Through an ethnographically oriented case study at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the analysis accounts for the complexities and nuances that realignments in political, economic, and social life create for televised sport professionals. The analysis addresses the mediations of, and the interactions between, the host broadcaster (Radio Television Malaysia) and one “client” broadcaster (Television New Zealand). Specifically, the paper focuses on the conditions of production, the production practices, and the meanings embodied within the product that flowed to New Zealand.
Alison J. Armstrong-Doherty
Interuniversity athletic departments face an ever-increasing number and complexity of factors in their environment, which may impact on their organizational activities to varying degrees. The head athletic directors at 34 of the 45 (76%) Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) member institutions rated the degree of control of 15 environmental elements over seven basic activities of the athletic department. The athletic department was perceived to function relatively independent of broad environmental control, with the exception of establishing and supporting a philosophy of interuniversity athletics. It appears that perceived control is a multidimensional phenomenon that varies across the environmental elements and the activities of the athletic department.
This paper explores how young girls develop trust in their equine partners for the purposes of competitive equestrian sport. I argue that interspecies trust manifests through interactional trust and system trust. Interactional trust, as reflected in the horse-human relationship, is built through joint action and results in symbolic interaction. System trust is made possible through the equine community; it develops through communication in an effort to reduce complexity and uncertainty in society. To encourage and sustain youth participation in competitive equestrian sports both interactional trust and system trust are necessary.
Audrey R. Giles
Using data collected from 4 months of ethnographic research that was conducted during the summer of 2002, this article examines the complexity inherent in anthropological investigations of “tradition,” and also the multiplicity of ways that traditions are looked at by residents of Sambaa K’e and Dene Games organizers in the Northwest Territories. By exploring different interpretations of traditional Dene Games, the role of women in such games, and the ideological positions that have contributed to these interpretations, the ways in whichß certain understandings of tradition are privileged over others are elucidated.
Natalie Barker-Ruchti and Richard Tinning
Women’s artistic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that involves intricate acrobatic and rhythmic activities. This kinesthetic proficiency demands muscular strength and courage, which have been argued to serve its athletes as a source of empowerment.
Various scholars question the positive effects of sport participation. This article builds on these doubts through a feminist Foucauldian study of WAG. An essayistic research story, compiled from data gained in an ethnographic study, serves as the basis for our analyses. The results demonstrate the complexity of WAG experiences and illustrate that gymnasts’ athletic proficiency is only possible through an extensive and elaborate process of corporeal discipline.
Steven J. Jackson
This paper contributes to the recent debates concerning sport and the “Americanization” of culture with specific reference to Canada. The analysis focuses on the media’s role in articulating specific political, economic, and cultural events in order to construct a crisis of Canadian identity. In particular, this study examines how the 1988 marriage and trade of ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky were articulated within a discourse of crisis and specifically linked to an alleged threat of “Americanization.” It is asserted that a comprehensive understanding of Americanization must address its complexity beyond a simple case of cultural imperialism and should consider such issues as appropriation and strategic use to serve particular political interests.
Brad Millington and Brian Wilson
In this paper we argue that sport media research would be enhanced by: (a) engagement with the audience research tradition, including “third generation” audience studies that emphasize relationships between viewer interpretations of media and everyday social practices; and (b) the adoption of multimethod research approaches that are sensitive to contradictions and complexities that exist in media consumption. To support this argument, we reflect on the benefits of a multimethod research design used in a recent audience study conducted by the authors on youth interpretations of media and performances of masculinity in physical education (Millington & Wilson, in press). These benefits include: enriching researcher understandings of social/cultural contexts; illuminating social hierarchies; and revealing lived contradictions. We conclude with reflections on epistemological issues and suggestions for future audience projects.
This study of a schoolgirl Australian Rules football team uses life-history research to provide unusual insights into the gendered embodiment of female footballers. Focusing on the familial relations of players, the article looks at sport in the wider context of gender, showing complexities often overlooked. While documenting different patterns of female embodiment, the study examines whether the provision of full-contact sports is “schooling the bodies” of these young women in alternative forms of embodiment to those described by Young (1998) in “Throwing Like a Girl.” Specifically, this article addresses why the girls play football, whether they are consciously resisting male domination, whether playing football teaches them a different gendered embodiment, and how the girls deal with gender contradictions that arise from playing football.
Chin-Ju Huang and Ian Brittain
The purpose of this study was to explore the multiplicity and complexity of identity construction for elite disabled athletes within the arena of disability sport. This involved in-depth semistructured interviews that explored the experiences of 21 British and Taiwanese elite disabled athletes from the sports of powerlifting and track and field. The results indicate that both societal perceptions based in the medical model of disability and the participants’ impaired bodies play a key role in their identity formation and sense of self-worth. The study also highlights the role that success in international disability sport can have by offering potential for positive subjectivity, a changed self-understanding, and an increased sense of personal empowerment. Finally, the notion of multiple identities also appears to be supported by the research participants’ narratives.
Alternative sports have been situated within backlash politics whereby subcultural or marginal representations illustrate a victimized white male. While this may be true of some sports, skateboard media fosters a sustained critique of “whiteness.” To understand the representation of white resistance in skateboarding, we must locate the sport within the larger historical context of white male rebellion found in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) and Norman Mailer’s White Negro (1957). Similar to these countercultural narratives, skateboard media represents a tension between a death of whiteness (symbolized by co-opting “blackness”) and its inevitable rebirth (through prolific marketing of white skaters). Unlike the Beats, however, the dialectics of white resistance appear in skateboard media through advertisements that are often underscored by parody, which produces its own set of complexities.