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Spectacle of excess : The passion work of professional wrestlers, fans and anti-fans

Hill, Annette LU (2015) In European Journal of Cultural Studies 18(2). p.174-189
Abstract
This article examines how professional wrestlers, promoters and audiences perform the passion work of sports entertainment. Rather than celebrate professional wrestling as a popular phenomenon, this articles seeks to use empirical research on live wrestling events to understand the meaning of passion work in sports entertainment. In Roland Barthes’ seminal article on professional wrestling in Mythologies, he describes wrestling as a spectacle of excess, where passions such as love and hate are exaggerated through the expressions of wrestlers and audience members. A key research question concerns how the passion work in professional wrestling involves different types of labour, the physical and emotional work of wrestlers and event... (More)
This article examines how professional wrestlers, promoters and audiences perform the passion work of sports entertainment. Rather than celebrate professional wrestling as a popular phenomenon, this articles seeks to use empirical research on live wrestling events to understand the meaning of passion work in sports entertainment. In Roland Barthes’ seminal article on professional wrestling in Mythologies, he describes wrestling as a spectacle of excess, where passions such as love and hate are exaggerated through the expressions of wrestlers and audience members. A key research question concerns how the passion work in professional wrestling involves different types of labour, the physical and emotional work of wrestlers and event organisers, and the work of audiences, fans and anti-fans interacting with professional performers. The article uses ethnographic research of professional wrestling to explore how different types of passionate labour re-enforce and legitimate each other, shaping an emotional structure to a spectacle of excess. The overall argument in this article is that the meaning of passion work in sports entertainment highlights what Stephen Coleman calls a public performance of power relations, where the particularities of power are made visible through the collective labour of wrestlers and audience members. Power is neither industry led nor in the hands of audience members; rather, it is made visible through the work of promoters, wrestlers and audiences as a collective performance in a high-energy, adrenalin-fuelled live event. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Audiences, emotion work, fans and anti-fans, live crowds, passion, sports entertainment
in
European Journal of Cultural Studies
volume
18
issue
2
pages
174 - 189
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • wos:000351705200005
  • scopus:84925360352
ISSN
1367-5494
DOI
10.1177/1367549414563300
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
385d37ae-e5ed-41f5-b347-fbfb36c2a9c3 (old id 5049530)
date added to LUP
2015-02-13 13:35:00
date last changed
2017-07-23 03:05:21
@article{385d37ae-e5ed-41f5-b347-fbfb36c2a9c3,
  abstract     = {This article examines how professional wrestlers, promoters and audiences perform the passion work of sports entertainment. Rather than celebrate professional wrestling as a popular phenomenon, this articles seeks to use empirical research on live wrestling events to understand the meaning of passion work in sports entertainment. In Roland Barthes’ seminal article on professional wrestling in Mythologies, he describes wrestling as a spectacle of excess, where passions such as love and hate are exaggerated through the expressions of wrestlers and audience members. A key research question concerns how the passion work in professional wrestling involves different types of labour, the physical and emotional work of wrestlers and event organisers, and the work of audiences, fans and anti-fans interacting with professional performers. The article uses ethnographic research of professional wrestling to explore how different types of passionate labour re-enforce and legitimate each other, shaping an emotional structure to a spectacle of excess. The overall argument in this article is that the meaning of passion work in sports entertainment highlights what Stephen Coleman calls a public performance of power relations, where the particularities of power are made visible through the collective labour of wrestlers and audience members. Power is neither industry led nor in the hands of audience members; rather, it is made visible through the work of promoters, wrestlers and audiences as a collective performance in a high-energy, adrenalin-fuelled live event.},
  author       = {Hill, Annette},
  issn         = {1367-5494},
  keyword      = {Audiences,emotion work,fans and anti-fans,live crowds,passion,sports entertainment},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {174--189},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {European Journal of Cultural Studies},
  title        = {Spectacle of excess : The passion work of professional wrestlers, fans and anti-fans},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549414563300},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2015},
}