Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Advisor

Katz, Steven B

Committee Member

Billings , Andrew C

Committee Member

Williams , Sean D

Abstract

Fantasy football has emerged as a male-bonding experience of our online age. In understanding the formation of a rich rhetorical community, a close examination of how these fantasy football communities represent the larger culture is required. This thesis uses Ernest Bormann's theoretical framework of fantasy theme analysis to examine how the sharing of group fantasies creates a symbolic convergence. Once symbolic convergence has occurred, group members are then able to share rhetorical visions that shape their world's view. In the case of this thesis, Bormann's methods have been modified to better understand the small group dynamics of fantasy football participants.
This thesis examines the Fantasy Fairies Futbol Club, which consists of 12 managers who all share the same rhetorical vision. Coding of the Fantasy Fairies Futbol Club's messages revealed the majority of the terms mentioned deal with references to individuals. Dividing messages into their relationship to the fantasy league, the real world, and places in between reveals an overwhelming use of 'I' and 'me' but nothing noting the plurality of an actual team. The coded message content also shows that the topic is the team manager's emotional investment and never about the actual NFL players' emotional investments, showing how each member sees himself as the most important character in this rhetorical vision. This emotional individual involvement helps the members construct a vibrant community that is perpetuated through the group's characters, dramas, settings, and plots. The results of this study suggest that the competitiveness and camaraderie of the ongoing drama exists in the overarching subculture of fantasy football players.

Included in

Communication Commons

Share

COinS