112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

The Immortalization of David Beckham

Juan Pablo Bustos, University of California, Riverside

In sports, when a person says that they want to “leave a mark” in anything, it indicates that they have created a postself. The postself is when a person becomes concerned as to how he or she will be remembered or “immortalized” in history. This paper will examine David Beckham’s postself in his autobiographies Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography (2004) and the self titled David Beckham (2014).

Proposal: 

       Often times we hear people say that they want to “leave their mark”. The only way in which this will be accomplished is through an achievement. When it comes to the world of sports, it is no surprise that this phrase is commonly used. Once a person says that they want to “leave a mark” in anything, it indicates that they have created a postself about themselves. The postself is “an idealized role-identity that links the present to the future and to the past” (Schmitt and Leonard II). In other words, the creation of the postself is when a person becomes concerned as to how he or she will be remembered or “immortalized” in history. Whether or not a person follows sports, society has a tendency to “immortalize” ordinary people based on what they have achieved or done and it is this immortalization of the postself that allows them to become icons.

       There are four basic things that contribute to the postself: “opportunity for role-support, engrossment through participation and communication, comparison through measurement and records, and recognition through awards and commemorative devices” (Schmitt and Leonard II). Role-support is when an “actor” (the athlete) will be supported by an “audience” (friends and family, fans, coaches, trainers, sportswriters, etc.) who are concerned with what they may say or do. Since the world of sports is able to reach out to millions of people around the world, the athletes are aware that their talents are what can generate role-support. In order for the postself to have social importance, it must engross itself through participation and communication. In other words, the person has to be highly involved in order to stand out. This allows the participants in professional sports, to participate and connect with the common perspectives that the person exposes about themselves.

        On May 18, 2013, David Beckham ended his twenty year soccer career. During this time, he proudly wore the shirts of Manchester United, Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and England. Using two of his autobiographies, Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography (2004) and the self titled David Beckham (2014), this paper aims to examine his postself as one of the world’s most decorated soccer players in sport’s history.    

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