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Affective Mythology and 'The Notorious' Conor McGregor: Monomyth, Mysticism and Mixed Martial Arts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Darren KelseyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


There are many ways in which we can interpret the sporting, commercial and personal success of Conor McGregor whose stories, fights and social appearances are analysed in this paper. There are archetypal traits of the hero and the trickster in McGregor’s journey, persona, legacy, and the semiosis that surrounds him through the myth of the fighting Irish, all of which I consider as affective mythologies in their psycho-discursive forms. Prior to this analysis, I revisit the discourse-mythological approach (DMA) whilst accounting for the psycho-discursive framework I developed to analyse affective mythologies. However, I found recurring mystical qualities which called for the expansion of this analytical framework. By analysing the myth of the law of attraction, I argue that a non-reductive materialist approach to mind and consciousness is necessary due to the role of mysticism and ideology in popular culture. Since the study of martial arts requires attention to cultural, political, economic, commercial, psychological, biological and transpersonal phenomena, this paper encourages more radical interdisciplinarity between cultural studies and biological sciences to develop innovative theorisations of culture, ideology and consciousness.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kelsey D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Martial Arts Studies

Year: 2018

Issue: 5

Pages: 15-35

Online publication date: 29/01/2018

Acceptance date: 24/01/2018

Date deposited: 07/03/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2057-5696

Publisher: Cardiff University Press


DOI: 10.18573/mas.47


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