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Relationship Between Sports, Society And National Identity Of Australia

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Questions:

1. Relationship between sport, Australian society, and national identity drawing on key theories and learning materials presented in the unit?

2. An original advertisement, in any of the medium (television, radio, billboard, etc.), for an Australian sport?

 

Answers:

Introduction:-

The sport has an important place in Australian society and national identity. Without acknowledging the place of sports, it is impossible to understand fully the contemporary society and the national identity of Australia. At present, sports are considered as the international phenomenon. Hence, it is important for the world leaders and the politicians to be associated with the sports personality. Sports have a great contribution to the Australian economy. There are some most visible international spectacles, which are associated with the sporting events. In Australia, there are many types of sports like football, cricket, rabbi, basket-ball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, cycling, long-jump, high jump, etc.

1:- Relationship between sport, Australian society, and national identity drawing on key theories and learning materials presented in the unit:-

Relationship between Sports and Society:-

Sport is considered as the part of the social and the cultural fabric of different regions, localities and nations. In some of the poorest areas of the world, the transformative potential of sport is considered as an evident. The sport is not only important to the television and film industry but also for the tourist industry. It is also regularly associated with the social problems and issues such as social division, social regeneration, labour migration, poverty, economic crisis, health, violence, social division, etc (Adair 2012, p. 228).

In Australia, some richest and the poorest people are recognized with the form of sports in some different ways. Hence, there exist an immense gap between the poor and the rich parts of Australia in terms of global sports. In the modern world, Sport’s has a social and commercial power, which makes it a potentially potent force. Sport can be treated as the tool of dictatorship and a symbol of the democratic change(Gibbons 2011, p.865-879). Sports help to improve the health and education of the students. It also helps to create job opportunities and prevent the crime. Sports usually represent the competing notions of identity, national tradition, internationalisation and the global solidarity (Bairner 2003, p.517-535).

The sports are related with the social culture of Australians i.e. with their values, ceremonies and the way of life. Within a particular culture setting of the society, the sports are representing the symbols, meanings, ritual and power (Openforum.com.au, 2015). The sports also have a great impact on the sub-cultural community of the city. They support different sports or different teams from different regions for the social, cultural and political reasons. The people of sub-culture communities are generally the football club supporters or the supporters of some alternative sports which are generally very extreme sports or high-risk sport. Most of these communities in Australian society support the sporting culture, especially football (Deninger 2012, p.331).

Moreover, as a part of the society the Australian women are very much interested in sporting. They not only support a particular sport or a particular team but also most of them are associated with different types of sports and they have the separate women team of cricket, football, rabbi, volleyball, etc. The women are also associated with tennis and other games like swimming, long-jumping, cycling, etc. Hence, this represents the freedom of women in Australian society (Faculty.georgetown.edu, 2015).  

Relationship between Sports and national identity:-

In Australia, the sport is significantly related with the national identity of Australians as it represents the Australian values and environments. There Australian culture is diverse in nature and with this diverse culture there are different sports (Toney 2012, p.189). For example, in Australia football was previously treated as the native game or the game of indigenous culture. More Indigenous Australians are associated with this game, and a great portion of supporters of this game belong from this society. On the other hand, cricket, tennis, etc. are treated as the sports of main stream Australians. Even in different cities of Australia, there are different sports teams and the citizens of different cities of Australia support their own native teams (makinghistoryatmacquarie 2013, p.361).

Australians are very honest, hard-working and aggressive in nature. These characteristics are reflected in their sports. There is a great unity among Aussies, which is reflected in their sporting culture. The Aussies never give up hope and have a great willing power to win which reflect their national identity (Houlihan1997, p.113-137).

Key theories (based on the learning materials):-

There are four key theories of sports. They are:

1. Media Theory or Metanarratives

2. Cultivation Theory

3. Vladimir Propp’s Narrative Theory

1. Media Theory or Metanarratives:-

Telecasting the sports via the medium of television reinforces the meta-narratives, which underpin the Society of Australia. The product of modernity is known as meta-narrative and is most commonly held beliefs that occurred by and about the dominant culture in a society. The television sports provide homogeneous coverage an event by providing its meaning and reinforcing it through the commentary (Uws.edu.au, 2015).

2. Cultivation Theory:-

This theory discusses the impact of T.V. viewing. According to George Gerbner, the TV world is not same as the real world, and the main goal of TV is not telling something, but selling something. Hence, it can be said that we all thinks the same while watching the TV and it has a great impact on our construction of reality. The same message is provided to us by the advertisers and the sponsors.

Day-by-day the sport and television is becoming a most significant way of conveying the strong uniform messages as most of the time the sports advertisements are performed by the famous athlete who is a celebrity and also treated as star. In the multi-flow theory of media, these celebrities or the familiar stranger acts as the influential opinion leader. In a post-modern society, it helps to construct the reality. Here the celebrities are treated as the commodity that can be sold and also who can sell it. Television is the forum for the celebrity or the star where the cultivation is done through the aspiration. Even to raise the brand value of a product the T.V. advertisements use the famous athletes (Farrington 2012, p.289).

 3. Propp’s theory of Narrative Spheres of Action:-

According to the narrative theories of Vladimir Propp, the sports have all the elements of a “good story” or the “fairy tale”. That means, in sports there is Hero, Princess, Villain, False Hero, Father, Helper, Donor, Dispatcher, etc (Ward 2010, p.259).

 

2: An original advertisement, in any of the medium (television, radio, billboard, etc.), for an Australian sport:-

To pull a lot of viewers together, sports generally use different channels of television to increase its popularity in the society. Especially the sports-related advertisements are built in such a manner that it should have a positive impact on society.

The original advertisement: - “The Baggy Green.”

Sports: - Cricket

Date of launching: - 9th January 2013

T.V. Channel: - CA (Cricket Australia) T.V.

A mock-up or the description of the advertisement:-

“The Baggy Green” is a 5:03 minute’s advertisement on the Australian Cricket team launched on 9th January 2013. This advertisement is the historically and emotionally significant to each and every Australians who love their nation as well as the Australian Cricket team. The Baggy Green has always been treated as a key feature of Australian cricket team. It is 100% made in Australia and holds most favoured possession in the kit bags of Australian Cricket Team.

According to this advertisement, the Baggy Green is most recognized sports equipment of Cricket Australia. It has an incredible history over time. Then there is an interview of the whole Australian cricket team where the famous Australian cricket players express their feelings about the Baggy Green. Among these famous cricketers, there are Michael Clark, Shane Watson, David Hasi, Mitchell Johnson, David Warner, etc. Particularly from the 1990s the players started to hold on the original Baggy Green. Over the time, there were many captains of cricket Australia like Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting who has held the prestige of Baggy Green over the time. According to the former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, this green cap has a great significant on their team as it always help to unite the Australian Cricket Team, which is a main cause behind their success over the long period. In this advertisement, there was a special video-clip of the retirement of Ricky Ponting which has made this advertisement more sentimental towards the Cricket Australia and the nation. He has kept the tradition of presenting the Baggy Green after Steve Waugh as a symbol of Australian Cricket. Then the narrator is saying some historical facts about the baggy green in this advertisement. It is observed from this advertisement that the former captain of Australian cricket team is providing the lecture to his team-members before a cricket match. This lecture was about to hold the prestige of Baggy Green. The whole team of Cricket Australia always wear this green cap while playing the cricket. However, there was an exceptional case in 1998, where in a cricket match, famously known as “The Pink Test”, all the players wore the Baggy Pink cap and not the Baggy Green Cap in Australian cricket history (YouTube, 2015).

3:- Use of Semiotic theory in Sports Advertising:-

Semiotic theory:-

Semiotics is considered as the study of sign system that helps to explore the process in which the sign and the word together make a meaning. In this theory, a sign can represent some other things than itself. And in most of the time this sign primarily focuses on the linguistic signs.  The sign of this study process a meaningful communication. This includes the study of sign and the signing process, designation, indication, analogy, likeness, metaphor, signification, symbolism and communication.  There is a close relation between the semiotics and linguistics. This helps to study more specifically the structure and the meaning of language.

Besides this linguistic sign system, the non-linguistic sign system is also studied under the semiotics theory. Semiotics often is divided into three branches, such as:-

Semantics: - This explains the relationship between the signs and the things to which the sign is referring to.

Syntactics: - This explains the relation between or among two or more different signs in the formal structures.

Pragmatics: - This explains the relation between signs and the agents who use the sign.

Hence, it can be seen that in the advertisement “The Baggy Green” this Semiotic theory has been clearly used. The Baggy Green cap of the Australian cricket team is a sign that represents the proud of nation. This is under the semantics branch of the Semiotic theory (Visual-memory.co.uk, 2015).

Use of Semiotic theory in the Advertisement:-

This sports advertisement based on the sentiments on Baggy Green, which is treated as honour of Cricket Australia has a great significance in the social and the national level of Australia. Unity is a most important thing for social-welfare and national identity. This advertisement is full of emotion and sentiment to hold the honour of the nation. Despite the advertisement is based on the historical significance and prestigious value of Baggy Green, it also symbolized the unity of Australian Cricket team and their success over the period. Hence, this is not only an emotional and prestigious story but also a very much inspirable story for the Australians. From this story, the Australians will learn to respect not only the Baggy Green and the sport named Cricket, but also their own nation. The Cricket is a sport that represents the culture of Australia. This unity and hunger for win represent the culture of every Australians. Hence, this story will help to unite all the inhabitants of Australia socially, nationally and globally (Faculty.georgetown.edu, 2015).

Conclusion:-

Hence, from the above study it can be said that sports have a significant impact on Australian Society, culture and national identity.  The sports advertisement through television and other social media have the great influence on Australians. Like many parts of the world, in Australia, the sporting spectacles dominate the television. The timing of the major world sports events is set according to the peak viewing times around the world. However, at present it is true that the sport is colonized by media and hence in various ways the sport is dependent upon the rules of the media though it has some separate identity. Today the sport is facing the great challenges from the media politics and policies. Hence, to protect the freedom of sports the Society of Australia should immediately take the necessary steps to control the media system and its modes of communication.

 

References

Adair, D. (2012). Sport. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.

Bairner, A. (2003). Political Unionism and Sporting Nationalism: An Examination of the Relationship Between Sport and National Identity Within the Ulster Unionist Tradition. Identities, 10(4), pp.517-535.

Deninger, D. (2012). Sports on Television. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Faculty.georgetown.edu, (2015). Media and Semiotic Theory: Key Terms and Concepts. [online] Available at: https://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Theory-KeyTerms.html [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Farrington, N. (2012). Race, racism and sports journalism. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Gibbons, T. (2011). English national identity and the national football team: the view of contemporary English fans. Soccer & Society, 12(6), pp.865-879.

Houlihan, B. (1997). Sport, National Identity and Public Policy. Nations and Nationalism, 3(1), pp.113-137.

makinghistoryatmacquarie, (2013). Taking the Covers Off: Sport in Australia’s National Identity. [online] Available at: https://makinghistoryatmacquarie.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/taking-the-covers-off-sport-in-australias-national-identity/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Openforum.com.au, (2015). Why is sport so important in Australian culture? | Open Forum | Blogging community. [online] Available at: https://www.openforum.com.au/content/why-sport-so-important-australian-culture [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Original Mockups - Billboard Outdoor Advertising PSD Mockup, (2015). Original Mockups - Billboard Outdoor Advertising PSD Mockup. [online] Available at: https://originalmockups.com/mockups/print/billboard-outdoor-advertising-mockup [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Sport in Australian National Identity: Kicking Goals. (2015). Sport in History. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17460263.2013.772454#.Vc7RtrKqpHw [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Toney, J. (2012). Sports journalism. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

Uws.edu.au, (2015). 'A Nation of "Good Sports"'? Cultural Citizenship and Sport in Contemporary Australia - Institute for Culture and Society - University of Western Sydney. [online] Available at: https://www.uws.edu.au/ics/research/projects/a_nation_of_good_sports_cultural_citizenship_and_sport_in_contemporary_australia [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Visual-memory.co.uk, (2015). Semiotics for Beginners: Introduction. [online] Available at: https://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem01.html [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

Ward, T. (2010). Sport in Australian national identity. London: Routledge.

YouTube, (2015). The Baggy Green. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXHyzpLkqgo [Accessed 15 Aug. 2015].

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