More than just a game: A scoping review considering the impact of sporting fandom upon occupational identity
The occupations which we engage in have been consistently shown to influence and shape every facet of who we are, a concept referred to as occupational identity. Prominent conceptualisations of occupational identity display three distinct themes; assumptions towards freedom of occupational choice, an individualistic outlook within identity and consideration of productivity pertaining to work. Criticisms towards these conceptualisations call for consideration of collective identities and barriers to freedom of choice. Leisure based occupations are proposed to influence occupational identity particularly significantly. Consequently, sporting fandom was considered due to the inherently collective identity and potential to investigate barriers to occupational choice. Furthermore, despite the significant impact of sporting fandom upon identity and the considerable collective population of sports fans within the United Kingdom, sporting fandom remains poorly considered within occupational science and occupational identity literature. Consequently, a scoping review was conducted to facilitate consideration of the impact of sporting fandom upon identity, before contrasting these findings with underpinning occupational identity theory. 3 primary themes outlining the impact of sporting fandom upon identity emerged from the selected literature, pertaining to the emotional domain whereby the collective is formed, the cognitive domain which reflects productivity and the symbolic domain, influencing social values. Contrast of emergent themes within the scoping review with underpinning occupational identity theory demonstrated prominent correlations between collective identity and productivity. Collective identity generated within fandom was established to elicit a sense of belonging, in turn forming life meaning, reinforcing the need to develop understanding of this concept and replicate this in practice. Productivity within fandom was demonstrated through competence and social roles, reflecting a need to reconsider occupational categories due to the intertwined nature of leisure and productivity. Additionally, the potential utilisation of sporting fandom to consider both collective occupational identity and barriers to occupational choice was demonstrated.