Monthly Archives: October 2009

Jock culture scores own goal

marlon kingThe recent imprisonment of the Wigan Athletic footballer, Marlon King, for groping a woman and then smashing her in the face after she rejected him, was apparently his most recent crime in a line of convictions spanning twelve years. It is reported (Guardian, 2009) that the majority of King’s convictions involved violence, and in particular, sexual violence against women.

Cases such as Kings bring to light a small, but not insignificant number of male athletes who appear to be taking advantage of their status, money and high prestige to harm women (and other men). Coad (2009) and Benedict (1997, 2004) suggest these athletes are attempting to carry out ‘gender and sexual myths endorsed by jock culture’. According to them ‘jock culture’ codes involve dangerous, antisocial and often illegal behaviour. For male athletes subscribing to ‘jock culture’, one way of demonstrating those values is to sexually objectify women. The more sexual interactions with women, whether consensual or not, the more masculine they appear to themselves and others, since numerous heterosexual conquests are equated with masculinity.

Unlike the case brought against King, the majority of complaints against male athletes are dropped before they reach court (Benedict, 1997, 2004). However as Coad (2009) and Benedict (1997, 2004) report, crime associated with ‘jock culture’ appears to be on the increase. This warns us then, of the potential problematic outcomes of masculinities mixed with high prestige and status.

square-eyeMarlon King’s criminal career off the pitch

square-eyeA guide to the literature on aggressive behavior

square-eyePros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL

Virtual Conference Report: Day Nine (29 Oct, 2009)

Beowulf.firstpageBy Paula Bowles

Today marked the penultimate day of Wiley-Blackwell’s first Virtual Conference. As I am sure you will all agree, thus far, each day has contained many gems, and today has been no different. Eileen Joy’s (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) keynote lecture: ‘Reading Beowulf in the Ruins of Grozny: Pre/modern, Post/human, and the Question of Being‐Together’ looks at the aftermath of the Russian bombing of Chechnya through the lens of Beowulf.

The two final papers of the conference were provided by P. Grady Dixon (Mississippi State University) & Adam J Kalkstein (United States Military Academy) and Nicole Mathieu (CNRS, University of Paris). Their papers respectively entitled: ‘Climate–Suicide Relationships: A Research Problem in Need of Geographic Methods and Cross‐Disciplinary Perspectives’ and ‘Constructing an interdisciplinary concept of sustainable urban milieu’ have looked at indisciplinarity from a geographical and environmental perspective. The final publishing workshop was ‘How to Survive the Review Process’ by Greg Maney (Hofstra University).

Although, the conference is due to end tomorrow it is not too late to register and take advantage of the book discount and free journal access. Each of the papers and podcasts will remain on the website, and it is hoped that you will keep the comments coming in.

Virtual Conference Report: Day Eight (28 Oct, 2009)

Japanese_textbooksBy Paula Bowles

Day eight of the conference was once again marked by some excellent contributions. The first paper ‘Cultural Sociology and Other Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity in the Cultural Sciences’ by Diane Crane (University of Pennsylvania) suggests that for many scholars ‘disciplinary isolation is the norm.’ However, Crane proposes that by utilising what she describes as ‘free‐floating paradigms’ such barriers can be removed.

The second paper of the day by Christine Mallinson, (University of Maryland) entitled ‘Sociolinguistics and Sociology: Current Directions, Future Partnerships also takes sociology and interdisciplinarity as its main themes. Mallinson’s paper concludes with practical advice as to how best to achieve research partnerships.

Together with these exciting papers, Catherine Sanderson (Amherst College) offered advice in her publishing workshop: ‘The Joys and Sorrows of Writing an Undergraduate Textbook.’ There was also an opportunity to spend time in the Second Life cocktail bar with the Compass Team.

Virtual Conference Report: Day Seven (27 Oct, 2009)

By Paula Bowles800px-Three_chiefs_Piegan_p.39_horizontal

The seventh day of the conference has continued with the key themes of ‘breaking down boundaries’ and interdisciplinarity. Roy Baumeister (Florida State University) began the day with his keynote lecture entitled ‘Human Nature and Culture: What is the Human Mind Designed for?’ By utilising the concepts of evolutionary and cultural psychology, Buameister is able to explore the intrinsic significance culture holds for humanity.

Two other papers were also presented today. ‘Text as It Happens: Literary Geography’ by Sheila Hones (University of Tokyo) and Stefan Müller’s (University of Duisburg‐Essen) ‘Equal Representation of Time and Space: Arno Peters’ Universal History.’ These contributions have utilised a wide and diverse range of disciplines including history, cartography, geography and literature. Finally, Devonya Havis’ publishing workshop entitled ‘Teaching with Compass’ offers some interesting ideas as to how best implement technology within the classroom.

The Horror! The Horror!

haunted house

The horror flick. Meant to terrify, torture, disgust, and delight. Love them or hate them they are difficult to escape this time of year. In the coming weekend there are at least four horror/thrill movies to be released including the latest in the Saw series (Saw VI, if you’re keeping track), Antichrist, The Stepfather, and The House of the Devil. While some people are always up for a good scare, others are adamant about avoiding anything even remotely gory. But why? Johnston (2006) has highlighted four possible motivations for viewing graphic horror (gore watching, thrill watching, independent watching, and problem watching). Her study found these distinct motivations to be associated with fearfulness, empathy, and sensation seeking as well as the viewer’s level of identification with the killers vs. the victims of the films.


Adolescents’ Motivations for Viewing Graphic Horror (Johnston, 2006)

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Virtual Conference Report: Day Six (26 Oct, 2009)

Snapshot1_003By Paula Bowles

Welcome to the second week of the Wiley-Blackwell Virtual Conference. The first day back has started with a keynote speech from Peter Ludlow (Northwestern University) entitled ‘Virtual Communities, Virtual Cultures, Virtual Governance.’ Conference delegates also had the opportunity to meet Peter at the Second Life Cocktail Bar.

There were two other papers on Monday’s session Adam Brown’s (Deakin University): ‘Beyond ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’: Breaking Down Binary Oppositions in Holocaust Representations of ‘Privileged’ Jews’ and ‘A Hybrid Model of Moral Panics: Synthesizing the Theory and Practice of Moral Panic Research’ presented by Brian V. Klocke (State University of New York, Plattsburgh) & Glenn Muschert (Miami University). In addition Wiley-Blackwell’s Vanessa Lafaye held a publishing workshop entitled ‘The Secret to Online Publishing Success.’

As you can see, this week promises to be as exciting and innovative as the previous one. All of the papers and workshops from last week are still available to download from the conference site, and both the ‘battle of the bands’ and the opportunity to contribute a ‘winning comment’ remain.