Consuming football celebrity : The global culture industry, interactive media and resistance.

LEFLAY, Kathryn. (2015). Consuming football celebrity : The global culture industry, interactive media and resistance. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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This thesis aimed to develop a new framework for exploring football celebrity. Drawing upon and developing Lash and Lury's (2007) model of the global culture industry, it critically explored the extent to which football celebrity can be conceptualized as a commodity image that circulates free from the human being on which it is based (Potolsky, 2006). A commonality and key weakness of studies in the area of sport celebrity is that despite evidence to the contrary, they continue to treat 'celebrity' as a human being with higher status, rather than the commercial entity that it is (Cashmore, 2002). Through the analysis of football celebrity representation and consumption, the study critically investigated the various ways in which the football celebrity commodity is drawn upon as a cultural resource. Amidst discussions about the democratisation of media and assumed levels of audience agency, it particularly interrogated how power is played out in increasingly complex ways in both online and off-line environments (Abercrombie and Longhurst, 1998).In order to account for the contingency and ambiguity of celebrity, the study used a novel methodological approach, dubbed by Lash and Lury (2007) as 'tracking the object'. Given that this method has not been used previously in the sociology of sport, its use is considered to be a unique contribution to literature. Specifically, this methodological and epistemological approach involved a detailed and critical media analysis of football celebrity in both grass roots and corporate media, including: tabloid and broadsheet newspapers; the documentary Being Liverpool; the social networking site Twitter and alternative fan sites; and Not Just a game and Kickette. In critical response to Beer's (2008) assertion that it is also important to consider the intersection of mediated engagement and its integration into the socio-scape, the researcher also conducted four focus groups in order to explore the ways that football celebrity is drawn upon to make sense of salient social issues and debates.In line with trends within the third generation of audience studies, the thesis aimed to investigate the place of football celebrity in everyday life. This focused specifically on the ways in which the audience drew upon football celebrity as a cultural resource and to what extent their consumption could be considered a form of resistance to dominant discourses of capitalism, gender, race and sexuality.It was argued that there were contradictions in both the representation and consumption of football celebrity. It is demonstrated that, characteristically, it is these contradictory elements that constitute an important aspect of the appeal of the football celebrity resource. It was evident that in the analysis of corporate media in particular, there were clear examples of audience labour as the audience were coopted to create content that could be used for various corporations to make a profit. The analysis of grassroots media did however highlight instances where the audience were clearly active and capable of creating potentially culturally resistant texts. It was suggested that future research should therefore seek to critically analyse texts produced by both grassroots and corporate media.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Blackshaw, Tony
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2015.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:23
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:17

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