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Sporting celebrities are not regularly discussed within the broader realms of sociological debate. Yet that is not to say that their identities cannot offer insight into wider patterns of cultural change. Indeed, it is our contention within this paper that the reverse is true: that analyses of the autobiographical details of contemporary sports figures represent key sites through which cultural change can be viewed. To this end, we take one sporting icon of the present time, soccer star David Beckham, and assess his popular cultural image in terms of its contribution to debates surrounding identity, consumption, and the social construction of masculinities. Our central thesis is that while Beckham affords all the hallmarks of celebrity status, his identity remains both fluid and negotiable in accordance with the role and audience he seeks to address and the ends he seeks to achieve.

Original publication




Journal article


Sociology of Sport Journal

Publication Date





214 - 231