• Reflections on communication and sport: on mediatization and cultural analysis

      Whannel, Garry (Sage Journals, 2013)
      In this essay, Garry Whannel reflects on why research on media and sport has often been disdained by traditional academia and liberal intelligentsia. The first section argues that mediated sports are an important constituent part of popular culture, making its discourses worthy of scholarly study. The second section considers how early studies of mediated sport set in the tradition of British cultural studies opened the door to a inquiry that has grown in importance in both critical sport and media studies. The central section focuses on the complexities of “sport analysis, snobbery, and anti-intellectualism.” Considered here is the early and continued resistance to the study of media and sport and its derogatory stigmatization as a “Mickey Mouse” subject even in the face of excellent scholarship that has developed around the cultural and political analysis of sport. The article closes with suggestions for future work and ways to change narrative constructions of the field.
    • Television and the transformation of sport

      Whannel, Garry (Sage Journals, 2009)
      Sport played a significant part in the growth of television, especially during its emergence as a dominant global medium between 1960 and 1980. In turn, television, together with commercial sponsorship, transformed sport, bringing it significant new income and prompting changes in rules, presentation, and cultural form. Increasingly, from the 1970s, it was not the regular weekly sport that commanded the largest audiences but, rather, the occasional major events, such as the Olympic Games and football’s World Cup. In the past two decades, deregulation and digitalization have expanded the number of channels, but this fragmentation, combined with the growth of the Internet, has meant that the era in which shared domestic leisure was dominated by viewing of the major channels is closing. Yet, sport provides an exception, an instance when around the world millions share a live and unpredictable viewing experience.
    • Understanding the Olympics

      Horne, John; Whannel, Garry (Routledge, 2011)
      The Olympic Games is unquestionably the greatest sporting event on earth, with television audiences measured in billions of viewers. By what process did the Olympics evolve into this multi-national phenomenon? How can an understanding of the Olympic Games help us to better understand international sport and society? And what will be the true impact and legacy of the London Olympics in 2012? Understanding the Olympics answers all of these questions, and more, by exploring the full social, cultural, political, historical and economic context to the Olympic Games. It traces the history of the Olympic movement from its origins in ancient Greece, through its revival in the nineteenth century, to the modern mega-event of today.
    • Winning and losing respect: narratives of identity in sport films

      Whannel, Garry (Taylor and Francis, 2008)
      This essay examines sport films in terms of respect, identity and individualism. It suggests that a common narrative structure in films featuring sport based stories involves the winning, or sometimes losing, of respect. Success in narrative terms is not so much associated with sporting victory as in winning the respect of others. Through these narrative structures, issues of identity are explored. In particular, the narratives trace the ways in which characters respond to challenges by changing. In this sense these films are rooted in an ideology of competitive individualism which is a distinct product of capitalism as it developed in the United States of America. So while women, Jews, Afro-Americans and British Asian girls all find fulfilment through the narrative journey of these films, it tends to be within the terms of the competitive individualist ideology. Only where the concept of respect and its association with sport performance is challenged or questioned do sport films tend to raise more profound questions about the individual in society.