Brawling in Berne : mediated transnational moral panics in the 1954 Football World Cup
KeywordsAsymmetrical power relations
Critical discourse analysis
National racial stereotypes
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AbstractThis article explores the use of national and racial stereotypes in the moral panic surrounding a case of athlete violence at the 1954 football World Cup, focusing on the differences in mediation of this event across three nations with different forms of involvement in or connection with the match. Texts are analysed from Norwegian and English national newspapers, and Swiss newspapers of German origin using Fairclough's (1995a, 1995b, 2003) critical discourse analysis. Each of the three national settings presented four discursive perspectives: degradation of play, the referee, the locker room fight, and national racial stereotypes. The media have long operated as agents and stimulants of moral indignation (Cohen, 1972; Hall et al., 1978). The analysis explores the extent to and ways in which mediation of the violence may be understood through the logic of a moral panic, interpreted as a parallel to Fairclough's societal discourse order. We argue that the discursive framing of the event in each national context reveals common and significant characteristics in the understanding of variations in the national and racial stereotypes invoked. These are specific to the implicit codes associated with national socio-cultural practices, and to reinforce asymmetrical power relations to manage a sense of cultural threat to Western and Northern European cultural codes.
International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 43 (2008), No. 1, p. 71-90