Senior Lecturer at Newman University sees first book published

09/03/2018 by Sinead Staunton

Stefan LawrenceStefan Lawrence, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Health at Newman University, Birmingham will see his first book published this autumn.

Stefan has previously worked on a number of research pieces which focus on race, racialisation(s) and racism(s) in sport and leisure, sport for peace and social justice, and critical media studies with his most recent piece looking at racism in the Premier League, which looks at the lack of black coaches and managers and South Asian players.

Stefan is especially interested in exploring football as a cultural phenomenon and has a track record of publishing around football, media, digital culture and fandom.

Stefan’s new publication, Digital Football Cultures: Fandom, Identities and Resistance (Advances in Leisure Studies) looks at the new challenges and opportunities for leisure studies produced as a result of the digital revolution.

Together with Professor Garry Crawford from the University of Salford, Stefan’s research looks at the ways in which football cultures are increasingly bound up with and driven, most notably, by four simultaneous processes: (1) the rapid rate of digital technological development; (2) the accessibility and sharing capabilities of social and mobile media; (3) accelerated levels of digital literacy amongst football fans; and (4) a greater emphasis on informational, as opposed to, consumerist forms of neoliberalism.

Digital Football Cultures: Fandom, Identities and Resistance (Advances in Leisure Studies) argues that the combined effect of these processes is that football’s popularity has been both propelled and undermined. The instrumentalism of, what is known as, hyper-digitalisation has resulted in the emergence of four recognisable trends:

  1. Cultural resistance to the Murdochization of football spectatorship and news.
  2. The integration of the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) at every level of the football industry.
  3. The naturalisation of digital communication across the football industry.
  4. A deep and wide-reaching penetration of deterritorialisation processes.

The research concludes by arguing that we are witnessing clear changes in the way audiences and workforces engage with sport, entertainment, and leisure. Hence, many older industries, including football, are searching for new ways to try to engage with an increasingly digitally literate, fluid and dynamic society who interact relentlessly with ever-present digital interfaces and operating systems.

Both Stefan Lawrence and Professor Garry Crawford conclude that leisure and football studies must develop empirically, methodologically and theoretically to better capture the nature of hyper-digitalised societies and the ways audiences are playing with and shifting the boundaries and possibilities for leisure.

Digital Football Cultures: Fandom, Identities and Resistance (Advances in Leisure Studies) is available for pre-order on Amazon.