And the Crowd Goes Wild: Fan Participation as Epideictic Rhetoric

By Jeremy Schnieder.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a sport fan, it is easy to get caught up in the mood of the crowd leading to various forms of unexpected behavior. Being a part of the crowd can also lead to judicial decisions and civil action. Epideictic rhetoric, the rhetoric of praise and blame, is traditionally connected to official settings and formal situations as a means of unifying a community. However, drawing on the behavior of hockey fans demonstrates that fan behavior is actually a form of epideictic rhetoric. Not only are fans taught the favored virtues of the sport and community, but these virtues then become tools for official decision processes beyond the sporting arena, particularly through the metaphor of sports in conjunction with the rhetoric of inclusion and exclusion. The implications of this classification of fan behavior lies not only in an emphasized importance of fans, but also in the relevance of the common fan to judicial and deliberative acts. Specifically, the actions of fans once thought to be momentary and situated can now take their place as social movement.

Keywords: Hockey Fans, Epideictic Rhetoric, Fan Behavior

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.253-262. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 601.027KB).

Dr. Jeremy Schnieder

PhD Candidate, Rhetoric and Writing Program, Morningside College, Bowling Green, Iowa, USA

Throughout a career of teaching first-year composition and writing center administration, I developed an interest in writing assessment and writing studies. As part of this interest I study the interaction of tool use and communal values in situated settings. However, I also maintain a not-so-secret identity as an avid fan for virtually all levels of hockey. The two have co-existed in the classroom and in the arena, though it was while watching students play on local and collegiate teams that I realized these two identities are far from separate.