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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Filipino ringside community: National identity and the heroic myth of Manny Pacquiao
by Costello, Margaret Louise, M.A., Georgetown University, 2009, 97; 1464814
Abstract (Summary)

One of the main parallels between sport and national identity is that they are both maintained by ritual and symbolism. In the Philippine context, the spectator sport of boxing has grown to be a phenomenon in recent years, perhaps owing to the successive triumphs of contemporary Filipino pugilists in the international boxing scene. This thesis focuses on the case of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao whose matches bring together contemporary Philippine society into a “ringside community”, a collective united by its support of a single fighter bearing the brunt for the nation.

I assert that Pacquiao’s stature has transcended that of the sports realm, as he is constructed as a national (i.e., not just sport) hero. As such, I study this phenomenon in two ways. The first part of my analysis focuses on how a narrative of heroism has been instilled in Philippine society through the active promotion of its past heroes. Inherent to this study’s discussion of the Filipino ringside community and heroism is the notion of the habitus. Defined by Pierre Bourdieu as a set of inculcated dispositions which generate practices and perceptions, “a present past that tends to perpetuate itself into the future by reactivation in similarly structured practices” (Bourdieu, 6), the concept of habitus can be directly applied to how the need for a heroic narrative has been inculcated within Philippine contemporary society.

The second part of my analysis looks at how this narrative is manifested in contemporary Philippine society, as the heroic phenomenon of Pacquiao primarily passes through mediated discourse. With this in mind, I focus on the concepts of national heroism through an analysis of various, primarily news, texts. Using the method of Critical Discourse Analysis as a guide to analyze these texts, I assert that the construction of his heroic persona occurs through a dual process of naming him as a hero and framing him within a particular context that needs one.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dedaic, Mirjana
Commitee: Turner, Jeanine
School: Georgetown University
Department: Communication, Culture & Technology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 47/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Mass communications
Publication Number: 1464814
ISBN: 978-1-109-15940-0
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