“I Didn’t Talk to Anybody”: An Ethnography of Basketball as a Communicative Act of Resilience

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, USA
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Combining the communication theory of resilience and ethnography of communication, this study explored resilience as developed through basketball and basketball culture. The central inquiry of the study focused on the communication processes of resilience enacted by members of basketball culture to develop resilience. Using ethnographic methods and a lens of communication, in-depth interviews with 12 professional basketball players and coaches were used to collect data regarding basketball culture and the participants’ own experiences of resilience. The data were analyzed using ethnography of communication to identify key elements of basketball culture. Furthermore, the data were analyzed with a framework of the communication processes of resilience: crafting normalcy, affirming identity anchors, maintaining communication networks, putting alternative logics to work, and backgrounding negative feelings while foregrounding productive action. Findings show that basketball culture limits discourse regarding adversity; therefore, basketball players and coaches used the act of participating in basketball as an adaptive response to communicatively develop resilience.

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