Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Fall 2015

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Christopher C. Morphew

Abstract

Intercollegiate athletics is a very important part in American higher education both financially and symbolically. One of the most distinct features of college sports is athletic mascots and nicknames of colleges and universities represent not only the athletic programs but also the whole institutions and communities. As they were deeply ingrained in American culture, some colleges and universities maintained Native-American themed mascots. Scholars and activists criticized the use of these mascots due to offensiveness and racial stereotyping. After the criticisms and the sanctions by the National Collegiate Athletics Association in 2005, many abandoned or modified the mascots in a more politically correct way. In case of Florida State University (FSU), however, the university could avoid the possible nickname change mainly because of the endorsement by the Seminole tribe in Florida.

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the roles of the Native American nickname and the mascot (the Seminoles and Chief Osceola) at the Florida State University as organization builders for the university. The following research questions framed this study: (a) What organizational roles have the Seminoles nickname and Chief Osceola mascot played at Florida State University and what can these roles tell us about the organizational trajectories of the university? (b) Do the nickname and mascot and their use correspond to the conceptual framework of “invented tradition?” If so, what is the utility of this framework in understanding the role these traditions play at the university?

Qualitative data sources for this case study were collected from informal observations, documents, and semi-structured in-depth interviews. I reviewed how FSU’s football and its Native-American mascot and nickname played a huge role in the process of institutional growth and development from a small regional women’s college to a research-oriented, flagship state university, utilizing Eric Hobsbawm and Tony Collins’s framework of “invented traditions".

Public Abstract

Intercollegiate athletics is a very important part in American higher education. One of the most distinct features of college sports is athletic mascots and nicknames of colleges and universities represent not only the athletic programs but also the whole institutions and communities. As they were deeply ingrained in American culture, some colleges and universities maintained Native-American themed mascots. Scholars and activists criticized the use of these mascots due to offensiveness and racial stereotyping.

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the roles of the Native American nickname and the mascot (the Seminoles and Chief Osceola) at the Florida State University as organization builders for the university. The following research questions framed this study: (a) What organizational roles have the Seminoles nickname and Chief Osceola mascot played at Florida State University and what can these roles tell us about the organizational trajectories of the university? (b) Do the nickname and mascot and their use correspond to the conceptual framework of “invented tradition?” If so, what is the utility of this framework in understanding the role these traditions play at the university?

Qualitative data sources for this case study were collected from informal observations, documents, and semi-structured in-depth interviews. I reviewed how FSU’s football and its Native-American mascot and nickname played a huge role in the process of institutional growth and development from a small regional women’s college to a research-oriented, flagship state university, utilizing Eric Hobsbawm and Tony Collins’s framework of “invented traditions”.

Keywords

publicabstract, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, FOOTBALL, NATIVE AMERICAN MASCOT

Pages

xi, 193 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 173-193).

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Dong Hyuk Shin

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