Popular Entertainments and the Spectacle of Bleeding

Lucy Nevitt


This article considers the spectacle of bleeding in two popular entertainment forms: professional wrestling and the sport of rugby union. It explores the conventions and spectatorial expectations attached to blood and bleeding through an analysis of the concept of cheating. What happens when actual bloodshed forms part of an entertainment narrative? What are the particular contracts involved in deliberate bleeding or in seeing others deliberately bleed? Is it possible to bleed untruthfully or inauthentically, and what might the answers to this question tell us about the conventions of truth, authenticity and popular performance? Lucy Nevitt is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of the West of England, UK. Her particular research interests are in violence in and as performance.

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Popular Entertainment Studies ISSN 1837-9303