Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Discipline and Indulgence

Discipline and Indulgence: College Football, Media, and the American Way of Life during the Cold War

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 188
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Discipline and Indulgence
    Book Description:

    The early Cold War (1947-1964) was a time of optimism in America. Flushed with confidence by the Second World War, many heralded the American Century and saw postwar affluence as proof that capitalism would solve want and poverty. Yet this period also filled people with anxiety. Beyond the specter of nuclear annihilation, the consumerism and affluence of capitalism's success were seen as turning the sons of pioneers into couch potatoes.InDiscipline and Indulgence, Jeffrey Montez de Oca demonstrates how popular culture, especially college football, addressed capitalism's contradictions by integrating men into the economy of the Cold War as workers, warriors, and consumers. In the dawning television age, college football provided a ritual and spectacle of the American way of life that anyone could participate in from the comfort of his own home. College football formed an ethical space of patriotic pageantry where men could produce themselves as citizens of the Cold War state. Based on a theoretically sophisticated analysis of Cold War media,Discipline and Indulgenceassesses the period's institutional linkage of sport, higher education, media, and militarism and finds the connections of contemporary sport media to today's War on Terror.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6128-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-16)

    On select saturday mornings, our fall ritual began in the parking lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California. A bucket of golden fried chicken and a jug of Dr Pepper went into a bag that my father and I carried across the University of California campus to Memorial Stadium. Measuring and metering of time as we relocated ourselves in space was central to the ritual. The expedition was timed so that we arrived in the stadium just at noon to watch the boys stretch, jog, and cut crazy patterns on the grass as they warmed up...

  5. 2 FORTIFYING THE CITY UPON A HILL: College Football and Cold War Citizenship
    (pp. 17-31)

    In the fall of 1948, Hildegard Binder Johnson published “Football as Seen—An American Vignette” in theAmerican-German Review. Binder Johnson wrote the article as a German immigrant in the United States trying to understand the Midwestern state of Minnesota where she was living and, by extension, all of America. Through her eyes, the colors of the season and the landscape of the Midwest blend with the people as they come together in the stadium. She describes how the flow of people into the stadium “merge into multi-colored pools, and the pools become lakes, and the lakes enlarge until there...

  6. 3 DUCK WALKING THE COUCH POTATO: Exercise as Therapy for a Consumer Society
    (pp. 32-56)

    Inthe affluent society(1958) John Kenneth Galbraith warned that a constant focus on material production would have dire consequences for wealthy societies like the United States.The Affluent Societywas largely a polemic against dominant economic theories that held constant economic growth was necessary to increase social welfare and security. Galbraith responded to the “conventional wisdom” in economics that the overemphasis on material growth created a social imbalance between investment in the private and public sectors and ultimately lowered a nation’s security and quality of life (Kristol 1958). Galbraith put clear voice to the concern that the postwar’s affluence...

  7. 4 THE BEST SEAT IN THE BALLPARK: Lifestyle and the Televisual Event
    (pp. 57-72)

    In 1949popular sciencepublished an article titled “The Best Seat in the Ball Park,” which explains how a team of sports journalists and television broadcast technicians worked together to broadcast a baseball game. The article begins by walking the reader through a typical sequence of shots: camera 2 sets an establishing shot of the field prior to the pitch; switch to camera 3 for a close-up of the batter; as the ball screams into the outfield camera 1 uses a telephoto lens to capture the outfielder’s play on the ball; switch to camera 3 for a sweep across the...

  8. 5 FORDISM IN THE AIRWAVES: The NCAA’s Use of Market Regulations to Control College Athletics
    (pp. 73-92)

    The first football game broadcast on television was played between Fordham University and Waynesburg College on September 20, 1939. Historian Ronald Smith estimates the crowd in attendance was possibly four to five times the size of the television audience that watched what was probably a disappointing broadcast (Smith 2001, 51). In addition to the new medium’s imperfect capabilities (see chapter 4), very few people owned television sets, and the broadcast range was highly limited. The further development and expansion of television broadcasting was then suppressed during the Second World War, and as a result relatively few football games were broadcast...

  9. 6 FROM NEIGHBORHOOD TO NATION: Geographical Imagination of the Cold War in Sports Illustrated
    (pp. 93-112)

    This chapter returns to the relationship of sport, space, and identity introduced in chapter 1 to argue that the coverage of college football inSports Illustrated(SI) in 1954 helped to teach a Cold War geographical imagination. According to Christina Klein (2003), media, including film and print journalism, participated in the U.S. Cold War project by “teaching the Cold War” through the construction of two images of the world that were homologous to the double nature of U.S. foreign policy: containment and integration (see chapters 2 and 3). Two “global imaginaries” were articulated in the media: aheroicimaginary of...

    (pp. 113-130)

    Discipline and indulgencebegan with a personal anecdote about attending football games with my father. Watching football was one of the ways that my father introduced me to and brought me into an interlinked sense of manhood and U.S. citizenship. The anecdote highlights how football games operate as moments of what Clifford Geertz (1973) calls “deep play.” In his analysis of rituals, Geertz suggests that the mobilization of symbols creates performative spaces that are saturated with social meaning outside of the experience of everyday life. At the same time, however, public rituals are also deeply woven into the networks of...

    (pp. 131-132)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 133-142)
    (pp. 143-166)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 167-174)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 175-176)