Identity Construction and Socialisation in a University Football team.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The following study aimed to explore how the identities of male university footballers were constructed and how the values and beliefs of the club affected them. An ethnographical approach was used to collect data, generating observational field notes from social events, training sessions and match days. Semi-structured interviews were also produced to gain rich information regarding the participants’ experiences of identity construction. An additional focus group was conducted to present a discussion, in an attempt to highlight the different views represented by members in different positons on the hierarchical scale within the club. The interviews and focus group were then transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis, producing four main themes: First Impressions; Hierarchy and Traditions of the club; Sharing experiences with others and the impact of knowing people and Acceptance Criteria. Previous literature of Goffman (1969), Donnelly and Young (1988) and Parker (2001) presented a guidance into interpreting the data. This framework helped to reveal that individuals go through a process of socialisation where the values and beliefs of a subculture are learnt, resulting in identity being reshaped to agree with both the official and unofficial norms. Future research should examine the presocialisation stage where candidates attempt to gain information about a subculture prior to joining it. This will highlight the process individuals go through during this stage and the impact this has on overall acceptance.