Type of Document Dissertation Author Battenfield, Frederick Lewis URN etd-07092004-103844 Title An Ethnographic Study of the Culture of Communication in the Sports Information Office in a Division I-A Athletic Program Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Sport Management, Recreation Management, and Physical Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Aubrey Kent Committee Chair Cecile Reynaud Committee Member Davis Houck Committee Member Michael Mondello Committee Member Keywords
- Sports Information Directors
- Sport Communication
- Sports Media
- Sport Culture
- Sports Communications
- Sport Ethnography
- Culture of Communication
Date of Defense 2004-06-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe dawning of the “Communication Age” (Lull, 2002), which is the efficient transmission of digitized bits and bytes and also the significance of the entire communication process for ‘real people,’ stimulates two questions: is modern society engrossed in communicating primarily with technology, and has face-to-face communication become obsolete?
Contextualizing these digital age questions into intercollegiate athletics, the purpose of the study was to discover what elements synthesize to form the culture of communication in the Division I-A sports information office. An extensive ethnographic study was utilized to ‘crack the code’ of communication in the SID office. Drawing upon heuristics, or the intense personal experience of the researcher as a framework, this sport ethnography used in-depth participant observation and interviews to discover the verbal, non-verbal and technological communication methods, and also examined the artifacts and rituals of the SID.
An ethnography of communication is the application of ethnographic methods to the communication patterns of a group (Littlejohn, 1999). Three theoretical areas were explored in the literature review: 1) communication theory, 2) how sport culture is created and evolves, and 3) how an ethnography of communication is defined and how it was implemented to conduct the study.
Sands (2002, p. 150) stated, “sport reflects culture and culture reflects sport.” In his book Sport Ethnography, Sands argued that sport has become a dominant part of contemporary human society. He posited, “sport is pervasive and never ceasing, casting giant shadows on other facets of life.”
Five thematic areas of SID culture were identified at the conclusion of the study: 1) Office space fostered a culture of separation, 2) verbal communication was sporadic, rushed and a culture of avoidance was prominent, 3) electronic communication was the preferred method the SID’s used to communicate with each other and the outside world, confirming a major paradigmatic shift in SID culture, 4) non-verbal communication methods were used as interpersonal defense mechanisms, and 5) the analysis of SID rituals and artifacts showed a culture of production, an expectation of immediacy in job performance, paper culture vs. electronic technology and a culture of virtual anonymity for SID’s.
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