Critical cultural history and quasi-ethnography of British professional wrestling

PhD Thesis

Boyd, D. 2023. Critical cultural history and quasi-ethnography of British professional wrestling . PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Creative Arts and Industries
AuthorsBoyd, D.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

There has been a wide array of contributions to the study of professional wrestling within historical and contemporary academic discourse. Studies have mostly examined the stylistic, spectatorship and aesthetical qualities of American productions, as well as some level of exploration into varied cultural approaches to the sport such as the offerings of Mexican Lucha Libré. However, despite academic writing existing in the exploration of wrestling fandom and the subcultures that exist from a generalised, collective perspective, little academic discussion has been dedicated to the realm of British professional wrestling,its fandom and the rich historical and cultural significance that has and continues to be exhibited.

This study aims to provide such a contribution, providing the reader with an insight into the unique social qualities present within the United Kingdom professional wrestling scene via the critical exploration and discussion of its history of style and presentation as well as its traditional audiences. This research also seeks to showcase how subcultural identities and practices have evolved over time, including the ways the sport is promoted, fannish factors of enjoyment - both emotionally and linguistically - via use of chants and social rituals at live events within a uniquely British cultural perspective. Furthermore, these processes will be argued as a way of providing collaborative meaning-making and cultural exchange with the international wrestling community as a whole. Furthermore, a deeper understanding of identity factors such as ideology will be sought via the use of the ethnographic method and its various facets, using personal experience and directly engaging with the national wrestling community. This will uncover where passions lie, what the sport means to contemporary audiences, the issues which exist in terms of those continued from previous eras, and new issues as a result of cultural shifts and industry changes.

Lastly, this study will be supplemented with the use of a combination of historical analysis and quasi-ethnographic methods to explore past eras of the sport and its reception, providing a means of contrast to uncover any potential ties that bind or factors which separate both eras and give a comprehensive overview of the sport from a national, British perspective.

KeywordsBritish professional wrestling; Critical cultural history
File Access Level
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Apr 2024
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