Title: David Beckham and the changing (re)presentations of English identity

Authors: John Harris, Ben Clayton

Addresses: Gym Annex 263E, School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA. ' Faculty of Leisure and Tourism, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, Kingshill Road, High Wycombe HP13 5BB, UK

Abstract: David Beckham is, arguably, the most high profile association football player in the world, securing global media interest in all aspects of his life. Contradiction and inconsistencies are prevalent within the narratives that accompany the conflicting images of Beckham where media discourse has been adjusted to position him as both hero and villain. This paper examines the inconstant nature of the nationalistic and masculine discourses applied to Beckham and the diversity of roles played by him in upholding and distorting ideologies in sport. Beckham has become a cultural icon and a symbol of national identity and masculinised sporting pride. Yet many of his exploits, both on and off the pitch, have led to allegations of non-conformity. His role, therefore, is a complicated one as he is both symbol of, and an exception to, conceptualisations of Englishness and of the hegemonic model of masculinity.

Keywords: David Beckham; national identity; media; association football; soccer; English identity; England; image; roles; sporting pride; masculinity; press; sport.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2007.012401

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2007 Vol.2 No.3, pp.208 - 221

Available online: 11 Feb 2007

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