A Non-Media-Centric Approach to Mediatization: Digital Orientations in the Lives of Football Fans

Michael Skey, Solomon Waliaula


In this article, we argue for the importance of a non-media-centric approach to mediatization. To do this, we develop a theoretical framework that combines Schulz’s influential work on the four dimensions of mediatization with novel insights from the phenomenology of media. The latter foregrounds the significance of practical, embodied forms of mediated knowledge and habit as well as the extent to which media environments become part of the familiar landscapes that people traverse. Using football (or soccer) fans in East Africa as a case study, we show how football-related activities are increasingly orientated toward the schedules and performances of leagues, clubs, and players in Europe and, as a result, become inextricably bound up with, and informed by, media. This approach offers an important means for theorizing both the sport–media nexus and the power of media in the contemporary era.


football, mediatization, Africa, fans, sport, ethnography, practices

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