Contesting the Super Bowl

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Overview

The Super Bowl is an annual American rite. Around the country, friends gather together around the television with beer and potato chips and gear up for the game of the season. A multi-million dollar event produced by the NFL, corporate sponsors and broadcast networks,

the Super Bowl is a carefully crafted spectacle that seems more about revenue than football.

But what happens to your town when the Super Bowl comes to visit? Dona Schwartz seized the opportunity to find out when Super Bowl XXVI came to her home town, Minneapolis. The result is

Contesting the Super Bowl, an alternative, non-NFL-sponsored examination of the event and its impact on the host community.

Since the Super Bowl is a visual spectacle, Contesting the Super Bowl employs visual means as part of its analytical arsenal.

To cover the event, a team of nine photographers fanned out across the city in search of images that might tell a different story than the photographs dispatched by the press or the NFL. Issues probed by the lens include visible manifestations of race, class, and gender divisions, the

roles played by local elites in marshaling the spectacle, and the function of the NFL and the media as storytellers. It integrates newspaper clips, quotes from "players" both on and off the field, NFL rules and regulations, photographers' first-person accounts of their experiences, along

with photographs and a series of critical essays heading each chapter. In addition to offering an analysis of power, patriarchy and professional sport, Contesting the Super Bowl critiques its own narrative apparatus and the process of representation.

A humorous,

and at times disturbing, portrait, Contesting the Super Bowl provides a peek at a different side of this enormously popular event.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With her heart set on exposing the Super Bowl as a "celebratory junction of corporate capitalism, masculinity, and power that hegemonically affirms and perpetuates inequality," Schwartz, an associate professor of journalism and mass media at the University of Minnesota, dispatches a team of photojournalists into downtown Minneapolis to cover Super Bowl XXVI. Her agenda: to prove through the camera lens, as well as through a collection of press releases, newspaper clips and other primary sources, that the NFL and corporate America enjoy a lucrative partnership at the expense of minorities, women and average tax-paying citizensa partnership celebrated annually in the media orgy that is the Super Bowl. Well, no news there, at least none worthy of the lengthy discourse Schwartz devotes to it. A few of the images and anecdotes are mildly interesting, such as when the chair of the Transportation, Logistics and Security Committee compares preparing for the Super Bowl to "planning an event that is only exceeded in size by World War II or the Second Coming." Had Schwartz let such evidence speak for itself, instead of burying it within pages of pontification, this might have been a droll little expos. Instead it reads more like a grad school paper with a grudge, indulging Schwartz's open bias against football ("a controlled, commodified spectacle [crafted] out of a spontaneous, aggressive game") and disqualifying her as an objective researcher. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415919524
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Pages: 154
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dona Schwartz is Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Media at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Waucoma Twilight: Generations of the Farm (1992).

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