Semiotics is employed in an examination of Michael Jordan (the signified) and his uniform number (the signifier). A systematic comparative framework is used to limit the potentially infinite multiplicity of interpretants. Its themes are the way Jordan expresses the modernity-postmodernity division and is, himself an aspect of this cultural characterization. Seven diacritical alternatives are considered: (a) secularism versus immanence; (b) bureaucratization versus decanonization; (c) equality versus diversity; (d) rationality versus intensities; (e) obsession with records versus spectacles; (f) quantification versus fragmentation; and, (g) specialization versus commodification. Treating Jordan as text, as postmodern athlete archetype, leads to a consideration of the commodification of his number, a process in which Jordan himself is transformed into a salable commodity.
Edward G. Armstrong
This paper examines the phenomenon of stacking in the sport of cricket. It is argued that cricket is a particularly revealing case study of “race” relations in Britain because of the diversity of “racial” groups that play it and the variety of national identities that are expressed through it. Data presented show that the two minority “racial” groups in British cricket are stacked in different positions; Asians as high-status batters, and Blacks as low-status bowlers (pitchers). The author uses the work of Norbert Elias to argue that stacking can best be explained, not in terms of positional centrality, but through a developmental analysis of cricket that focuses on historical class relations and Imperial relations in the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent.
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.
This article examines the proposals of a ministerial advisory panel that was set up in 2000 to examine the problems confronting soccer in Northern Ireland, not least of which is that the game has been perceived to be administered by and for Ulster unionists. It is argued that although the panel made the case for a more inclusive soccer culture, which would be welcome to Irish nationalists, this advice is at odds with the central message of the Good Friday Agreement, the cornerstone of the peace process. Far from promoting a centrist political culture, the Agreement has actually increased polarization. Reflecting on wider debates on cultural diversity, the article argues that it is difficult to convince sports administrators to accept responsibility for promoting social inclusion in a political context in which difference is celebrated and sectarianism institutionalized.
Barbara Ravel and Geneviéve Rail
Several studies on the experiences of nonheterosexual women in sport have highlighted the development of lesbian subcultures in sport, while others have emphasized the scarcity of athletic contexts embracing sexual diversity. This article explores the narratives of 14 young Francophone sportswomen positioning themselves as “gaie,” lesbian, bisexual, or refusing labels altogether. Using a feminist poststructuralist perspective, we examine their discursive constructions of sport and argue that the discourses articulated in sport allow for the creation of a space of resistance to heteronormativity. We suggest that the sport space is constructed as a “gaie” space within which a normalizing version of lesbian sexuality is proposed. We investigate how in/ex/clusion discourses are inscribed in space and how subjects are impacted by and, in turn, impact these discourses.
Jean Harvey, Alan Law and Michael Cantelon
This paper maps the current ownership patterns of North American major professional sports franchises in order to assess the extent to which they are interconnected with media/entertainment conglomerates. First, the 120 franchises are classified according to owner’s industrial sector. Second, five models of linkages between franchises and media/entertainment corporations are followed by case studies representative of each. The paper concludes that indeed empirical evidence supports the alleged increasing control of North American pro sport franchises by large media/entertainment conglomerates. However, the paper also demonstrates that the phenomenon involves much more diversity than the major conglomerates commonly identified in the current literature. Finally, the paper discusses the impacts of this trend on sport, as well as on fans.
There is strong evidence that older adults greatly benefit from regular physical activity. Yet, older age is consistently associated with lower levels of aerobic physical activity and strength training and higher levels of sedentary behavior, underscoring the need to better understand physical activity behavior in this population. Reviews of interventions to increase physical activity have overall yielded promising results. Interventions based on behavior theory appear to be more effective than non-theory-based interventions, yet strategies from these theories are underutilized in both research and practice. This paper discusses the importance of behavioral interventions, cites findings from the Active for Life initiative to illustrate several key concepts, and provides recommendations to address significant gaps in the literature, including the use of theory, mediation analyses, physical activity maintenance, diversity of participants, and dissemination and translational research.
Larena Hill and Lisa M. Kikulis
This research examines the dynamics of strategic decision making within the western Canadian university athletic system. Using a framework developed from the Bradford studies (Hickson, Butler, Cray, Mallory, & Wilson, 1986) and Butler (1991), we focused on three key elements of decision making; complexity, politically, and the rules of the game. Using these concepts, this paper presents a case study analysis of the decision process that centered around the potential restructuring of the Canada West University Athletic Association and the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Qualitative research methods were used to collect and analyze data from documents and interview transcripts. The results show that the diversity of interests, level of influence, and both the constraining and enabling rules of the game contribute to the way the decision topic of restructuring was interpreted, what behaviors were enacted, and how the decision making process emerged to deal with this topic.
Joe W. Burden Jr. and Glenn W. Lambie
As social and cultural diversity increases in the United States, coaches frequently interact with athletes from a wide range of backgrounds. Therefore, it would be useful if coaches had established guidelines for best practices to support their socially and ethically responsible work with athletes. However, coaching organizations have not published best practice standards specifically for coaches’ work with socially and culturally diverse athletes. This article proposes Sociocultural Competencies for Sport Coaches (SCSC) to support positive coach-athlete relationships. Specifically, the paper (a) reviews standards for social and cultural competencies used in similar professions, (b) introduces SCSC to the field of coaching education, and (c) presents competencies, standards, and benchmarks to guide the implementation of SCSC with diverse athletes.
Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel
In this study, the authors examined female competitive figure skaters’ experiences of weight pressure in sport. Perceptions of the ideal skating body; sources of weight pressure; ways that body image, weight-management behaviors, and athletic performance have been affected; and recommendations for improving body image were explored. Aligning with a social constructivist view (Creswell, 2014), data were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Skaters described the ideal skating body in an inflexible fashion with little room for deviation and acceptance of body diversity. Skaters cited their first weightpressure experience between 7 and 14 years of age, which most notably involved coaches, parents, skating partners, and other aspects of the skating culture. These experiences were characterized as promoting body-image concerns, unhealthy weight-management strategies, and interference with the psychological aspects of on-ice performance. Results from this study demonstrate the need to construct and maintain body-positive skating environments.