Proceedings Journal Article — The Hyper-Real Enemy & Spectator-Sport Warfare in the West: The U.S.-Iraq War Paradox — by Atossa Movahedi


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War and sports have always been close bed fellows. Winning is valued so highly in American sport culture, argues Ian Robertson (1997), thatplaying of a game has taken a secondary role. “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing,” is a slogan which has captured every aspect of sportsmanship. One may argue that in Olympic Games, nations engage in nothing but a symbolic war. Changing the actual war into television sport has many social and psychological functions. It makes it easy for people to identify with their home team. It makes people feel good about themselves as a fan of a winning team. It converts the violent nature of war into some health driven sport activity. It robs the war of itsreality of death and destruction by casting it in into a TV fantasy narrative in which actors die in one scene only to be resurrected to play adifferent role in the next scene. The Western experience of war has been one through a protective bubble, and I argue that it has desensitized individuals to the actual horror and destruction of war. This paper will show how the current U.S.-Iraq war demonstrates this notion of spectator-sport warfare.

Recommended Citation

Movahedi, Atossa. 2005. “The Hyper-Real Enemy & Spectator-Sport Warfare in the West: The U.S.-Iraq War Paradox.” Pp. 309-314 in Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations: Proceedings of the Second Annual Social Theory Forum, April 6-7, 2005 (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 7, Issues 1&2, Fall/Spring 2005). Double-Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.

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