The Relationship Between Culture And The Media Media Essay

The relationship between sport, culture and the media is a flourishing field of investigation, especially so when examined from the perspective of ‘Cultural and Media Studies’. Although relatively unseasoned in its capabilities as a topic of enquiry, the subject matter has recently been addressed as being a ‘dynamic, fascinating subject of underestimated sociological significance’, with the ability to ‘convey a strong sense of a field of study with its own history and intellectual trajectory’ (Rowe 2004: 2)

The ‘Media Sports Cultural Complex’, as described by (Rowe 1999) analyzes the relationship between media and sport within contemporary culture, and discusses specific ‘media sports texts’ within a theoretical framework, while addressing debates concerning methods of production, reproduction, and transformation. This manages to signify ‘both the primacy of symbols in contemporary sport’ {and} ‘the two-way relationship between the sports media and the great cultural formation of which it is a part'( Rowe 2003: 4). This concept, manages to ’embrace all the media and sports organizations, processes, personnel, services, products and texts’ (Jacobson 2003) which can amalgamate in the ‘creation of the broad and dynamic field of contemporary sports culture’ (Rowe 2004: xx). The scope and scale of this theory, and its culture, means that within modern day society, it is invariably impossible to escape its impact.

In this paper I plan to discuss the issues and significancies surrounding the topic of Sport and media, and in particular, Sport Fishing, and its relevance as a matter of investigation. Focusing on how relationships between sport fishing and the media have been approached by both contemporary practitioners and scholars alike. This paper will carry out debates into the notion of socio-cultural enquiry in ‘Media sport’. Concepts such as representation and ideology can bring to light the vast range of discernible aspects of the production, circulation and consumption of sport fishing, and both its immediate, and long lasting cultural consequences.

When looking at Sport Fishing as a focal point for culture and media, it must be stated that choosing a subject matter on which to concentrate from a large, growing and diverse body of topics is a taxing activity, but I have done so on the grounds that although seemingly controversial, Sport fishing remains the most popular participant sport in the world. Recent studies have supported this notion, reporting that in the US alone figures of ’60 million anglers generating over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for over one million people’ (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, 2006) To accompany this, growth in Angling popularity has embraced a vast array of media texts, namely books, painting, photography, statistical databases, television and radio broadcasts, video, DVD, films of both fiction and non-fiction varieties, photo-essays and the internet. Throughout the following chapters I will refer to all media forms as ‘texts’. Through analysis of these various texts, sport can be applied to a vast array of age groups, and pose a constant opportunity for representation and commercialization: When considering the nexus of sports fishing as a ‘Media Sport’, those who have emerged as key players in this enormous industry, have carefully and cleverly used the media as a mode to communicate, demonstrate, market and commercialize the sport.

Media Sport is now perceived as being closely- knitted with the lives of both fans and non followers uniformly. Much of this is due to the fact that Media and Sport are now widely seen as becoming mutually dependent, and with this allegiance has come an explosion of media sport publicity, taking up enormous amounts of electronic, print and cyber-space. This has permitted opportunities for large numbers of businesses and workers to generate the production of goods and services. This grants absorbance of ‘substantial public resources in the form of programs, subsidies and tax exemptions’ and is in turn ‘strategically used by the political apparatus in the name of the people’ (Rowe 2004: 3)

When considering Sports fishing, the ‘Wal-Mart FLW’ Bass fishing tour in the USA is a spectacular example of where sport acquires vast tracts of Media coverage, and ‘is responsible for the production and consumption of everything from soft drink to clothing’, {and} ‘is heavily subsidized by corporate groups’ (Roche 2000). From here, it becomes of vital importance, to come to terms with the intricacies of Sport fishing (in Cultural and Media studies) by ‘understanding, probing and criticizing it in order to be in a position to intervene in its operations, where necessary, in the name of cultural citizenship (Murdock and Golding 1989; Murdock 1997). In essence, Sport fishing, as a Media sport, ‘is particularly important to contemporary cultural citizenship’ {because} ‘there are no more culturally and economically prized texts, with correspondingly high rewards for controlling them, than ”live” televised media sports texts’ (Rowe 2003).

This paper functions firstly as an introduction to the research and scholarship surrounding Sport, culture and the media, and the relationships that are created by this allegiance. As an ever growing field of inquiry, this topic is explored by generating critical and academic discussion from the perspective of Cultural and Media studies. This aims to highlight the importance of examining the various dimensions of this ‘conspicuous yet elusive analytical object’ (Rowe 2003) by examining both Sport (Fishing) and the Media, and the ways in which the two have become merged. The evolution and union of sport and media, is deciphered by analyzing the respective histories, whilst delving into matters of social structural changes. These changes are in turn responsible for a rise in mass consumption and cultural economy of sport through channels such as the exchange and manufacture of images, information and ideas.

Once these concepts have been explored, this paper progress toward notions of ‘denotation and connotation’ of media sport. For example when considering a sports text, that text must be ”read” by a sentient being’ {and} ‘in reading that text, the reader will interpret it and obtain direct and indirect meanings from it’ (Murdock 1992). By comparing and contrasting the formal properties of essays, photography, television, film and the internet respectively, its is possible to examine the effect semiotic and textual relations have upon a variety of readers. This creates a void for academic debate surrounding social issues such as ethnicity, age, gender, nationalism, and class: ‘theoretically, conceptually and empirically informed analysis enables a critical understanding of the institutional context within media sports texts, in their many forms and uses’ (Rowe 2003) {which forms} ‘specific viewerships, ideologies, myths and other texts in a way that makes them important components of contemporary culture’ (Rowe 1999: 144)

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