In an era when games at the elite level are sports entertainment businesses many of the elite performers in different industries have evolved into celebrities: they exist as images, icons and brands whose every thought, action, change of style or partner is commodified and consumed. This article reports on one aspect of a research project that was funded by the Australian Football League (AFL) to explore the emergence and evolution of a `professional identity' for AFL footballers. Drawing on Foucault's later work on the care of the Self we focus on the ways in which player identities are governed by coaches, club officials, and the AFL Commission/Executive; and the manner in which players conduct themselves in ways that can be characterized as professional — or not. The article explores the roles of Player Development Managers (PDMs) in emerging processes of risk and player management that can be seen as intrusive in players' lives. The research we report on produced evidence of tensions between the paternalistic, profiling and reporting elements of various risk management practices at the Club level — in an environment where what it means to be a professional footballer is taking on new forms.
Field of Research
160805 Social Change
Socio Economic Objective
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society