If sport scholars are going to contribute to a critical (inter)national dialogue that challenges “official versions” of a post-9/11 geo-political reality, there is a need to continue to move beyond the borders of the US, and examine how nationalistic sporting spectacles work to promote local military initiatives that are aligned with the imperatives of neoliberal empire. In this article we provide a critical reading of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s nationally-televised broadcast of a National Hockey League game, colloquially known as Tickets for Troops. We reveal how interest groups emphasized three interrelated narratives that worked to: 1) personalize the Canadian Forces and understandings of neoliberal citizenship, 2) articulate warfare/military training with men’s ice hockey in relation to various promotional mandates, and 3) optimistically promote the war in Afghanistan and the Conservative Party of Canada via storied national traditions and mythologies.
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Jay Scherer and Jordan Koch
Nicholas L. Holt, Jay Scherer, and Jordan Koch
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of a sport program in the lives of homeless men with severe mental illnesses and addictions. Interviews were conducted with eight men who attended a floor hockey program, and data examined using categorical-content narrative methodology. Five themes captured the role of the floor hockey program in the men’s lives: (a) relationships with program leader, (b) therapy, (c) community, (d) action, and (e) achievement. These themes were interpreted using theories of masculinity (Connell, 1995; Gough, 2014). Relationships with the program leader and other men, and ways in which they were allowed to play with physicality, provided opportunities to accumulate masculine capital (i.e., ways in which competence in traditionally masculine behaviors provides masculine credit). Practically, the findings suggest that sport program delivery for men such as those in this study can be enhanced by providing opportunities for accruing masculine capital.
Jay Scherer, Jordan Koch, and Nicholas L. Holt
As a result of a rapidly changing global political economy, deindustrialization, and neoliberalism, a new form of racialized urban poverty has become concentrated in the inner cities of innumerable North American urban centers. In response to these material conditions, various nonprofit organizations, corporate-sponsored initiatives,and underfunded municipal recreation departments continue to provide a range of sport-for-development programs for the ‘urban outcasts’ of the global economy. While sport scholars have widely critiqued these initiatives, little is known about how people experience these programs against the backdrop of actually existing neoliberalism (Brenner & Theodore, 2002) and the new conditions of urban poverty. As part of a three-year urban ethnography in Edmonton, Alberta, this paper examines how a group of less affluent and often homeless young men experienced and made use of a weekly, publicly funded floor-hockey program. In so doing, we explore how this sport-for-development program existed as a ‘hub’ within a network of social solidarity and as a crucial site for marginalized individuals to negotiate, and, at times, resist conditions of precarious labor in a divided Western Canadian city.
Jay Scherer, Judy Davidson, Rylan Kafara, and Jordan Koch
The new urban sporting territory in Edmonton’s city center was constructed within the framework of continued settler colonialism. The main catalyst for this development was sport-related gentrification: a new, publicly financed ice hockey arena for the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers, and a surrounding sport and entertainment district. This two-year ethnography explores this territory, in particular the changing interactions between preexisting, less affluent city-center residents and police, private security, crisis workers, and hockey fans. It reveals how residents navigate the physical and spatial changes to a downtown that are not only structured by revanchism, but by what Rai Reece calls “carceral redlining,” or the continuation of White supremacy through regulation, surveillance, displacement, and dispossession.