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Bodies of Discourse

Sport Stars, Mass Media and the Global Public


Cornel Sandvoss, Michael Real and Alina Bernstein

Sports stars are omnipresent icons of popular culture. In the global age of celebrity, few public personae enjoy greater popularity and recognition than professional athletes. Yet, beyond their sporting achievements, athletes – from stars with near-global appeal such as Muhammad Ali or Tiger Woods to local and national sporting heroes – embody and reflect key political, social, and cultural discourses of our time. This anthology investigates sports stardom in its global context across the spectrum of spectator sport: from the quest of Japanese star athletes to exorcise the cultural demons of postwar Japan, to the Mexican pitcher celebrating victory in the first major league baseball game played on Mexican soil; from the naturalization of a Croatian footballer in Israel, to the marginalization of Scottish women curlers at the Winter Olympics.
Reflecting this focus, Bodies of Discourse conceptualizes the discourses surrounding sports stars as part of an increasingly transnational and fragmented public sphere and thus traces the economic, social, and cultural roles of these discourses, ranging from nationalism and racism to foreign affairs and sexual politics.
Contents: Cornel Sandvoss/Michael Real/Alina Bernstein/Diana Beeson: Introduction: The Politics of Transnational Sports Stardom – Todd Joseph Miles Holden: Media Made: The Reinvention of Athletes as Heroes, Stars, and Celebrities in Contemporary Japan – Hugh O’Donnell: Scotland the We(e)?: A Small Country in a Large World at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics – John Harris: A New Prince of Wales? Long Live the King! – Alina Bernstein: «One of Us»: Construction and Israelification of a Soccer Star – Sam Ford: Mick Foley: Pro Wrestling and the Contradictions of a Contemporary American Hero – Mark D. Alleyne: Being «Like Mike» - The Utility of Black Sports Stars in American Racial Discourse – Nancy E. Spencer: Foot Fault! Interrogating Social Networking Coverage of Serena’s ‘Outburst’ at the 2009 U.S. Open – Michael Real/Diana Beeson: Globalization and Diversity in American Sports: The Meaning Behind «Fernandomania» – Lothar Mikos: National Heroes on the Global Stage: The 2002 Olympic Games and Football World Cup – Cornel Sandvoss: From National Hero to Liquid Star: Identity and Discourse in Transnational Sports Consumption.