Spirituality and Basketball Fanship: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Synthesis

Article


Balcaite, Elena, Edwards, Stephen D. and Buscombe, R. 2015. Spirituality and Basketball Fanship: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Synthesis. Journal of Sporting Culture and Identities. 6 (3), pp. 39-52.
AuthorsBalcaite, Elena, Edwards, Stephen D. and Buscombe, R.
Abstract

The world of competitive sport affords an individual the opportunity to enter a spiritual community
adding meaning that transcends one’s current understanding of life (Parry et al. 2007). Previously
established dimensions of sports fanship (group affiliation, psychological commitment and team
identification) share characteristics commonly associated with religious or spiritual affiliation
indicating that fans may generate substantial life meaning from observing sporting encounters. In the
present study, 12 male basketball fans (M=32.42; SD=7.97) completed semi-structured interviews
immediately prior to viewing a competitive match at the 2011 European Basketball Championships
(Vilnius, Lithuania). Interviews were structured under four headings; 1) the most memorable moment
as a basketball fan, 2) thoughts, feelings and emotions attached to their team, 3) affiliation to the team
in the context of the fan’s meaning of life, 4) connection with members of the fan’s sporting community.
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was employed to analyse interview transcripts. Raw data
clustered into four dimensions; 1) devotion, 2) obscure emotions, 3) connectedness, and 4) universal
values. The results indicate that sports fanship is characterised by, and synonymous with, an established
understanding of spirituality derived from membership of wider spiritual and/or religious communities.
The findings hold implications for the marketing and membership of local, amateur and professional
sports clubs and brands, as well as community development, health and welfare.

JournalJournal of Sporting Culture and Identities
Journal citation6 (3), pp. 39-52
Year2015
PublisherCommon Ground
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY
Publication dates
Print23 Jul 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Mar 2016
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85549

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