If you see John Sherry at a Notre Dame tailgate or two Saturday, remember that it's only for the sake of research.
Sherry, a Notre Dame marketing professor and cultural anthropologist, has spent the past two years leading a first-of-its-kind study about American culture and tailgating.
"We've been invited to hundreds of tailgates as we move through the fields and lots," he says, noting how the research has been based on Notre Dame's campus. "It's a wonderful venue to study people, and people are happy to share their enthusiasm."
His research reveals that tailgating builds community, nurtures tradition, and contributes to a university's brand. Assistant marketing professor Tonya Bradford and a group of student research assistants have helped out with the research.
We'll be discussing the study and its results in more detail in a future column.
"It's one of those things where an interesting event is happening right under your own nose, but you're so close you don't really pay attention to it," Sherry says. "But after years of dodging through the parking lot to get to my seat in the stadium, it seemed like a fascinating phenomenon."