Anatomy of a Spectacle: Race, Gender, and Memory In the Kobe Bryant Rape Case

Sociology of Sport Journal 2006, 23, 396-418

Posted: 30 Dec 2015

See all articles by Jonathan Markovitz

Jonathan Markovitz

American Civil Liberties Union, San Diego and Imperial Counties

Date Written: January 1, 2006

Abstract

This article argues that coverage of the Kobe Bryant rape case illuminated bitter divisions in American society, because the allegations against Bryant brought forth tensions involving conceptions of Black masculinity, White femininity, and the role of sport and celebrity in public life. The divisions laid bare by the Bryant case involve long histories of discursive contests waged by social movements and state actors over the meanings of categories of race and gender. I argue that these struggles have influenced public understandings of history; that contemporary understandings of race, gender, and crime are very much indebted to rhetorical battles fought long ago; and that invocations of collective memory can help to determine how various audiences make sense of public dramas unfolding in the mass media.

Keywords: Race, Rape, Lynching, Spectacle, Rape Reform, Collective Memory

Suggested Citation

Markovitz, Jonathan, Anatomy of a Spectacle: Race, Gender, and Memory In the Kobe Bryant Rape Case (January 1, 2006). Sociology of Sport Journal 2006, 23, 396-418 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2708701

Jonathan Markovitz (Contact Author)

American Civil Liberties Union, San Diego and Imperial Counties ( email )

San Diego, CA
United States

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