Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. G. Knight
Dr. P. Donnelly
Dr. W. Shaffir
An examination of the hundreds of books and articles produced by sociologists of sport reveals, amongst other things three important omissions in this Iiterature: (1) until recently little serious attention has been paid to the disorderly behaviour, roles and rituals of sports spectators, and to the way their behaviours are broadly interpreted and understood in dominant ideology; (2) there is a lack of cross-cultural studies of sport and sports crowd behaviour; (3) there is a paucity of information on the role of the mass media in sports violence in general, on how the media treat sports crowd disorder and on how, if at alI, their treatment contributes towards dominant ideologies of the issues involved.
The study attempts to redress the neglect in these areas by examining the relation between sports crowd disorder, the mass media and ideology in two different or international contexts; the United Kingdom and North America. The theoretical framework employed derives from Marxist theories on the production and reproduction of ruling or 'hegemonic' ideas, and has been broadly adopted by an inter-disciplinary group of scholars working at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, England. Essentially, 'cultural studies", as the mainstream perspective of this group is now called, uses a critical-materialist concept of ideology to show how ideology is created and signified, and how it shapes the public consciousness.
In compliance with multiple-method approaches advised by cultural studies, data were collected by way of a synthesis of methods, including: (1) semiotic content analysis of media reports of sports crowd disorder and sports violence; (2) interviews and observations with involved parties (sports spectators, sports organizations, media personnel, etc.,); (3) a questionnaire distributed to professional sports organizations in North America.
The study shows that the media play an active, not passive, role in sports crowd disorder and that partially due to differential techniques of media coding and signification, dominant ideological understandings of sports crowd disorder in the United Kingdom and North America are very different. In essence, while reports of and responses to British soccer hooliganism have displayed all the classic symptoms of moral panic, any presence or threat of sports crowd disorder in North America appears to be consistently downplayed (by official and unofficial parties) if not denied in more explicit terms.
Young, Kevin Mark, "Sports Crowd Disorder, Mass Media and Ideology" (1988). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2058.