This article explores the establishment and development of fan-owned association football club, F.C. United of Manchester. It does this by drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork, including interviews, observations and an analysis of multiple texts, such as fanzines, web-based and media reports materials and discusses this using Herbert Blumer’s theory of collective behavior. As such, the article addresses two research questions: first, what the empirical case example of F.C. United of Manchester offers to the critical understanding of Blumer’s theory and second, what the theory can give to the understanding of twenty-first century protests in popular culture. Therefore this article contributes to contemporary debates on association football fandom, social movements and the theories of Herbert Blumer.
Peter Millward and George Poulton
Brian Wilson and Robert Sparks
This paper examines the impacts of athletic-apparel commercial messages on youth and youth cultures. Sneaker companies routinely use celebrity Black athletes, like Michael Jordan, to help position and market their premium brands. While concerns have been raised over the potential negative impacts of this practice, the processes through which athletic-apparel commercials become interpreted and assimilated into youth cultures have not been well-researched, A study is reported that used focus-group methodology and Radway’s (1991) concept of “interpretive communities” to examine how Black and non-Black male adolescents view sneaker commercials and celebrity Black athletes. This paper explores the ways that “cultural power” and “symbolic power” (Lull, 1995) are exercised by both the sneaker companies that feature celebrity Black athlete spokespersons and by the youth “communities” that consume these images. Overall, the youth in the study comprised two distinct interpretive communities defined by cultural differences related to their distinct social locations and racial identities.
Donald Chu and David Griffey
The contact theory of racial integration is examined in this survey of the behaviors and attitudes of secondary school students and student-athletes. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 1,082 subjects in the urban upstate New York area. Subjects were evaluated on two behavioral (race of students talked to, race of students phoned) and three attitudinal (like more friends of other races, choose interracial school, or races smarter than others) dependent variables. Dependent measures were evaluated relative to their correlations with a number of independent variables (athlete/nonathlete, individual or cooperative sport played, sport experience, won-lost record, exposure to minorities, sex, social status). Results of the study argue for consideration of the contact theory’s applicability to the sport situation.
Jennifer L. Gay, Eva V. Monsma, Alan L. Smith, J.D. DeFreese and Toni Torres-McGehee
Growth and maturation may impact adolescent behavior and development of psychological disorders. Currently age at menarche is used as the primary marker of maturation, even though it occurs later than other indicators of growth such as peak height velocity (PHV). Maturity offset predicting age at PHV has not been validated in diverse samples. Anthropometric measures and self-reported age at menarche were obtained for 212 female athletes ages 11 to 16 years (M = 13.25). Shared variance between menarcheal age and estimated age at PHV (APHV) was small (R 2 = 5.3%). Discriminant validity was established by classifying participants as pre- or post-PHV or menarche (X2 = 32.62, P < .0001). The Pearson’s correlation between chronological age and age at PHV (r = .69) was stronger than with age at menarche (r = .26). Making informed decisions about accounting for growth and maturation using estimated age at PHV are offered.
Laura Hills and Eileen Kennedy
This analysis of the televising of the 2005 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in the United Kingdom and United States explores how the space of Wimbledon is communicated to different national cultures. The theoretical framing draws on the concepts of deterritorialization developed in Tomlinson’s (1999) work and space invaders as understood by Puwar (2004). A discourse analysis of newspaper reports and television broadcasts demonstrates ways in which the mediation of Wimbledon can be understood as subject to deterritorialization, which opens up the space of Wimbledon to bodies simultaneously marked as insiders and outsiders, revealing tensions around the visibility and invisibility of bodies. We conclude by pointing to the potential of these tensions for disrupting the power dynamics of sport.
Athena Yiamouyiannis and Kay Hawes
The 2009–10 Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) data were used to analyze and compare student enrollment, sport participation rates/participants, and scholarship allocation at NCAA Division I, II, and III colleges and their subdivisions from a critical perspective through the lens of feminism. The EADA data included 1,062 NCAA collegiate institutions, with 350 Division I colleges, 209 in Division II, and 420 in Division III. Within Division I, the three subdivisions included I-A (FBS), I-AA (FCS), and I-AAA (without football). For Divisions II and III, findings were reported for colleges with and without football. Of the 6 million students attending NCAA colleges, 54% are female students, while only 43% of sport participants are women, which reflects an 11% gap between female enrollment and sport participation. Scholarship allocation appears to favor women when using the OCR comparison of scholarships to participants; however, the opposite conclusion is drawn based upon additional information.
This article explores the intersection of representation, management, and race in the National Basketball Association (NBA) through a larger question on the relationship between corporate strategies for managing racialized subjects and popular representations of race. The NBA “brand”is situated in terms of recent developments in corporate and popular culture and then analyzed as an example of diversity management. Relying on original interviews with NBA corporate employees, as well as business and marketing industry reporting, the article analyzes the NBA as simultaneously an organization and a brand. As such, the NBA helps to “articulate” the corporate with the popular, largely through an implied racial project that manages race relations by continuing to equate corporate interests with Whiteness. The analysis contributes to ongoing discussions about the role of sports in perpetuating social disparities based on race at a time when “colorblindness” remains the paradigm of White approaches to race.
Kathleen E. Miller, Grace M. Barnes, Don Sabo, Merrill J. Melnick and Michael P. Farrell
Contrary to popular assumption, adolescent anabolic-androgenic steroid use is not limited to serious male athletes. This paper examines the relationships among gender, athletic participation, and health-related problem behaviors among adolescent steroid users. Regression analyses were performed on a nationally representative sample of over 16,000 high school students (the 1997 Youth Risk Behavior Survey), of whom nearly 500 had used steroids. Compared to nonusers, steroid users were significantly more likely to report substance use, suicidal behavior, and sexual risk-taking; however, patterns of risk behavior varied by the user’s athletic status and gender. After controlling for age, race, ethnicity, and parental education, both athletic participation and female gender were negatively associated with most risk behaviors among users of anabolic steroids.
Neal Christopherson, Michelle Janning and Eileen Diaz McConnell
The 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship serves as a particularly good site for examining both the social construction of gender and the structure of contradiction surrounding women’s role in sport and society. We conducted a content analysis of 576 American newspaper articles reporting on the 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship. Contradictory messages surrounding women and sports were present, as past research has suggested. An analysis of more qualitative aspects of our data reveals the structure of these contradictions and provides substantial depth to this analysis. We discuss how the media actively promoted or constructed certain gender ideologies and how these gender ideologies contributed to the popularity of the event.
Daniel S. Putler and Richard A. Wolfe
Considerable controversy exists concerning university athletics. Depending upon one’s perspective, athletic programs are seen as having important positive, or negative, effects on universities. The objective of the research reported here is to determine whether perceptions of intercollegiate athletic programs differ as a function of issues such as winning, profits, ethics, and the education of athletes. Our analyses indicate that: (a) ethics and winning, and education and revenue, tend to be competing athletic program priorities; (b) individuals cluster in four groups that emphasize athletic program revenue, winning, education, and ethics; and (c) the extent to which cluster membership is related to constituency group (e.g., alumni, students, faculty) membership depends on the constituency group being considered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of our findings for both theory and practice.