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Sport in society analysis: Invictus

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Kingsley Francis

on 2 June 2015

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Transcript of Sport in society analysis: Invictus

Sport in Society
Sport a tool of power?

Underlying Perspective:
Conflict Theory Linked to Racism
Conflict theory inspires research and discussion on how sports perpetuate power and privilege of elite groups in society and serve as tools of exploitation and oppression

• White privilege
• Access to white privilege equals freedom

Stigmatisation Linked to Interactionist Theory
Interactionist theory is essentially the study of how individuals act within society. It explains how society is created and maintained through social interaction. This social interaction can come from sport. A social construction that is linked to the interactionist theory is Stigmatisation. (Lauer, R. H., & Handel, W. H. (2007).
The Formation of Rugby League
Women & Rugby
Initial attempts of women playing rugby were met with outrage due to gender roles and views of masculinity (Little, 2001).
What is your understanding of white privilege?

White Privilege: What is it?

• ‘A right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.’

• ‘A knapsack of unearned assets of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.’

1) Historical Perspective
2) Racism
3) Stigmatisation
4) Sport as a tool of power

Aim today:
Analyze the use of sporting
Mega events
in global
as a tool to
Influence society
and bring about change.

Questions to help explore the aim:
Why are governments involved in sponsoring and controlling sports?
What is the role of sporting mega events in global politics?
Critical theory
Unity and Nationalism
Mega events can be implemented as a
political tool
to reproduce favored ideology and change (Hiller, H. 2000).

Consider... Prevailing ideology isn't always fair.


This can be problematic particularly in the absence of democracy.
Literature suggests that the Olympics have provided oppressive governments, the tool to reposition or produce a certain public image through sport e.g. Nazi Germany (Maguire, J. 2011; Grix & Houlihan, 2013) and Seoul (Black and Van Der Westhuizen, 2004).

By: Ben, Hudson, Kingsley and Krystal
White Privilege in Sport:
Racism Study
• Racism is part of the white norm within sport
• Racism on the field and terraces
• Rationalized it as ‘Heat of the Moment’(Long & Hylton, 2002)
• Had to accept this or they would lose concentration
• Example of white privilege
• White people carry unearned privileges because of their skin colour.
• ‘White Privilege equals freedom’

White Privilege in Sport:
Joe Paterno
• Football
• Study – Joe Paterno’s Death “Breaking News”
• Last 2 months in the media
- Sexual abuse allegations, Fired from Penn State Nittany Lions

• Would this be the same treatment for a cultured person?

• White privilege focus
o Fear of the loss of white masculinity
o White patriarchy
o The medias deception of black athletes

Berlin, 1936
Critical theorist’s explain that sports act as sites in which culture is produced and reproduced.

Sport plays an important role in how societies define themselves and others (Elder, C., Pratt, A., & Ellis, C. 2006).

Sporting mega-events can be seen as a tool that can be used in the symbolic
construction or reconstruction of a nations image

The movie portrays the idea that mega-events have the capacity to
bring people together
(bridge ethnic divide) and create national unity.
The Nazi regime sought to use the
Olympics as a platform
to increase its popularity inside the country while at the same time disguising the true nature of the regime to the global population (Kessler, M. 2011).

What is to gain by exercising cultural change or creating a perceived cultural change to the international community?
i.e. accepting of Jews during the Olympics.
1895 - 22 clubs broke away from the Rugby Football Union and formed the Northern Rugby Football Union
Split was caused due to disputes over compensation for missing work
Northern Rugby Football Union eventually changed its name to Northern Rugby Football League. Rugby Football Union banned all players who played in the NRFL
The 80's and 90's was a period of monumental shift as official rugby bodies for women are formed and the first women's rugby world cup also takes place.

Now one of the fastest growing sports for women (USA Rugby, 2015).
Apartheid & Rugby
Apartheid was the racial segregation of South African society
Rugby was viewed as a symbol of apartheid as a result of its links with white nationalism, military and police.
Apartheid policy resulted in other countries refusing to tour South Africa and eventually led to South Africa being banned for the first two Rugby World Cups in 1987 & 1991
Stigma, Sport & Society
Experiences of Athlete Facing Stigma-A Case Study
Stigma: Implications
Changes to the structure of club ownership, club finance, and human (i.e. player) resource management have certainly been marked. Rugby union's rules, the scheduling of its matches, its spectator base and the requirements placed on match officials are being transformed. It would not be inaccurate to say, therefore, that for many the ethos of the game has changed significantly (Malcolm, Sheard & White, 2000, p.85).
In 1995 the Rugby Football Union Board in conjunction with International Rugby Board decided to open up Rugby Union to professionalism
Professionalism allowed players to be paid and transfer between codes
Stigmatisation is a socially constructed viewpoint that helps to explain "extreme disapproval of (or discontent with) a person or group on socially characteristic grounds that are perceived, and serve to distinguish them, from other members of a society. " Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2001).
Key issue
What is Stigmatisation?
Who Can Stigmatisation
Stigma can affect anyone , from various ethnic and cultural groups, social classes to someone with a physical or mental disability. Even people suffering from various illnesses can be subject to stigma. (Goffman, E. (2009).
Social class stigma (viewed as second rate citizens because of their social status).
Cultural background and ethnicity (racism).
Consider here:

Isolated, lost, distant from society (unnecessary and ill informed judgement)
uncomfortable in their own skin (feeling shame to be who you or what you stand for). Essentially embarrassed for who you are.
Exclusion from basic rights and opportunities (sport, work, schooling, health care).

Implications Stemming
from Film
"Coloured" Africans not afforded time and opportunity to participate in rugby games/organisations (as seen at start of film. They are seen as predominantly lower class)
Stigma that both the coloured Africans and White Africans at first seem hesitant to work together in the Presidential House
Relations do improve and stigma broken down towards end of film-security guards and all social classes celebrate together in stadium.
Major focus on race but underlying stigma can be present in the form of physical, mental and health-disease related (HIV/AIDS in particular in South Africa).
Detailed above could be some of the underlying motives other than race for the stigmatisation of the "coloured" Africans in the film.
Essentially the judgement of a group of persons based upon how they look, act and function in society.

Walk the Line
Examples from the movie:
Being a white sportsperson gives you an advantage.
Having white skin is a form of racism.
Sport is used by governments as a tool to promote favored ideology.
The symbolism of Cathy Freeman lighting the flame at the Sydney Olympics reflected underlying political goals of Reconciliation and Unity.
Should women's rugby have equal representation to men's rugby in the media.
Education on stigma is a topic that is often neglected by members of the public.
Person's from lower social classes should not be afforded the opportunity to play certain sports.
Link to contemporary Society
More recently ... consider Sydney 2000 and our poster girl:
Cathy Freeman
- Why Cathy?
Creates this idea of using sporting mega-events at a political level to influence perceptions of society and exercise a perceived cultural change.
Consider here:
goal of government?

Drummond, M. (2015)
Nationalism: accepting: diverse nation identity
role model
Bridge ethnic divide
Positive cultural reproduction of:
Social Sphere (togetherness)
Chester Williams- 1995 World Cup Squad.
Only "Coloured"African athlete in the squad.
Reported to have been subject to racist and social class stigma from other squad members during his time in the team.
Only allowed to join the team after Apatheid was abolished- Non-White players only permitted to be selected after the year 1992.
Viewed as being from a lower class in relation to his skin colour.
Move in a positive direction in film-the holding of a coaching clinic where Chester is seen as the favourite player-breakdown of stigma between predominantly "White"team and the school of "coloured"children.

Reconstruction of a nations image
What is the global political significance of Cathy Freeman as the poster girl? - What message does it send to the international community?
Does it affect international relations?
What was the Howard governments stance on reconciliation/an apology?
Is it an accurate depiction of equality in Australia?
Is it practical reconciliation?
Can it be seen that the mega event was used as a global stage to alter Australia's Image - Did this reflect the true goals of the Howard government?
A Tool of Power:
Black, D. R., & Nauright, J. (1998). Rugby and the South African nation: Sport, cultures, politics, and power in the old and new South Africas. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Black, D. and Van Der Westhuizen, J. (2004). The allure of global games for 'semi-peripheral' polities and spaces: A research agenda. Third World Quarterly, 25(7), 1195-1214

Butryn, T. M. (2002). Critically examining white racial identity and privilege in sport psychology consulting. Sport Psychologist, 16(3), 316-336.

Bruce, T., & Wensing, E. (2009) 'She's Not One of Us': Cathy Freeman and the Place of Aboriginal People in Australian National Culture. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2, 90-100.

Drummond, M. 2015, Sport in Society: Introduction into sport sociology/sport theories'. Lecture notes distributed in the topic HLPE3530, Sport in Society, Flinders University, Bedford Park on 12th March.

Elder, C., Pratt, A., & Ellis, C. (2006). Running Race: Reconciliation, Nationalism and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. International Review For The Sociology Of Sport, 41(2), 181-200.

Grix, J. & Houlihan, B. (2013). Sports Mega-events as part of a Nation’s soft power strategy: The cases of Germany (2006) and the UK (2012). The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 16(4), 572-596

Leonard, D. J. (2012). Joe Paterno, White Patriarchy and Privilege: Nostalgia and the football-media complex. Cultural Studies↔ Critical Methodologies, 1532708612446443.

Little, C. (2001). 'What a freak-show they make!': women's rugby league in 1920s Sydney. Football Studies, 4 (2), 25-40.

Long, J., & Hylton, K. (2002). Shades of white: an examination of whiteness in sport. Leisure studies, 21(2), 87-103.

Maguire, J. (2011). ‘Civilised Games’?: Beijing 2008, power politics, and cultural struggles. Sport In Society, 14(7-8), 1027-1039.

Malcolm, D. , Sheard, K., & White, A. (2000).The changing structure and culture of english rugby union football. Culture, Sport, Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 3(3), 63-87, DOI: 10.1080/14610980008721879

McIntosh, P. (1992). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Multiculturalism, 30-36.
USA Rugby. (2015). Global Growth of Women’s Rugby. Retrieved from http://usarugby.org/documentation/college/ncaa/global-growth-womens-rugby.pdf

Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual review of Sociology, 363-385.
Goffman, E. (2009). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Simon and Schuster.

Questions to consider:
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