David Beckham and the changing (re)presentations of English identity
John Harris, Kent State University, Kent, USA
Ben Clayton, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, High Wycombe, UK
International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing 2(3) 2007, 208 - 221
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.