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In the Media: Susanna Dinnage: Premier League gets first female chief executive, but sport remains a man’s world


Susanna Dinnage: Premier League gets first female chief executive, but sport remains a man’s world

Dr. Beth Fielding-Lloyd

The Conversation

The sporting world was taken by surprise recently after a woman was named the new chief executive of the English Premier League. Susanna Dinnage, made her name in broadcasting rather than the world of football, but is now the most powerful woman in English professional sport. Click here for the full article.


 

November 2018

New Research: ‘More than just a game’: family and spectacle in marketing the England Women’s Super League


‘More than just a game’: family and spectacle in marketing the England Women’s Super League

Dr. Beth Fielding-Lloyd, Dr. Donna Woodhouse and Dr. Ruth Sequerra

Soccer & Society

Abstract

The Women’s Super League (WSL) is the first semi-professional women’s football league in England and the Football Association (FA) is central to reproducing its values and practices. This study employed observation at WSL matches and interviews with personnel involved in the League to identify how the FA conceptualised the WSL as a product in its first 3 years. The study found that the elite club game’s existing audience was alienated by the FA’s articulation of a heteronormative family target audience of young girls and their fathers. An overriding concern also appeared to be providing a commercialised matchday experience that goes beyond the game itself, situating the match at the periphery of broader entertainment. We argue that in positioning the WSL as a niche and new entertainment product, thereby eradicating the pre-WSL history of the elite club game, the FA has constructed women’s football as inherently distinct from, and inferior to, men’s football, negating any perceived threat to the wider gender order within the sport.


 

November 2018

New Research: From mood to movement: English nationalism, the European Union and taking back control


From mood to movement: English nationalism, the European Union and taking back control

Dr. Jack Black

Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research

Abstract

This article considers whether the 2016 EU referendum can be perceived as an English nationalist movement. Specifically, attention is given to examining how memories of the former British Empire were nostalgically enveloped in anxieties regarding England’s location within the devolved UK state. The comments and work of Enoch Powell and George Orwell are used to help explore the link between nostalgia and anxiety in accounts of English nationalism. Despite their opposing political orientations, when considered together, it is argued that both men provide a unique cross-political perspective on Englishness, empire and nostalgia. By way of exploring these themes in relation to the EU referendum, Aughey’s assertion that English nationalism can be perceived as both a “mood” and “movement” is used to highlight how a sense of English anxiety regarding its lack of national sovereignty (mood), as well as a desire to reclaim this sovereignty by renegotiating trade relations with the “Anglo-sphere” (movement), were conjoined in the popular referendum slogan, “take back control”. In conclusion, it is argued that the contextualization of the referendum can be predicated upon an orientation to empire that steers away from glorifying pro-imperial images of England/Britain, towards a more positive and progressive appropriation of the EU referendum as a statement of national change and belonging.


 

November 2018

New Research: Running away from the taskscape: ultramarathon as ‘dark ecology’


Running away from the taskscape: ultramarathon as ‘dark ecology’

Dr. Jim Cherrington, Dr. Jack Black and Dr. Nicholas Tiller

Annals of Leisure Research

Abstract

Drawing on reflections from a collaborative autoethnography, this article argues that ultramarathon running is defined by a ‘dark’ ecological sensibility, characterized by moments of pain, disgust, and the macabre. In contrast to existing accounts, we problematize the notion that runners ‘use’ nature for escape and/or competition, while questioning the aesthetic-causal relationships often evinced within these accounts. With specific reference to the discursive, embodied, spatial and temporal aspects of the sport, we explore the way in which participants begin to appreciate the immense power of nature, while being humbled by the fragile and unstable foundations of human experience. Accordingly this article contributes novel insights into the human-nature complex that seek to move beyond Romantic analyses towards a more sophisticated understanding of the relationships between (nature) sport, people and place.


 

November 2018

New Research: The subjective and objective violence of terrorism: analysing “British values” in newspaper coverage of the 2017 London Bridge attack


The subjective and objective violence of terrorism: analysing “British values” in newspaper coverage of the 2017 London Bridge attack

Dr. Jack Black

Critical Studies on Terrorism

Abstract

This article examines how Žižek’s analysis of “subjective” violence can be used to explore the ways in which media coverage of a terrorist attack is contoured and shaped by less noticeable forms of “objective” (symbolic and systemic) violence. Drawing upon newspaper coverage of the 2017 London Bridge attack, it is noted how examples of “subjective” violence were grounded in the externalisation of a clearly identifiable “other”, which symbolically framed the terrorists and the attack as tied to and representative of the UK Muslim community. Examples of “systematic” violence were most notable in the ideological edifice that underpinned this framing but also in the ways in which newspaper reports served to draw upon British values in the aftermath of the attack. This directed attention away from the contradictions within the UK, towards narratives that sought to “fix” these contradictions through eradicating the problem of “the other” and/or by violently protecting the British values “they” seek to undermine. As a consequence, newspaper coverage worked to uphold the illusion that “peace” could be achieved by eradicating terrorism through further forms of objective violence, including, internment without trial; the “ripping up” of human rights; and closer surveillance of Muslim communities. Indeed, it was this unacknowledged violence that worked to maintain British values in the press’ coverage.