NASCAR, Sturgis, and the New Economy of Spectacle


NASCAR, Sturgis, and the New Economy of Spectacle maps the structure of economies of spectacle in stock car racing and large displacement motorcycle rallying. The book traces the historical development of economic spectacles and models the structural components and moving parts that sustain them. Economies of spectatorship emerge when activities and legends in the cultural commons are privatized or enclosed as immaterial property. Once privatized, a spectacular diegesis supports a triple-circuit of profit: spectatorship markets (payments to see), sponsorship markets (payments to be seen) and trophy markets (payments to be seen enjoying). Vivid illustrations of legendary action in NASCAR and carnivalesque displays at Sturgis reveal how spectator events function as intensive sites of profit-making in contemporary capitalism.
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Biographical Note

Daniel Krier (Ph.D. Kansas) is associate professor of Sociology at Iowa State University. His writings on critical theory and political economy include Speculative Capitalism: Stock Market Power and Corporate Change (W.H. Freeman & Co., 2005) and the co-edited volume Capitalism’s Future: Alienation, Emancipation and Critique (Brill 2016). William J. Swart (PhD Kansas) is professor of Sociology and Director of the Civitas Honors Program at Augustana University. His articles on critical theory, social movements and identities have appeared in The Sociological Quarterly, Current Perspectives in Social Theory, and Critical Sociology.

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgements List of Figures and Tables 1. A Historical Sociology of Spectacle: Economics and the Changing Modalities of the Carnivalesque 2. Economies of Spectacle and Micro-Primitive Accumulation: A Tale of Two Cities 3. The Structure of Economies of Spectacle 4. Paying to See: Spectator Markets, the Outlaw Biker Legend and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 5. Paying to be Seen: Sponsorship Markets, Branding and the Management of Legends 6. Paying to be Seen Enjoying: Trophy Markets, Display and Surplus Enjoyment 7. Dark Spectacle: Authoritarianism and the Aestheticization of Economics 8. The Future of Economic Spectacles: Virtual Augmentation and the Dialects of Aura References Index


This book will appeal to those interested in spectacle, capitalism, critical theory, political authoritarianism, immaterial production and the culture industry in the fields of sociology, philosophy, marketing studies and cultural studies.