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Book cover: Studies in Symbolic Interaction

Studies in Symbolic Interaction

ISSN: 0163-2396
Series editor(s): Professor Norman Denzin

Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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(Not) Writing about the chief

Document Information:
Title:(Not) Writing about the chief
Author(s):David Roediger
Volume:34 Editor(s): Norman K. Denzin ISBN: 978-1-84950-960-2 eISBN: 978-1-84950-961-9
Citation:David Roediger (2010), (Not) Writing about the chief, in Norman K. Denzin (ed.) Studies in Symbolic Interaction (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Volume 34), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.169-182
DOI:10.1108/S0163-2396(2010)0000034012 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item

In 2003 I published in the excellent local independent left zine, Public I, the article reprinted after this headnote. Three remarks serve to introduce it. The first is that I personally can scarcely remember ever having not listened to sports-talk radio. My understanding is that the genre is just over four decades old and that is how long I have listened. On all levels I take it very seriously. The second is that this article represents an instance in which a corner of my academic knowledge, even theory, did seem able to speak to the needs of the anti-Chief movement. Finally, the article in general ways informed two bits of practice, one completely ill-fated, if not noteworthy for its backfiring, and the other slightly successful. The ill-fated one occurred in the brief period when I was in close touch and frequent meetings with administrators and some faculty leaders. At every opportunity I argued that if the university leadership seriously wanted to be rid of the Chief, it needed to question its relationship to the flagship station of University of Illinois sports, WDWS. To allow wild tirades against opponents of the Chief to serve as lead-ins for broadcasts of university sporting events was, I argued, pathetic even by the standards of company towns, let alone those of serious thinkers. When I raised the issue to administrators, nervous laughter and quick subject changes always followed my remarks. If I succeeded at all it was in conveying how influential sports-talk radio actually is. In any case hyper-cordial visits from administration spokespersons to an unreconstructed WDWS are now the order of the day.

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