Sport has been a major strategic cultural practice used by Western allies to encourage citizens to support and ‘thank’ their governments’ military actors. This increasingly visible intersection of sport and militarism occurred simultaneously alongside the development of propaganda departments by the American and Canadian governments seeking to use sport (and other popular cultural activities) to communicate consent for their respective military actors and actions. The United Kingdom (UK) has witnessed many of these campaigns being replicated with a wide range of popular culture practices being utilized to provide public performances of support for its nation’s military personnel. This article critically analyzes “support the troops” rhetoric in the UK by discussing a selection of official sporting and political articulations. Of significance is the extent to which those coordinating numerous support strategies for military-related violence (and its political rationale) have incorporated the language and symbolism of UK military-related remembrance, which historically has been viewed as a sorrowful and sombre reflection on the mass slaughter of millions during two world wars. The significance and centrality of on-the-surface-apolitical communication in and of sport as a form of ideological inculcation is illustrated.
- critical discourse analysis (CDA)