Between the Sporting Lines:
Reading Social Settings, Unpacking Media Discourses,
and Asking Telling Questions

Meghan Ferr...
Jump in with these questions
in mind…
Where and How are
we “doing” Sport?
Who’s Here? Who’s Missing?
What Stories Are Being Told?
Who are the Heroes and
Who are the Villains?
What are recurring conflicts
and controversies?
Who’s really winning?
Is this what they think? Or is
this what they do?
The more things change, the
more they stay the same?
Thank You & Good Luck!
Ferriter_panel_AskingQuestionsforSportinEurope_17Dec13
Ferriter_panel_AskingQuestionsforSportinEurope_17Dec13
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Ferriter_panel_AskingQuestionsforSportinEurope_17Dec13

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Between the Sporting Lines: Reading Social Settings, Unpacking Media Discourses, and Asking Telling Questions

Being observant and critically assessing situations to learn, adapt, and understand through sports talk and sports media.
“In order to fully and effectively “read”social and cultural action in a community, one must be educated in particular sets of public meanings” – Geertz

Where are people exposed to those public meanings? Very quickly observe and apply how, when, and why to talk about sport (and politics, and economics, and entertainment)

Jump in with these questions in mind
Listening, asking, and trying

When and How are we doing Sport?
Sport origins & organizations – often local before professional, historical before and even post-political framing
Where and how are we “doing” sport?
• local, amateur//
• regional/national
• professional

Who’s here? Who’s Missing?
Take time to learn about how the group defines itself by who is included and who is excluded (and if there are explicit reasons why)
• Who’s in and who’s out?
• Who is represented?
• Who is allowed in?
• Who is missing?

What stories are being told?
Collective or individual?
Nations, being “____” and histories?
Rivalries, Enemies, and Allies?
What is celebrated and what is forgotten?

Who are the Heroes and Who are the Villains?
What do heroes do and what do villains do?
Sport media in particular – like “comic books” or soap operas for men

What are recurring conflicts or controversies?
Match fixing, cheating, doping, purchase & transfer fees
Conflict in particular is an excellent place to understand deeper values in a group
Who’s really winning?
Exposing and critiquing economic, political, social power structures

Is this what they think? Or is this what they do?
Realtionships between fan behavior, and racism, sexism, and “humor”

Racism, Fan behavior, and the experience of sport
- coded terms for expressing threats against local/traditional identities (resistance)
- performance-oriented and not always LIVED identities (put it on for the stadium)
- VERY REAL effects for marginalized groups and targets of abuse
- the experience is equally socially-oriented – establishing and maintaining community ties, business relationships,
- increasingly tied to discourses surrounding immigration and perceived identity

The more things change, the more they stay the same?
Despite… technological advances, leagues, competitions, younger/faster/better
… Resilient relationships of power remain … demonstrated through relationships and hierarchies, as well as the kinds of stories told in media, in common spaces, that frame and orient daily life

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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Ferriter_panel_AskingQuestionsforSportinEurope_17Dec13

  1. 1. Between the Sporting Lines: Reading Social Settings, Unpacking Media Discourses, and Asking Telling Questions Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D. - FSI Panel: Sport in Western Europe - 17 December 2013
  2. 2. Jump in with these questions in mind…
  3. 3. Where and How are we “doing” Sport?
  4. 4. Who’s Here? Who’s Missing?
  5. 5. What Stories Are Being Told?
  6. 6. Who are the Heroes and Who are the Villains?
  7. 7. What are recurring conflicts and controversies?
  8. 8. Who’s really winning?
  9. 9. Is this what they think? Or is this what they do?
  10. 10. The more things change, the more they stay the same?
  11. 11. Thank You & Good Luck!

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