Archive for 2019

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[Commlist] New book: The Power of Sports: Media and Spectacle in American Culture

Tue Apr 23 21:58:42 GMT 2019

Book Release Announcement

The Power of Sports: Media and Spectacle in American Culture (NYU Press, 2019)

*A provocative investigation that appreciates the importance of - and punctures the hype around - big-time American athletics*

Jacket Description:

In an increasingly secular, fragmented, and distracted culture, nothing concentrates Americans quite like sports. On Sundays in September, more families worship at the altar of the NFL than at any church. This timeless, live appeal - evoking ancient religious rites - makes sport one of the last unifying mass rituals of our era, with huge sums of people all tuned into the same thing at the same moment. And the surrounding media spectacle is only getting bigger, brighter, and noisier - from “hot take” journalism formats to the creeping infestation of advertising to social media celebrity schemes.

More consequentially, sports are sold as an oasis of community to a nation deeply divided: They are escapist, apolitical, the only tie that binds. But because they come off as allegedly “above politics,” sports are able to smuggle in potent messages about inequality, patriotism, labor, and race to those massive audiences. And as the wider culture works through shifting gender roles and masculine power, those anxieties are also found in the experiences of female sports journalists, athletes, and fans and through coverage of violence by and against male bodies. In this way, sports perfectly encapsulate the roiling tensions of modern American life.

“The Power of Sports” maps and critiques the production of today’s lucrative, ubiquitous sports culture. Through dozens of in-depth interviews with leaders in sports media and journalism, as well as in the business and marketing of sports, “The Power of Sports” goes behind the scenes and tells a story of technological disruption, commercial overload, economic disparity, military hawkishness, #MeToo harassment, and the shifting ideals of manhood. In the end, despite what our myths of escapism might suggest, “The Power of Sports” holds up a mirror to America’s favorite games and reveals the lived realities of the nation staring right back at it.

Advance Reviews:

“Serazio digs the ball out of the dirt and fires it right on the money in this brilliant, entertaining, and important analysis of the games we love that rarely love us back. A terrific book for fans and non-fans.” - Robert Lipsyte, veteran New York Times sportswriter

“This is a powerful, intellectual, and vital contribution to our understanding of sports and sports culture. Michael Serazio walks the line between the scholarly and the popular with uncommon dexterity.” - Dave Zirin, The Nation sports editor

“This is a benchmark work: a lasting and influential volume that deals with major issues cast by the sociocultural shadow of sports with a savvy and comprehensive accessibility that could change the game as we know it.” - Lawrence Wenner, Communication & Sport editor

“In direct and engaging style, Serazio approaches the media spectacle of contemporary sports with the knowing ambivalence of the critical-but-sentimental fan, combining sharp critique and warm personal reflection. With liveliness and insight, and some smart jokes, he explores the many ways in which the sports-media nexus exercises power over identities, imaginations, politics, and consumer behavior. Rooted in the American culture that first nurtured sports as a staple of modern commerce, ‘The Power of Sports’ is a literary shot that will be heard around the world by readers curious to understand how sports came to be both secular religion and temple of Mammon.” - David Rowe, Sport, Culture and the Media author

Now Available Online:

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