What does it mean when a hit that knocks an American football player unconscious is cheered by spectators? What are the consequences of such violence for the participants of this sport and for the entertainment culture in which it exists? This book brings together scholars and sport commentators to examine the relationship between American football, violence and the larger relations of power within contemporary society.
From high school and college to the NFL, Football, Culture, and Power analyses the social, political and cultural imprint of America’s national pastime. The NFL’s participation in and production of hegemonic masculinity, alongside its practices of racism, sexism, heterosexism and ableism, provokes us to think deeply about the historical and contemporary systems of violence we are invested in and entertained by.
This social scientific analysis of American football considers both the positive and negative power of the game, generating discussion and calling for accountability. It is fascinating reading for all students and scholars of sports studies with an interest in American football and the wider social impact of sport.
Table of Contents
Foreward (Marc Lamont Hill) Introduction: Football, Culture, and Power (Kimberly B. George and David J. Leonard) 1. Football, its Narratives, and Their Challenges (Russ Crawford) 2. Look Away: On the Racial, Sexual, and Cultural Politics of the NFL (C. Richard King) 3. Ballers without Blackness: The NFL's Suppression of Black Culture (Drew Brown) 4. Derelictum Ex Nihilo: Origins and Beginnings in The Blind Side (Jared Sexton) 5. God-Fans of the Gridiron: Madden, Fantasy, Football, and Simulation (Nicholas Ware) 6. 4th & G(l)o(b)al: Origins, Evolution & Implications of a Globalized NFL (Jorge E. Moraga) 7. Fabled Futures: Migration and Mobility for Samoans in American Football (Fa‘anofo Lisaclaire (Lisa) Uperesa) 8. Everybody’s All-Americans: High School Football and the U.S. Military (Michael Butterworth) 9. Gender, Violence, and Brain Injury In and Out of the NFL: What Counts As Harm? (Daniel R. Morrison and Monica J. Casper) 10. A societal mirror and a force for change: the NFL and its response to domestic violence (Jessica Luther) 11. In Dialogue: On Sports, Sports Activism, Sexual Freedom and Other Types of Liberation (Darnell L. Moore and Bennie Niles) 12. Michael Sam and the Sport of Queer Failure (Jeffrey McCune) 13. ‘U Mad Bro?’ NFL Player Use of Social Media in Contentious Conversation (Phillip Lamar Cunningham) 14. The NFL, Activism, and #BlackLivesMatter (Charles Modriano) 15. A Feminist Football Fan: On the Psychic Life of Spectatorship (Kimberly B. George)
David J. Leonard is a Professor at Washington State University, USA and author of After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness.
Kimberly B. George is a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego, USA. She is also a writing consultant and an entrepreneur of alternative forms of critical social theory based education.
Wade Davis is a former NFL player, educator, writer and public speaker on gender, race, and LGBT rights. He is an NFL diversity consultant, a former surrogate for President Obama, and the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Northeastern University, USA.
'This collection represents a topical and worthwhile contribution to the growing body of scholarship that probes American football’s cultural power and politics. Its coverage of such a broad range of topics—from able-ism to Black Lives Matter to social media to domestic violence—usefully demonstrate football’s enduring and multifaceted role as a framework through which to consider popular culture’s problems and potential.' - Travis Vogan, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa, USA
'David J. Leonard, Kimberly B. George, and Wade Davis have put together a timely and potent compendium of essays on football and the social, historical, political, and economic forces that shape the playing field. The authors skilfully address the intersection of football and issues of race, gender, sexuality, commodification, violence, and popular culture. With essays that examine theories of embodied practice, politics, and power, Football, Culture and Power is a must read for sports studies and cultural studies scholars.' - Samantha Sheppard, Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, Cornell University, USA