Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Sport/Media effects

Beth Adubato asks, “Does a highly identified sports fan feel a strong bond while watching his favorite football players and then exhibit violent, copycat behavior?” Using the media, copycat framework, this research looked at five categories of domestic violence arrests in the city of Philadelphia on Eagles’ “gamedays,” for an 8-hr period, beginning with kick-off time. These relationships were tested using comparison of means tests. The mean average of domestic violence arrests on football was statistically significantly different from both comparison Sundays and other sports “gamedays.” As predicted, there was no statistically significant difference between home and away games, removing the possible bias that fans were at the game and then became violent.

She does this in an article in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues February 2016 vol. 40 no. 1 22-37. This came too late for inclusion in my Sports Criminology book to be published in summer by Policy. However, I do address the issue and this is my take on the issue.

Super Bowl effect

What of the Super Bowl effect in the States or the ‘Old Firm’ derby effect in Scotland? It is alleged and frequently repeated by the media that domestic violence rises on the occasion of these matches. The Super Bowl is played annually between the winners of the American and National Football Conferences. The ‘Old Firm’ derby is played between Glasgow Rangers and Celtic; the two most successful Scottish football teams who have played each other about 400 times. When Rangers were liquidated (for tax offences) at the end of the 2011/12 season and demoted to the fourth tier of the league another 3 years was to pass before they met again in a Cup Match.

Crowley et al (2014) were commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore the correlation between ‘certain matches football and domestic abuse’. They found that research based upon incidents reported to the police found that relative to various comparators, there was an increase in recorded domestic abuse incidents on the day the fixtures were played between 13-138.8%, depending on a number of variables: the day of the week the match took place; the comparator day/event; and the salience/outcome of a match. Such nuance and recognition of confounding variables is rare. They are critical of Williams et al (2013) for failing to take into account the comparators they use; for instance Scotland International Matches, take place during the week not the weekend and there are issues about the time period covered around the match. Though Williams et al (2013) only claim their analysis to be preliminary they confirm the association between Old Firm matches and reports of domestic violence. The natural experiment of 3 years gap in such derbies may spark further investigation.

Both Crowley et al (2014) and Williams et al (2013) cite Gantz et al (2009) who examined the Super Bowl using police recorded domestic violence incidents taken from 15 cities with NFL teams over a six year period. The analysis suggested that domestic violence in a city increased both when the local team played during the season, and during the Superbowl (whether or not there was local allegiance to the competing teams). The Superbowl was seen to result in an average increase of 244 domestic violence incidents per city which represented 6.5% of incidents that day. Factors to be considered are that the Superbowl is the last game of the season and a public holiday which introduces factors, such as people being cooped up together, it being winter and lots of alcohol being consumed.

As with claims of trafficking their is a danger of media hype and use by campaigning groups of media opportunities around high profile events. Thus Snopes investigative website lists the claimed rise of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday as ‘false’. Following Gantz et al (2009) and others (uncited) they found Christmas to the busiest time for domestic violence shelters. This raises the issue of whether we should ban christmas because of this.

Snopes also mention the work of Kirby et al (2014) which does not appear to assist them as they claim, ‘Every time England loses the World Cup, domestic violence against women raises 38%.’ But Crowley et al (2014) argue much of this effect might be attributed to other factors, particularly alcohol. Kirby et al (2014) note the deficiencies of their own study too and conclude where and when the violence occurred, the precipitating factors prior to it occurring; the level of violence; consumption of drugs or alcohol; and a comparison between the expected and final result. This latter issue is taken up by Card and Dahl (2011) who, as economists, discuss ‘family violence’ in terms of ‘intra-family incentives’! They tested this in respect of reports to police on Sundays associated with American Football. Controlling for variables like, weather, time and ‘pre-game point spread’ etc found that if the home team was expected to win by more than 3 points but lost there was an 8% increase in male-on-female violence. This is taken to show the significance of non-instrumental factors.

In the preface to my I acknowledge that I am a sports fan but that some of my opinions on drugs and gender would not find favour with all. She is also a fan and a media professional and her husband commentates ice hockey.

Her argument is not about sport so much as media coverage of it. She picks up on some of the same issues I do and notes the media criticisms and misuse of earlier work. So I am grateful now to know of Janet E. Katz and Garland F. White’s ‘Engaging the Media: A Case Study of the Politics of Crime and the Media Social’ on the reception of their work of them with Kathryn E. Scarborough on ‘The Impact of Professional Football Games Upon Violent Assaults on Women’. I think we agree that it is not sport’s ‘fault’ - though sports authorities not blameless - and that masculinities may have something. Think we might part company on the ’media effects’.  I incline to Gauntlett on these matters.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Sports Criminology: Indications of content

I've nearly completed the second draft of my Sports Criminology book for Policy Press. Set out below is the index, and still being compiled, which gives some indication of the breadth of my intentions. How come Quidditch and the Edinburgh Festival rate mentions? Or Haffoty Wen Outdoor Activity Centre and Sepp Blatter?

Adams, Nicola
administrative criminology
All Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing
American Gaming Association
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Armstrong, Lance
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Automobile Association
badger baiting
badges for baseball
BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative)
Beckham, David
biological positivism
black letter law
black masculinity
Blatter, Sepp
blood sports
bowling alley
Boxing Academy
Brady, Tom
brain damage
Bring Back Borstal
British Boxing Board of Control
British Horseracing Authority (BHA)
Bryant, Kobe
bull dog
Calcio Storico
Cantona, Eric
‘central’ sports
Chicago School
crime control
Cipriani, Danny
Clear, the - see THG
Coe, Sebastian
Commonwealth v Collberg
conflict theory
control theories
Countryside Alliance
Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
crime prevention
Cronje, Hansie
crowd violence
cultural criminology
cultural spillover
‘dead rubbers’
Denning, Lord
differential association
domestic violence
drink driving
performance enhancing
due process
Duke of Edinburgh Award (DoE)
Dwain Chambers
Edinburgh Festival
Enderby Town FC v The Football Association
fantasy sports
Farah, Mo
field sports
Fight Club
Fight for Peace
Flood V. Kuhn
food allergies
Football Behind Bars
football hooliganism
Four Four Two 
fox hunting
Gasquet, Richard
Gatlin, Justin
Gay Future
Giro d’Italia
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
gothic criminology
‘governing through doping’
Grace, W.G.
Grand National
Griffith, Emile
green criminology
Haffoty Wen Outdoor Activity Centre
Hamilton, Tyler
Harding, Tonya
harm perspective
hegemonic masculinity
high ropes courses
Holyfield, Evander
Home Office
horse racing
Hussein, Nasser
Hyde, Marina
ice hockey
Indian Premier League
International Golf Federation
International Olympic Committee
International Tennis Federation
Jockey Club
Johnson, Jack
Jones, Marion
Kid’s Company
Landis, Floyd
LaShawn Merritt
League Against Cruel Sports
left realism
lex olympica
London Olympic and Paralympic Games Act 2006
Lord Lonsdale
low-blood sugar
Lund, Zach
Luzira Prison
Mäntyranta, Eero
Maradona, Diego
Marquis of Queensbury
martial arts
Mayweather, Floyd
Meca-Medina and Majcen v Commission
medical marijuana
‘mega events’
midnight basketball
Millar, David
Miller v Jackson
Million Dollar Baby
Modahl, Diane
moral development
moral panic
motor projects
motor sports
muscular christianity
National Hunt
National Collegiate Athletic Association
new criminology
neurotransmitter imbalances
‘old firm’ effect
Outward Bound
‘operant conditioning’
 organised crime
Paret, Benny ‘Kid’
Pechstein, Claudia
‘positive deviance’
Premier League
Prince’s Trust
Prison Fight
protest masculinity
public school
Radcliffe, Paula
radical criminology
rational choice theory
red card
Rice, Ray
right realism
roller blading
roller derby
routine activity
Rugby League
Rugby Union
rural criminology
rural sport
Salazaar, Alberto
Sarkeesian, Anita
Scott, James
Semenya, Caster
serial killers
sexual assault
sexual violence
Shankly, Bill
show jumping
‘sin bin’
social control
social control theory
sociology of sport
South Africa
Simpson, O. J.
situational crime prevention
sky diving
Solo, Hope
sport in prison
‘sportization process’
Sports Based Initiative
sports law
Sports Related Crimes
strain theory
‘Strategic Intentional Fouls’
Streeter, Alison
Suarez, Luis
sub-cultural theory
Super Bowl effect
Tevez, Carlos
Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs)
THG (tetrahydrogestrinone)
The Great Gatsby
Thorne, Willie
three strikes
Tough Mudder
Tour de France
track (and field)
Tyson, Mike
United States
via ferrata
Vick, Michael
video games
Doom, Dota 2, Follow the Money, Grand Theft Auto, Hearthstone, League of Legends Ultra Street Fighter IV, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Tekken Tag Tournament II
volenti non fit injuria
‘voodoo criminology’
Walrave and Koch
‘wanted deviance’
war on drugs
water polo
wheelchair marathon
Wilde, Oscar
Williams, Venus
Woods, Tiger
World Cup
yellow card
zero tolerance
zip wires
‘zombie discipline’
‘zookeepers of deviance’


Monday, 12 October 2015

Sailing - drugs, terrorism, #uppermiddleclasswhitepeopleproblems

According to the BBC’s Sport website ‘Banned substances were found in more than 3,800 samples out of 283,304 tests’ in 2014 according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This represents 1.34% adverse findings. Such findings share some of the same problems as the Crime figures. There is a dark figure of undetected - and histories of unreported or collude at - usage but with aid of science and technology even past usage can now be retrospectively surveilled. The logic of surveillance is such that no doubt WADA will not be happy until it can test all athletes all the time in real time. And many athletes will subscribe to that, giving up their human rights and endangering others.

Readers of my blog will know that, as criminologist, I don’t support the ‘war on drugs’ in society and therefore in sport. This post does not seek to raise again that but to pick up on some issues that piqued my interest in the figures.

Unsurprisingly as large nations China (13,180) and Russia (12,556) have the most tests. China had only 0.4% adverse results, Jamaica none from its 347 tests and 50% from Ukraine (1 of two!). Football was the most tested Olympic sport 31,242 (144 or 0.5% adverse) followed by Athletics 25,830 (261 representing 1% adverse). Again nobody would be surprised that Weightlifting’s failure rate was higher with 1.9% for its 8,806 tests.  More surprising might be Paralympic Sailing which had one of the highest rates of adverse results, with 13%! though this was just for 24 samples with three adverse findings.

My eye however was caught by the failure of two sailors of the 795 tests (0.3% failure) and when trying to find out who they might be stumbled upon yet more interesting stuff serendipitously. Thus we find that Israeli yachtsman, Udi Gal (470 Class) tested positive for finasteride before the Beijing Olympics. Finasteride can be found in baldness cures and was not on WADA’s list until 2005 and was removed in 2008. It was thought to be a masking agent. Zach Lund’s career was nearly ended by suspension for its use. Once a luger he now represents USA in skeleton. He is still bald.

We also learn that another sort of sailor also has problems with drugs. Apparently the Royal Navy drug testing found 63 sailors positive for illegal substances between October 2007 and July 2011.

More off the wall we find Glenn McCarthy’s blog pointing out the indignities of drugs testing but more interestingly the extent of drug taking that will be required of the sailors because of fears for their health in the polluted waters off Rio where their events are held.

But most piquant is the experience of Stop and Search by members of the Royal Yachting Association detailed on this page. They opine:
From the RYA's point of view, we support the UKBA’s work in providing a national surveillance and interception capability to protect the UK from terrorism and criminality, but the RYA believes that the recreational boating public should not routinely be regarded as suspects.

A selection of members experiences are set out. First the bad.
As they approached we were told to hold our course and speed, and before we knew it, three of these guys STORMED over the guard rails, pushed past me in the cockpit and dived straight down below with the third member remaining in the cockpit.
Protestations and questions about had they any rights to do this were greeted with a barked response that absolutely they could do it. All in the demeanour of keep out our road or pay the consequences.
This was a very aggressive, and, if we had been bad guys, I’ll admit, a professional and effective boarding.   But we weren’t bad guys. We were one mid 50’s couple and one mid 60’s cruising to our summer marina in Oban and I don’t think we look like drug runners.
The streets of London come to the Isle of Jura!

Or this suffered by more middle aged people including a University of London professor:
A large rib came alongside, all black, and four individuals jumped on board without a word...  I was very surprised because our new toy, the AIS, had not shown any contacts and we had seen no lights, so was the mother ship transmitting its AIS identity?
My belief is that it was hiding behind the Needles or not transmitting... They started aggressively with "Why did you slow up in the narrows? Where are your passports?" My No. 2 who does not like this sort of thing said, " We didn't know Devon had seceded from England so what are you on about?”

But others toe the party line.
Yes, they are riot police with life jackets, but once aboard and in the cockpit they got on with their job in a pleasant manner, apart from being a little surprised by finding a lone yachtswoman.  …
All I can say to these poor old chaps is, get a perpective on things. With our freedom to sail the seas of Britain comes a responsibility to look out for things that are illegal. These guys can't be expected to know who's aboard, or if you are up to no good or not.
Give'em a break, they are working for you, to keep our nation free of  the scum that bring in drugs.
And more nuanced:
As sailors we have enjoyed freedom of movement without harrassment from officialdom for a long time. Unfortunately the criminal mentality has caught on to this freedom and not unexpectedly taken advantage of it as is evidenced by several recent court cases involving drug runners and illegal immigrants.

If the UK Border Agency are going to adopt a heavy handed attitude due their enormous powers and adopt a bully boy attitude they are  going to lose all support from a section that could well provide them with valuable information. Leisure sailors are unlikely to report suspicious activity if they have recently been harassed by that same agency.
One hates to imagine what would happen if you had a yacht and were black.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Redhead parks a theoretical bus in front of goal

A review of Steve Redhead’s (2015) Football and Accelerated Culture: This Modern Sporting Life Routledge

I’ve tweeted some potted reviews of early chapters of this book and even linked to the video in which the author is interviewed by his wife. Many of these have been retweeted by them.

My first tweet was not RT’d and my last not so far. The first tweet read
engaging chapter 1 really preface/intro with enough music mentions to float @TimNewburn boat but poor index!
More popular were:
Ch2 Football and Accelerated Culture roars down left wing exchanging 1-2s with Baudrillard, Badiou and Virilio. Will score? 
in Ch 3 of Football and Accelerated Culture @steveredhead bigs up his firm (university archive) and 'hits and tells' about #criminology 
also picks out the ‘camp’ in hyper-masculinity #footballaccelaratedculture I’ll claim that for #queercriminology
ch 5 mixes hooligan memoirs with some academic ones of his own - his greatest hits 
mentions @DonalMacIntyre journalism not his professorship 
So far my final tweet has gone unanswered.
What do pages 58 and 74 have in common?
The answer is a very lengthy and identical quote (third of a page) from ‘Pete Walsh, publisher of Milo books’. Readers of subtext might see some criticism in the other tweets too but no subtlety is intended in my complaint about the index. I’ve complained in the past about the index in other titles in Routledge’s Research Sport, Culture and Society series. Rosie Meek’s Sport in Prison is compromised by a poor one but I’ll return to this from time-to-time as the are other complaints and some praise to attend to.

It is appropriate that some of my first thoughts were dashed off quickly on social media and the index has mentions of Twitter on pages, 1, 9, 12-15, 19, 76 and 80 only missing the discussion on page 40 of the campaign demanding justice for the 96 (Hillsborough #jft96). The accelerated culture of Twitter means I can, with sufficient wit, give the impression of deep reading but the slower pace of writing this blog with quill pen by candle light demands more.

I think the book better illustrates the acceleration of culture than football does. I’ve been supporting football less assiduously than Steve and only slightly longer but for all the changes many things have not changed. The length of match and the means of deciding the game have not changed. What has changed is the amount of space (I’m not sufficiently aware of Virilio’s work - and Redhead’s 34 mentions largely assume you are - to know if his dromology covers time and space) given to sport, specifically football. Once only the cup final enjoyed as much pre and post match speculation and analysis but even the most mundane, end-of-season, mid-table match is declared the wonder of our age.

Twitter is quick and this book has been written quickly. I used some football metaphors in my tweets but cricket fits the purpose better here. Cricket has become quicker with a variety of short forms that some blame for the speed of even its full test version. Redhead is found at the crease knocking the bowling of those less versed in high theory to boundary in a series of aperçus, reminiscences and boasts (which might have been demoted to footnotes) about his knowledge, connections and archive.

Tackling that high theory we find that he is attracted to Virilio’s work (but rejecting his idealist phenomenology) and to Baudrillard’s late (in his life and posthumously published) work (31 mentions) and dislikes attempts to position such work as either modern or post modern, preferring the term late modern. Zizek appreciatively mentioned nearly a dozen times.

He knows his criminology and criminologists (nearly 30 mentions but no index entry!) but you will need to them too as he rarely goes beyond a sketch or name check, save for a big shout out to Steve Hall and Simon Winlow’s Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology (TCRC) though not all of TCRC’s mentions are indexed and none of Hall and Winlow’s half dozen citations are indexed. Sociology has no index entry despite nearly 20 mentions.

He deploys terms like Claustropolis, Claustopolitanism and Claustropolitan Sociology extensively and these gets many index mentions and much of this is foreshadowed in his earlier work when at Brighton. From Virilio ‘Claustopolitanism’ is the move from the cosmopolis that classical sociology has studied to the gated (figuratively and metaphorically) ‘communities’ of today that require his Claustropolitan Sociology, ‘or ‘bunker anthropology’.

In addition to the problems with the index and the elliptical nature of some references to high theory and score settling the writing is often unnecessarily dense. Sometimes this in the obscurantist manner of some cultural studies but also, and contrawise (and here I’m aping the style) legalistically with, asides, and conditional legalistic, deemed necessary - but please in another sentence - clauses.

Additionally, and here we are moving on from the speed of the writing, we have the speed of the production. It has clearly not been properly edited or sub-edited and for this I blame his publishers. Thus, in addition to the repeat of the quotes on pages 57 and 74 we find that the term ‘Pete Walsh, publisher of Milo books’ appears six times. The expression ‘What I have called, with a considerable irony’ appears on pages 23, 51 and 67 and again as ‘heavy irony’ on pages 70 and 78. Throughout I found myself thinking I’d already read something in this book or his earlier work which he promotes at length throughout.

But it is not all bad. I’ll quote his work on the ‘camp’ ness of the hyper-masculinity of some of his hooligans (p23) and the queer tone of Morrissey’s love of Georgie Best (p92). I’ll quote too his opinion that sporting mega events will not regenerate Cities but ‘resettle’ them (p80).

I am grateful to learn of ‘physical cultural studies’.
And the football? Quite. There are sometimes long quotes (whole pages!) from the 108 hooligan memoirs covering the years 1987-2014 held at Charles Sturt University which are part of his ‘hit and tell’ project (nearly 20 mentions in book but none in index). Many of the mentions are otiose and repetitive. The contents of the archive are set out in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 matches clubs and their ‘firms’ with the memoirs. A further appendix should have removed the unwieldy list of the ‘firms’ associated with various clubs that take up pages 29-31.

Most chapters start with a claim to link theory to the hooligan memoirs but most involve lengthy theoretical approach work and then some mention of those memoirs, diddling about the box, before shooting wide!

And finally back to the Index. As noted it is short and misses many of the most important topics, subjects and authors but it also includes some random elements. Reference to the Large Hadron Collider does appear on page 17 but only in most aleatory fashion. This book is as much about popular music as it is about football - and I agree with him about the need to treat sport as part of the cultural industries - though it is more about picking fights with fellow theorists, so it is worrying that Happy Mondays lose their second capital in the index though not throughout the text, as do Joy Division yet The Farm and The Hollies get their full appellation and Morrissey acquires his birth initial, ’S’ (and full name in text, p92).

I've torn this book apart. It should be disassembled and put together in a new order with greater eye to detail.  It might then meet Steve Hall's encomium for it:

Redhead’s state-of-the-art exploration of contemporary football culture is bursting with fresh ideas, which he applies with both imagination and precision to his object of study. This trenchant mixture of raw realism and high theory is exactly what is needed to break the study of football culture out of its current ailing paradigms and reset the coordinates for a new trajectory. A genuine pathfinder.