Soccer, South Africa and celebrity status:Mark Fish, popular culture and the post-apartheid state

Bolsmann, Christian and Parker, Andrew (2007). Soccer, South Africa and celebrity status:Mark Fish, popular culture and the post-apartheid state. Soccer and society, 8 (1), pp. 109-124.

Abstract

The rise of celebrity culture is a theme that has attracted a significant amount of attention within both mainstream sociology and cultural studies in more recent times. Ensuing debate has identified contemporary sports figures as an important facet of the celebrity‐media nexus and as possible signifiers of cultural change. In this paper we take one particular sports celebrity, South African soccer star Mark Fish, and evaluate his image in relation to debates surrounding sport, politics and the post‐apartheid state. We argue that because Fish appears to enjoy all the benefits of celebrity status (within his home country at least), an analysis of his career and identity provide a useful means by which to think about the changing political and nationalistic values within South African society.

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