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Lecture 9

KNES 293 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Jane Fonda, Sough, Calisthenics

Course Code
KNES 293
Michael Friedman

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Consuming Physical Culture
Sport as a Commodity
Stephen Hardy (1986) identified sport as a "triple commodity" consisting of:
o Game form: The rules and rule books which define the manner in which
games are to be played
o Sporting goods: equipment and facilities
o Sport services: functions of sport, such as education, status, political
propaganda, and entertainment, that frequently (but not necessarily) require
Industrial Capitalism Production
In the first stage of Industrial Revolution, manufacturing centered around
producer goods (steel for railroads) dominated
These goods allowed the American economy to expand rapidly
o But they reached a saturation point as basic infrastructural needs were
Towards end of 19th century
o Manufacturing shifted from producer goods to consumer goods
o However, in order to be successful, this industrial strategy required masses
of people with the capability and desire to consume
One of the great successes of this shift was also in producing consumers
The New Middle Class
As corporate capitalism grew in the late 19th century, opportunities increased for
middle managers, secretaries, and salespeople
This growing professional class was augmented by industrial workers receiving
higher wages as manufacturers recognized employees as potential consumers
A Consumer Class
By the 1920s, social demands for self-control and Victorian rigidness were replaced
by much greater permissiveness
As the average work week declined from 60 hours in 1890 to 47 in 1920, people
had more leisure time - allowing for the expansion of commercial amusements
Conspicuous Consumption
With more time and money for consumption, a new consumer ideology suggested
that happiness was obtainable through consumer products
Promoting Consumption
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The advertising industry attracted consumers with sales pitches containing
ideological messages (the American Dream, material plenty, the march toward
modernity) and suggested that the newest goods provided consumers with status
Idols of Consumption
Attempting to change puritanical beliefs that consumption was self-indulgent and
Madison Avenue celebrated athletes and celebrities who had achieved the
American Dream and indulged in its rewards
Facilitating Consumption
With all the new products coming to market, companies greatly expanded
consumer credit by offering purchases installment contracts and allowing them to
make small weekly or monthly payments
Keeping Up With the Joneses
Amongst status-conscious consumers, possessing the newest products (tv, new
cars, suburban homes, etc.) provided important symbols of growing affluence
This pursuit of status through consumption transcended goods,
o It was important to participate in the right activates and achieve the right
bodily appearances
The Sporting Goods Industry
A.G. Spalding & Brothers became the dominant sporting goods producer
o Purchased its competitors, becoming the official equipment supplier of the
National League, and through promotion
Stimulating Demand
In 1888, Spalding sponsored baseball world tour involving leading players
The tour visited New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Italy, France, and England
Although the gae did’t eoe popular, Spaldig found local distributors for his
products in many new markets
Promoting Sporting Goods
" A Spalding Swimming Suit wont teach you to swim, but it will make you feel like
an Olympic champion"
Early Sport Celebrities
In the late 19th century, athletes were already present within popular culture
Many athletes were popular on the vaudeville stage as they toured the nation
o Told there stories of their endeavors and engaged in athletic exhibition
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