Chapter Summary 20 January 2011 From Nike Culture: The Sign of the Swoosh. R. Goldman and S. Papson The chapter begins with the observations that ‘postmodern society is based on information, including advertising’ and that ‘No one entity has taken advertising’s central role in the creation of modern culture as far and as effectively as the Nike Corporation’ (Goldman and Papson 75)…
This message can be summarized as an affirmation of a universal humanity. As the authors recognize, the theme of an inherent conflict in American society between rampant and unrestrained individualism on the one hand, and the desire in some quarters to establish a transcendent sense of community on the other, has already received much discussion, notably by Robert Bellah. This theme ties in with Nike’s advertising campaigns in so far as the corporation has peddled messages of both individual aspiration and success, and individual participation in a game. In interpreting Nike’s message, the authors have construed this game to be ‘a set of rules [in sport] that governs relationships and performance. Within this set of rules everyone is equal. It does not matter who you are but what you do’ (Goldman and Papson 76). Therefore, Nike has recognized that there is a sphere of activity beyond the individual in the form of the ‘game’, and that loving this game is a key aspect of modern culture. At the same time, the authors suggest that the presence of two other forces – money and media – constantly threaten to devalue the role of the game in modern society. ...
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