, life, death, and football (soccer). More specifically, the authors examine political, economic, and cultural associations formed in and around the Quanjian Group, a major traditional Chinese medicine company once located in the burgeoning industrial hub of Tianjin. The authors follow Aihwa Ong in abductively examining (de)territorializations of life, sport, and death; examining how the media publics’ (in China and beyond) awareness of the death of a young girl in 2015 destabilized a network of capital, state, medicine, and sport and in the process revealed how the vitality of major professional sport in China is situated within, and contingent upon, a vast array of material and nonmaterial (bio)political formations.