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Kenon A. Brown, Simon Ličen, Andrew C. Billings and Michael B. Devlin

Given Slovenia’s independence in 1991, examining the potential impact of Olympic media consumption on this young nation offers a unique opportunity for scholarly investigation. Prior examinations of Olympic telecasts in Slovenia have uncovered core elements of nationalized pride and focus (Ličen & Billings, 2013a), yet have not fully explored the potential effect of the mass viewership found within the Olympics. This study explores how social cognitive and social identification theories interact to influence consumption behaviors relating to international competition—in this case, the Olympics. For this study, 175 respondents were surveyed to examine the relationship among personal determinants defined by one’s national identity, Olympic fan involvement, and behaviors related to Olympic media consumption. Findings revealed that basic identification with Slovenia as a nation, and a need to defend Slovenia when faced with discouraging opinions, influenced one’s fan involvement with the Olympics, which in turn influenced digital and televisual media consumption.

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Grace Yan and Nicholas M. Watanabe

After the South Korean men’s soccer team beat its Japanese counterpart in the bronze-medal match at the 2012 London Olympics, South Korean player Park Jung-Woo celebrated with a banner that displayed Dokdo is our land. Dokdo is called the Liancourt Rocks in English, the sovereignty over which has been an ongoing point of contention between South Korea and Japan. This study conducts a critical discourse analysis to examine media representations of Park’s banner celebration, as well as the ensuing discussion in major Korean and Japanese newspapers. The analysis reveals a contrastive picture: The Korean media vocally approached Park’s behavior as an emotional response of self-righteous indignation and quickly enacted memories of Korea’s victimhood in World War II to make justifications, whereas the Japanese media participated in a relatively disengaged absence. Japan’s silence disclosed a glimpse into its rich postwar history of social conflict and political resistance. Such contrast is also indicative of how sport media can be engaged in nuanced social contexts, generating representations that serve nation-state regimes situated in different political dynamics.

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Mojca Doupona Topič and Jay Coakley

Sociology of sport knowledge on national identity is grounded in research that focuses primarily on long established nation-states with widely known histories. The relationship between sport and national identity in postsocialist/Soviet/colonial nations that have gained independence or sovereignty since 1990 has seldom been studied. This paper examines the role of sports in the formation of national identity in postsocialist Slovenia, a nation-state that gained independence in 1990. Our analysis focuses on the recent context in which the current but fluid relationship between sport and Slovenian national identity exists. Using Slovenia as a case study we identify seven factors that may moderate the effectiveness of sports as sites for establishing and maintaining national identity and making successful global identity claims in the twenty-first century. We conclude that these factors should be taken into account to more fully understand the sport-national identity relationship today, especially in new and developing nations.

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Adam B. Evans and David Piggott

The accession of the ‘A8 states’ into the European Union initiated considerable migration into Western Europe. The impact upon local communities has seen significant attention, yet little research exists that focuses upon migrant experiences and identity specifically in sport. This study used a figurational framework to investigate the lived experiences of basketball among male Lithuanian migrants in the rural east of England. Semistructured interviews highlighted participants’ motivations to migrate, their acculturation experiences and the role that basketball played during their sojourn. Participants considered basketball a significant means for the expression of national identity and as a focus for their resistance to local racializing processes. Conversely, conflict with established local basketball communities and perceptions of marginalization among migrants were common, creating divisions in local basketball competitions.

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Steven J. Jackson

This study maps the media discourses surrounding Ben Johnson’s life “in the fast lane” to further understand one particular aspect of a contemporary crisis of identity (or, more accurately, identities) in Canada. Specifically, this study provides: (a) a context within which to locate Johnson’s rise and fall from hero to scapegoat as articulated to the 1988 crisis of Canadian identity; (b) a chronology of the twist of race, or changing racial discourses which serve to define and redefine Ben Johnson’s racial and national identities; and (c) a discussion of the politics of identity in relation to multiculturalism and the representation of Ben Johnson as the “other” in Canada. The results reveal that Ben Johnson’s identity was the subject of a range of representations including those linked to racist stereotypes. Moreover, the results suggest that the discourses defining Ben Johnson are constituted by, and constitutive of, broader debates about identity in Canada.

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Kristi A. Allain

The paper argues that the Canadian media’s representations of National Hockey League (NHL) player Alexander Ovechkin work to locate Canadian national identity through its contrasts with the hockey superstar. Even though the press celebrates Ovechkin as a challenge to Cold War understandings of Soviet hockey players as lacking passion and heart as well as physical play, they also present Ovechkin as a ‘dirty’ hockey player who is wild and out of control. By assessing reports from two Canadian national newspapers, the Globe and Mail and the National Post, from 2009 to 2012, and comparing these documents to reports on two Cold War hockey contests, the 1972 Summit Series and the 1987 World Junior Hockey Championships, this article demonstrates how the Canadian media’s paradoxical representations of Ovechkin break with and rearticulate Cold War understandings of Russian/Soviet athletes. Furthermore, when the press characterizes Ovechkin and other Russian hockey players as wild, unpredictable and out-of-control, they produce Canadian players as polite, disciplined and well-mannered. Through these opposing representations, the media helps to locate Canadian national hockey identity within a frame of appropriate masculine expression.

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Benjamin H. Nam, Sangback Nam, Adam Love, Takuya Hayakawa, Rachael C. Marshall and Kyung Su Jung

the 1940 Olympics. As with previous Korean runners, Nam’s position on the team served an important symbolic role in promoting national identity, ethnic pride, and social cohesion for Koreans. In early August 1937, six runners on the Olympic team spent 10 days at a training camp in Ome near Tokyo

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John Harris and Mark Lyberger

The Ryder Cup is undoubtedly the biggest and most prestigious team competition in golf but has received little attention from scholars with an interest in sport communication. This commentary examines print- and electronic-media accounts of the 2006 event and looks at how the Ryder Cup is used to (re)present images of the U.S. nation. The analysis highlights how the defeat was positioned within a broader narrative of a supposed “crisis” in U.S. sport and was also linked to a discourse of larger cultural decline.