Hughson+and+Free+2006+Sport+as+A+Cultural+Comodoity -...

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72 Hughson is Senior Lecturer in the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; Free is Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. Sociology of Sport Journal, 2006, 23 , 72-85 © 2006 Human Kinetics, Inc. Paul Willis, Cultural Commodities, and Collective Sport Fandom John Hughson University of Otago Marcus Free Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick In sociology of sport, a considerable amount of scholarship concentrates on sport as an arena of social resistance. Fundamental to understanding resistance within practices of sport following and fandom is an underlying knowledge of the nature of sport as a cultural commodity in which fandom and following are invested. This article draws on Paul Willis ʼ s theoretical work as a means of examining contem- porary cultural commodities and the commodity nature of sport in particular. The theoretical discussion is illustrated by an empirical study of developments within English soccer involving collective supporters ʼ resistance to heightened corporate intrusion into the control of professional clubs. En sociologie du sport, une quantité importante d ʼ écrits ont porté sur le sport en tant qu ʼ espace de résistance sociale. Pour comprendre la résistance au sein des pratiques des fans du sport, il est fondamental de connaître la nature du sport en tant que marchandise dans laquelle ces derniers s ʼ investissent. Cet article emprunte aux écrits théoriques de Paul Willis pour mieux examiner les marchandises culturel- les contemporaines et la nature marchande du sport en particulier. La discussion théorique est illustrée par une étude empirique des développements du soccer anglais et de la résistance collective des fans à l ʼ intrusion des grandes entreprises dans le contrôle des clubs professionnels. This article explores how Paul Willis ʼ s theoretical perspective on cultural com- modities might be applied to sport and the communal relations formed through its collective consumption as popular culture. We argue that Willis ʼ s (2000) account of the “de-fetishised commodity” advances a promising theoretical means for explaining how popular cultural forms are reclaimed and resigni f ed in communal usage, sometimes defying the interests of corporate producers and marketers. The article principally aims to show that sport provides an interesting example of a defetishized commodity with deep communal signi f cance and attachment. We 04Hughson(72).indd 72 04Hughson(72).indd 72 3/2/06 12:31:05 PM 3/2/06 12:31:05 PM
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Paul Willis and Sport Fandom 73 begin by explicating Willis ʼ s conceptual frame, proceed to examine the case of sport as a special instance of the cultural commodity, and explore how its collec- tive consumption by supporters might enable resistance to the economic control and governance of sport via a discussion of supporters ʼ movements within English soccer. Cultural Consumption
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