An Investigation Into the Social Complexity of Sporting Nationalisms during the British and Irish Lions tour of 2013.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This thesis is broadly concerned with the role that international sport plays in the construction and representation of national identity, Wales in particular. It addresses the complex relationship between sport and nationalism through an investigation into how these sporting nationalisms are created, firstly, to symbolise nations and national character. Secondly, it addresses how national-states such as the United Kingdom uses sports to foster a British sense of nationalism and how the agglomeration of four different nations and cultures interact during the British and Irish Lions. The complex nature of these interactions will be examined with reference to the concepts of 'imagined communities', 'invented traditions' and the exposition of national habitus codes. This was achieved through the focus group discussions, collecting qualitative data and categorising their thoughts/views into general themes. The results demonstrated how Wales have used rugby as a signifier of national character to mask over the internal division within the nation and its communities. The main sources of the Welsh identity were examined through examining habitus codes. The findings showed that although Welsh fans engage in supporting British sporting teams and its 'unified' image, it is mostly through an unobstructed view of their single national identity – that the deep, underlying 'I/we/us' relations come to surface during the Lions, especially through the external threats such as biased team selections during the Lions tour.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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