SPORT & CULTURAL DISTINCTIVENESS SYMPOSIUM

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, MAY 28-30, 1999

Schedule [as of 17 May 1999]

Supported with a grant from the Iowa Arts & Humanities Initiative [with co-sponsorship from the University Lecture Committee, UI Center for Asian & Pacific Studies, UI International Programs and UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Faculty organizers: Stephen Wieting and Judy Polumbaum
Student coordinators: Martine Kintziger and Micaela Schuneman
Grant manager: Phyllis Rosenwinkel
Audio master: Ralph Beliveau
Web maestro: Karla Tonella
About the Participants


THURSDAY, MAY 27

8-9 pm, pre-conference event at Prairie Lights Bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St.

"Live from Prairie Lights" with Murray Sperber reading from Onward to Victory: The Crises that Shaped College Sports (1998)


FRIDAY, MAY 28

Daytime sessions at W401 Pappajohn Business Building

8-8:40 Registration and coffee
8:45-9 Introductions and acknowledgments


 

9-9:25 Audio-visual presentation: "Gentleman athlete: Joe DiMaggio and the celebration and submergence of ethnicity"

topMichael Altimore, Sociology, Mount Mercy College

Joe DiMaggio has been revered, and lately remembered, as an Italian-American hero, albeit one whose achievements differed sharply from other famous Italian-Americans such as "Lucky" Luciano, Al Capone and even Frank Sinatra. In many ways, though, DiMaggio was not very Italian at all. One need only mention his regal bearing, the ubiquity of the description "classy" applied to this high school drop-out, and his difficult, if not tragic, personal life to appreciate the irony of DiMaggio being cast as the representative of a group better known for its earthiness, family-centered gregariousness and warm embrace of illegality as a way of life. This presentation will use Joe DiMaggio's fascinating public persona as a focal point in exploring the intriguing relationship between sport and ethnicity in US popular culture.

9:30-11:00 Session I

Chair & commentator: John Erickson, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Iowa

"Girls in the Dugout: Gender, Law and Baseball"

topSarah Fields, American Studies, University of Iowa

In 1972, the U.S. Congress enacted Title IX of the Educational Amendments prohibiting gender discrimination in educational settings. Title IX, to go into effect in 1978, would result in a huge surge in female participation in sport. One sport to which girls sought access was the national game of baseball. The Little League charter as originally worded limited the youth game to boys. Even before Title IX came into full force, girls sued for the right to play, relying on the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and other constitutionally derived remedies like the Civil Rights Acts. Although some of these suits were successful, other claims were rejected, usually because the regulations enforcing Title IX excluded "contact sports" and courts held that baseball was a contact sport.

This paper analyzes the rhetoric of the legal decisions involving the attempts of girls to play baseball. It argues that some courts went to unusually creative lengths to exclude girls largely because of baseball’s great cultural significance, fearing that girls’ entry into the dugout would ruin the game for male America.

"The Black and Gold: African Americans and athletics at the University of Iowa"

topDavid McMahon, History, University of Iowa

Since the days of Kinney Holbrook, a football and track star in the late nineteenth century, blacks have competed in sports at the University of Iowa in growing numbers. During the era of Jim Crow, Iowa gained a reputation as a haven for black male athletes as such stars as Archie Alexander, Fred "Duke" Slater, and Ozzie Simmons excelled on the football field and encouraged others, like Emlen Tunnell to follow in their footsteps after World War II. Yet, like other northern schools, Iowa accepted only the superstar athlete in the early days. The mediocre black athlete, unlike the mediocre white athlete, was unwelcome and rare. And, like other campuses elsewhere, blacks who played sports at Iowa experienced insensitivity on the part of the university community and enjoyed fewer opportunities for social and cultural interaction compared with their white counterparts. While some sports were open to black participation in the early days, the opportunities for female athletes were, for the most part, nonexistent. Much has changed, however, in recent years although many problems remain. The purpose of my paper then, is to examine the problematic nature of this aspect of sport history at the University of Iowa by a careful review of the relevant sports literature. It will be shown that while black athletic achievements have been an important part of our collective memory of sports in Iowa, there has been some amnesia and not a little bit of nostalgia on the part of Iowans when it comes to the question of race. There are many positives to emphasize in this history, but what's needed now is a more critical and sober analysis.

"The good, the bad and the beautiful: Women's representations of women in sports prose"

topTeri Bostian, English, Grinnell College

More books about women in sports are being published and sold than ever before. In these books, women athletes are represented, or represent themselves, in a number of contradictory ways. Whether the sub-genre is the star-athlete biography, the narrative ethnography or the literary memoir, women athletes are often portrayed explicitly as representations of the best and the most enlightened in women's sports. Under that surface confidence, however, is the implicit and often unintentional message that despite considerable advances in athletics, women athletes continue to cling to stereotypes that have traditionally defined them.

The purposeful presentation by women writers of what author Joli Sandoz calls "strong and heroic sportswomen" is thought to provide positive reinforcement for women in sports and also to promote ideas about a matriarchal model of sports. From this perspective, women athletes are represented as being skilled, disciplined, shrewd and ambitious competitors in their sports, willing to do what it takes in terms of grueling physical training to be among the best.

Yet women athletes in their own literature are often characterized as being preternaturally obsessed with their appearance, as painfully indecisive yet also wantonly impulsive, and as unnecessarily antagonistic with teammates to the extent that a healthy competitive atmosphere becomes impossible. In other words, the athletes in women's sports literature are represented on the surface as exemplars of elite athletic achievement, but at the same time they are also portrayed as still terribly driven by the gender roles they want so desperately to surmount.

This paper examines several sub-genre in sports literature as examples for this inquiry, and discusses implications of these particular representations, including their uses and gratifications for readers.

"Forcing the fairytale: Narrative strategies in women's figure skating competition coverage"

topBettina Fabos, Education, University of Iowa

The 1992 Winter Olympics is a particularly interesting turning point in Olympic coverage, marking the first time a TV network fully realized the blockbuster potential of the games. Women’s figure skating coverage, highlighted as the most important Winter Olympic sport, played an especially large part in CBS’ ratings success in 1992. Drawing upon narrative theories, this paper analyzes CBS coverage of that event and illustrates how the network employed narrative storytelling conventions to effectively turn the figure skating competition into a melodrama.

Although viewers might have been somewhat satisfied with the inherent suspense of an unedited skating competition, CBS went beyond the figure skating competition narrative itself, and beyond the narrative strategies of previous Olympic broadcasts, by supplying viewers with a series of underlying and overlapping narratives that all worked to fill lag time, stimulate character sympathies, reinforce already prescribed social myths, and reinterpret the event through easy binary oppositions. Because figure skating is one of sports' few events (the other being gymnastics) where the winner is not determined by the hundredth point margin on a digitized clock but by judges determining a performances' technical and artistic strengths, the skating event calls for subjectivity. In subjectively taking the familiar fairy tale -- a packaging technique that has been employed for women’s skating since the late 1970s -- farther than any network coverage before, CBS painted the skaters as princesses in waiting whose potential successes were not athletic feats but "dreams come true." As princesses, the skaters’ conventional beauty, pertness and fragility were heightened in the sports coverage.

The fairy tale narrative proved limiting, however, as CBS problematically embraced those skaters who most perfectly fit the princess ideal of the Northern European-inspired fairy tale (bronze medalist Nancy Kerrigan) instead of the obviously more talented and non-European skaters (gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi). Additionally, because male figure skaters fight a stigma of being homosexual, CBS strategically tried to avoid these skaters in their character portrayals, and instead created princes (necessary counterparts to the women figure skating princesses) out of hockey players. While the focus of this paper is the 1992 Olympics as a turning point in Olympic narrative strategy, the paper also discusses more recent developments in media coverage of women’s figure skating.

11:15-12:45 Session II

Chair & commentator: Stephen Wieting, Sociology, University of Iowa

"Born with skis on our feet: National identity, sports and media in Norway"

topRoel Puijk, Communication, Lillehammer College

The connection between skiing and Norwegian national culture in the period before Norway gained its independence in 1905 is generally acknowledged. Today skiing is considered the national sport in Norway and an important part of Norwegian self-conception. This paper focuses on how this skiing ideology has been maintained. Norway’s hosting of the 17th Winter Olympics was an important occasion to reaffirm the nation's claim of being the cradle of skiing. Using data from the torch relay in Norway preceding the Winter Games in Lillehammer, I show how different communities used this event not only to (re-)establish themselves in relation to the cradle of skiing myths, but also in other ways to define their place within the nation. While the torch relay was, mainly, a series of local events, reintegrating these communities in the late modern nation, the Olympics that followed integrated the whole nation vis-à-vis the rest of the world. In this respect, the role of television in creating a major media event was essential.

"Whose game is it?: Transformations in gender, ice hockey and Canadian identity"

topNancy Theberge, Kinesiology, University of Waterloo

Ice hockey is often celebrated as an aspect of popular culture that unites Canadians in a particularly powerful way. Literary references celebrate the sport as the "Canadian specific," "our common passion," the language that pervades Canada" and "the game of our lives." These depictions, which suggest a sense of common ownership and identification, mask the deeply gendered character of the sport and its place in Canadian society. From its origins in the late 19th century, hockey emerged as one of the key signifiers of masculinity in Canadian life. The sport embodies a particular version of masculinity--cold, rugged and hard--and has been dominated by boys and men.

The historical association of gender, sport and Canadian identity that has been at the base of Canadian attachment to hockey is currently being challenged in several ways. One of these is the threat to Canadians’ sense of ownership of the sport which is posed by the twin processes of continentalization and globalization. These processes are evident in the relocation of Canadian-based franchises to US cities, the ongoing threat of the loss of additional franchises, the declining proportion of Canadian-born players in the National Hockey League and the recent disappointing performances of Canadian teams in international men’s hockey. These developments have generated discussion and debate about the state of hockey in Canada and what, if anything, can and should be done to "reclaim" the sport for Canada and Canadians.

At the same time that the notion of hockey as "Canada’s game" is being questioned within men’s hockey, developments in women’s hockey have challenged the meaning of the sport in Canadian culture in another way. In contrast to the apparent threats to Canadian supremacy in men’s hockey, Canadian women have been extremely successful in international competition and women’s hockey is seeing impressive development in numbers of participants and quality of play. While men’s hockey still dominates the landscape of Canadian sport, the development of women’s hockey challenges the historical construction of hockey as a masculine preserve in some important ways, including through practices which contrast with the aggressive physicality of the men’s game. The juxtaposition of a sense of loss of Canadian ownership of hockey with challenges to the association of hockey and masculinity make the present an important moment in the evolution of the relationship between sport and national identity in Canada.

"The whole world isn't watching (but we thought they were): The Super Bowl and American solipsism"

topChris Martin, Communication, University of Northern Iowa, & Jimmie Reeves, Mass Communication, Texas Tech University

This paper focuses on international dimensions of the Super Bowl–specifically, how this supremely American event is marketed to Americans by the National Football League and the mainstream national news media as an international event. Worldwide audiences of nearly 1 billion are routinely announced in the pre- and post-game hype, and actively promoted during the broadcast. But do these viewers really exist? If so, who are they? And how do they interpret this "super" event? The paper also reviews the origins of the Super Bowl, especially how the event has evolved from a Cold War mythic spectacle to a televised carnival, with multiple--but still American-centric--narratives.

"Claiming Everest: National identity and ideology at 29,000 feet"

topSusan Birrell, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Iowa

As the highest point on the globe, Mt Everest occupies a lofty position not just topographically but also culturally and symbolically. Because of its high international profile, Everest’s recognition value is inestimable to those who would exploit both the mountain and the narratives accompanying it.

When eight climbers died on Everest during the 1996 season, a much-noted fact was that individuals had paid up to $65,000 to be guided to the summit, and public awareness of Everest as a commodity grew. Often overlooked, however, and perhaps more interesting than the sale of the summit experience, is the subtle use of Everest as a site for the production of narratives. These tales of drama and heroism serve as master narratives that do the ideological work of consolidating particular privileges organized around notions of gender, race, ethnicity, class and nationalism.

This study explores how Everest figures in discourses on nationalism by examining two prominent incidents: the 1953 "conquest of Everest" and the events of May 1996. Narrative analysis of popular accounts reveals themes of ownership and proper use of a site clearly seen as supra-national. This is obvious in the 1953 climb, consummated as it was on the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and framed by the Anglo press as a harbinger of a new British empire. But it is also the primary issue played out in accounts of the 1996 climb, although in far subtler form. In both cases, the climbing and claiming of Everest serve ideological and imperialist interests.

12:45-2:00 Lunch break

2:15-2:55 Audio-visual presentation "Nike’s commercial solution"

"Steve Prefontaine: From Rebel with a Cause to Bourgeois Hero"

topTheresa Walton, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Iowa

Prefontaine, a world class runner from Oregon who died in a 1975 car crash, was popular in the mass media in the 1970s when he was running his best. The 1990s have brought a resurgence of interest in him, with media attention including a documentary, two feature films and many magazine and newspaper articles. This presentation, from the perspective of critical cultural studies, explores the changing cultural constructions of Prefontaine, exploring the multiple meanings of media representations of his life and career, how these reflect their times and have changed over time, and whose interests are privileged in the ways "truths" about the runner are revealed. The objective is to understand the cultural and historical locations in which his stories are couched and to identify ideological subtexts and the power relations they sustain. Specifically, the study focuses on Nike's role in creating Prefontaine's media resurgence, moving him from working-class rebel of the 1970s to "Pre" the bourgeois hero of the 1990s. This new image, it is argued, works to further the ideology of the professionalization of track and field as well as the myth of the American dream, helping to create and support a special interest running community of consumers of Nike products.

"Girls, Sneakers and Salvation"

topShelley Lucas, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Iowa

This presentation focuses on three Nike commercials in which the company situates itself as an active participant in current cultural conversations about girls' and women's participation in sports. Through these commercials, built around the slogans "If you let me play," "There's a girl being born in America" and "The fun police," Nike positions itself as a solution to help ease our collective conscience about the appropriateness and importance of sport in girls lives.

At first glance, these spots might seem to support girls' empowerment through sports. However, close textual analysis informed by feminist cultural studies reveals a much more ambiguous picture. This analysis discerns contradictory messages concerning race, sexuality, gender, femininity and class within a framework for discourse that actually constrains girls and removes their agency. Finally, the analysis discusses how these commercials reflect the cultural currency of Nike within sports and, more generally, that of both Nike and sport in the broader culture.

top3-5 p.m. Session III

Chair & commentator: Judy Polumbaum, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Iowa

"Playing to live or living to play? Functions and fundamentals of Iowa sports"

James Kramer, Des Moines Register summer sports intern

A native of Iowa, lifelong Iowa sports fan, journalist and sometimes critic reflects on his state’s obsession with athletics and, more broadly, America’s fixations with sport.

"Negotiating cultures: How some of the best sports journalists do some of their best work"

topJill Agostino, sports editor, The New York Times

This presentation by a sports editor focuses on the ingredients of good cross-cultural reporting, using examples of international sports reports by three experienced New York Times journalists, along with background provided by the writers. The exemplary will be contrasted with common failings in US sports reporting, some having to do with time, space, competition and other pressures of news production, others related to cultural assumptions and social attitudes such as gender and racial stereotypes and ethnocentrism.

"Two sports worlds: (1) America and (2) everyone else"

topIan Thomsen, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

The Europeans, Asians, Africans and Australians share basically the same perspective on the highest levels of sport–namely, that it is serious political theater. We in America tend to view professional sports in much the same way we view the movie industry, as a commercial enterprise whose purpose is to provide entertainment at a profit. Rarely the twain shall meet.

7:30-9:30 PM KEYNOTE ADDRESS 101 Becker Communication Studies Bldg.

[co-sponsored by University Lecture Committee]

"The myths of big-time college sports"

Murray Sperber, English and American Studies, Indiana University

topEmcee: Jim Harris, Prairie Lights Bookstore

Response: Michael Katovich, Sociology, Texas Christian University


SATURDAY, MAY 29 Daytime sessions at W401 Pappajohn Business Building

8:45-9 Coffee and announcements

9-9:25 Audio-visual presentation "Tobacco, health and the sports metaphor"

topChristopher Squier, Dentistry, University of Iowa, with Micaela Schuneman

The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people worldwide who die yearly from tobacco-related disease will rise from the current 3.5 million to 10 million by 2025. The mounting challenge the tobacco industry has faced since its products became widely available at the beginning of the 20th century is to successfully market merchandise that has such adverse effects on the user. An early approach in the mass advertising of tobacco was to couple products with metaphors for health, beauty, purity and freedom. Attractive and vigorous models, scenes of rustic beauty or vast landscapes and, of course, sports have been common features in tobacco promotions. The effort to inculcate positive images of the relationship between smoking and athletics has become a major strategy as the adverse health effects of tobacco become more widely known.

Increasingly, the tobacco industry has reinforced its link with sports through official sponsorships, lending brand names and large subsidies to tennis, golf, motor racing and other events. As nations increasingly restrict advertising of tobacco products in the mass media and on billboards, this approach keeps brand names and logos in front of the public and provides a powerful vehicle for introducing new products into the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and China.

This presentation will illustrate some of the imagery of sport in the marketing of tobacco and examine its impact on tobacco use, health and sport itself.

9:30-11:00 Session IV

Chair & commentator: John Njue, Education, University of Iowa

"Of place and men, and women: Topophilia and gender in the ‘Haxey Hood’"

topCatriona Parratt, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Iowa

This paper examines the "Haxey Hood," a 'traditional' mass football game which documentary evidence indicates has been played in the village of Haxey in the English county of Lincolnshire since 1815. Local lore and the custom's chroniclers insist that the game has a much deeper history, dating back to at least the middle ages and possibly to pre-Roman Britain.

Historians are likely to ask: What are this game’s origins, and how is its persistence into the late twentieth century to be explained? Intrigued as I am by these issues, my central concern is with meanings and, specifically, with what the Hood has to say about the people and place of Haxey and their connections with the game and each other. It is helpful in this regard to understand the Hood as a narrative, or rather, a set of narratives. These comprise the game itself, the rituals and practices that precede and surround it, the histories and stories written and told about it, and the Lady de Mowbray legend that locates its origins in medieval land tenure customs. Each of these helps to constitute Haxey as a distinctive place and Haxonians as a distinctive people, to produce a sense of community and attachment within and across generations, even across centuries, and to evoke feelings of belonging to the land and locale.

Along with the expression of place and belonging, the game also speaks of diversities, including those between women and men. The Hood bears clear notions of gender relations and identities and, in an especially powerful way, of masculinity. In the games and the narratives that construct it, women and men play distinct roles and gender differences are the hallmarks of the relationships between them, and between them and the game. I also trace these themes through the Hood narratives and indicate how they construct a certain, distinctive sense of the place and people of Haxey.

The Haxey Hood is very much an expression of local and regional identity, an identity that Anthony Giddens suggests is part of the response to the process of globalization that is currently affecting political, economic, and cultural institutions. In a decade in which the United States has transported cultural products (or attempted to do so) such as the NBA and gridiron football to other continents and soccer purports to be the "world" game, the Haxey Hood illuminates the complexity of globalization–its contradictory and oppositional impulses, the powerful, countervailing pull of localism that it inspires.

top"Tutsi-as-Rwanda: ‘Imaginative sports’ and ‘mythico-athletes’"

John Bale, Keele University

The title of this paper draws on key terms from the work of Edward Said and Liisa Malkki. The former's notion of "imaginative geographies" and the latter's concept of "mythico-histories" combine to frame an exploration of the way in which the corporeality and athleticism of the Tutsi were represented in colonial discourse. During the first half of the twentieth century the Tutsi, though making up only about 15% of Rwanda's population, were stereotyped as natural national leaders. Contributing to this mythico-history was the construction of imaginative sports geographies. By focusing on the colonial rhetoric surrounding a Rwandan form of 'high jumping' it is possible to show how this form of body culture came to represent the Tutsi-as-Rwanda. The excavation of written and photographic texts reveal a number of ways in which this form of athleticism typologized the Tutsi as a nation. It was represented as their "national sport;" they were encouraged to send a "national team" to the Olympics. In short, rhetorical and visual modes of idealization and appropriation constructed idealized Olympians and imaginative sports geographies.

top"In the national interest: Expansion of Chinese women's sports as wartime policy"

Gao Yunxiang, History, University of Iowa

In modern Chinese history, different interest groups have tried to shape the body of Chinese women according to their various goals for reforming China. This paper argues that policies regarding sports and physical education for women in China adopted after the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria led to crucial change in cultural constructions of womanhood. In particular, the Nationalist government, in its efforts to direct control over women's physical cultivation, helped legitimize ideas and practices of women's sports and physical education. In unintended ways, government policies fostered women's physical liberation and social emancipation and helped fashion new ideals linking beauty to the active, strong and healthy body.

top"The clash of body cultures in China: Imagining the nation through martial arts and Olympic sports"

Susan Brownell, Anthropology, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Western sports, introduced into China beginning in the late 19th century, were rapidly incorporated into programs for national reform and modernization. At the same time, there were competing efforts to incorporate the indigenous martial arts into modernization programs. The history of sports in China is an important realm for looking at issues of tradition vs. modernity, East vs. West, Chinese vs. foreign, and so on, as they have played out over the last century. This paper compares the histories of the martial arts and Olympic sports over the last century, with a focus on the question: Why have the martial arts increasingly become a source of national pride in the 1990s, whereas the effort to incorporate martial arts into nationalist programs earlier in the century was largely unsuccessful because they were a symbol of national backwardness? Answers are found in the larger picture of China's position in the world, and the changing nature of Chinese nationalism and transnational culture in the 1990s.

11:15-12:45 Session V

Chair & commentator: Susan Birrell, Sports and Leisure Studies, University of Iowa

top"Meaning and joy in Latin American sports"

Joseph Arbena, History & Latin American studies, Clemson University

Drawing on recent scholarship, this essay discusses the adoption of modern sports in several Latin American settings and their evolving cultural meaning. Examples include soccer in Argentina, baseball in Cuba, baseball along the United States-Mexican border and cricket in the West Indies. Each of these sports, while unique in its specific historical and geographical setting, is ultimately part of a grander scheme: All demonstrate both variations in the long-term spread of modern Western sports and varying aspects of the reverse linkage of local sports back into the international community.

top"Cricket and calypso: Cultural representation and social history in the West Indies"

Douglas Midgett, Anthropology, University of Iowa

Two of the defining performance events in the (former) British Caribbean are cricket matches and calypso renditions. The West Indies cricket team has been the premier side in world competitions for the past 40 years. Understandably, the fortunes of the team have been celebrated, and occasionally critically evaluated in calypso, the popular musical expression of Trinidad and the eastern Caribbean. This paper considers three calypsos composed about the cricket scene at various times (1950, 1965 and 1987), examining these as representations of sport, colonial, nationalist and global themes.

top"The internationalization of sports: The case of Iceland"

Gudmundur Magnusson, Economics, University of Iceland

This paper examines the development of three sports which are popular in Iceland--handball, soccer and chess--in terms of participation rates, professional playing and results. It discusses the effects of the fall of the Berlin wall on the regional sports market, focusing on the substantial impact on supply of and demand for professional players in Western Europe in these sports.

top"Heroes and villains of the Tour de France"

Stephen Wieting, Sociology, University of Iowa

Maurice Garin won the first Tour de France in 1903, Marco Pantini the most recent in 1998. That interval has seen 85 races held (with cancellations for war) and 53 individual victors. Participation, fan interest and success have been heavily French and by continent almost exclusively European.

The Tour’s bounded population of occurrences and singular geographical locus present a useful analytical frame for investigating how particular sports emerge from and are sustained by national cultures. This paper investigates the unique cultural history of this event with special attention to the polar evaluations of villainous and heroic behavior. The second race and the latest yielded highly visible scandals, and the time between offers many, many instances of riders selected out for criticism for some violation, even as there has been great celebration of feats of individual winners.

A provocative element within the established bases for opprobrium and honor is the existence of two distinct and sometimes clashing normative frameworks for evaluation: one of the racers themselves and the other of the surrounding society. What makes this research of general interest to students of sport and culture is the frequent tension and even marked discontinuity between the encompassing cultural normative order and the more contained normative order of the approximately 160 athletes who participate in each Tour. With an eye to the whole history of the event, this study gives special attention is given the dynamics of the two vying normative orders in the races from 1986 (when Greg LeMond’s victory opened up the race to some North American interest) until 1998. Written and video reporting and commentary from both France and the United States are analyzed to ascertain rationales invoked, in terms of both racers’ perspective and the enveloping societal order as, in turn, censure and adulation become attached to persons and conduct.

12:45-2:00 Lunch break

2:15-3:15 Session VI

Chair & commentator: Mark Sidel, College of Law, University of Iowa

top"Nationalism and amusement in Korean sumo wrestling"

Soon Hee Whang, Sociology, Tsukuba University

Korean sumo wrestling was established as a professional sport in 1983, following a request from the Korean Sumo Wrestling Association. The Korean government from the outset endeavored to use the sport as an instrument for promoting nationalism. Thus, it can be said that the professionalization of sumo wrestling in Korea came about as a result of the convergence of interests of the sports association with that of the government.

The association’s means for promoting sumo have included emphasis on tradition and folklore; extension of material incentives to promising and premier wrestlers; encouragement of the participation of amateur wrestlers in the professional game; urging wider publicity through broadcast by government-owned TV; and encouragement, through personal networks, of the formation of more wrestling teams. Despite these relentless efforts, however, the popularity of sumo wrestling declined in the 1990s. The objectives of this paper are to analyze changes in Korean sumo culture in recent years; examine what is being done to restore Korean sumo traditions; and place the changes and continuities within the framework of the overall relationship between nationalism and amusement in Korean sports.

top"American hopes for Asian hoops: The case of China."

Judy Polumbaum, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Iowa

The National Basketball Association and International Management Group have trained their sights on Asia as the next frontier for sports marketing. U.S. players are playing in the IMG-managed Chinese professional men’s basketball league; one Chinese woman plays in the WNBA while several Chinese men have attracted attention from the NBA; a Chinese edition of the NBA magazine "Hoops" begins publication this year; and Michael Jordan’s retirement from basketball made front-page news in China. This paper considers the evolving game of Chinese basketball in terms of dynamics of China’s domestic political, economic and social development as well as in light of transnational commercial and cultural trends, examining the quixotic hybrid that is emerging from a process of integration into global sports empires.

top"Playing around the world"

Ray Kelly, basketball player

A member of the fraternity of globe-trotting U.S. basketball players talks about his experiences playing in the US, East Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.

top3:30-5 Session VII

Chair and commentator: Liz Pearce, International Programs, University of Iowa

"Soccer in the news: Chinese perspectives on the global game"

Huang Jianxiang, China Central Television

China’s most popular young soccer commentator, who inherited a family passion for soccer from a grandfather who studied in Britain, describes the landscape of Chinese sports journalism and the complexities and intrigues of Chinese soccer, the country’s first sport to go commercial in the 1990s.

top"A tale of two elections: politics, power and corruption in the governance of world football"

John Sugden, Sport and Leisure Cultures, University of Brighton

In June 1998, the Swiss "Sepp" Blatter succeeded Brazilian Joao Havelange as FIFA president. Havelange had been in charge of world football since 1974, when he dethroned the Old School Englishman, Sir Stanley Rous. For the first time, the top job in world football passed into non-European hands.

The election of Blatter could be interpreted as a reassertion of European authority. This paper argues that the opposite is the case. Drawing on materials bearing upon the 1974 and 1998 FIFA presidential elections, it shows how both Havelange and his protege Blatter skillfully exploited tensions in first world/third world international relations to secure personal power bases, to the detriment of European interests. The paper uses new, first-hand research--including in depth interviews, exclusive archive material and participant observation--to reveal the Machiavellian and Byzantine dimensions of FIFA politics. It concludes by reviewing the evidence surrounding claims that Blatter bribed his way to FIFA's summit.

"Staging the Olympics for national and international consumption"

Alan Tomlinson, Sport and Leisure Cultures, University of Brighton

In the wake of recent corroboration of the corruption that has characterized the practices of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic movement more generally, I review the nature of Olympic rhetoric and ideology that has underpinned the staging of the modern Olympic spectacle, and their relationship to the cultures of nations and regions.

Continuities in Olympic history are identified, with reference to the politics of the spectacle and the sociology of consumption. The 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta are given particular emphasis in terms of the local political economy that stimulated the city's bid, and the ideological themes central to the city's presentation of Olympic ritual and ceremony.