Introduction: Adrian Smith and Dilwyn Porter
Pages 9

The relationship between sport and national identity is complex and multifaceted. Arguably it has become more so since the end of the Second World War as the far-flung empires established by Britain and other European powers in the nineteenth century disintegrated and independent states legitimised by the principle of national self-determination were created. These developments tended to raise levels of national consciousness across the globe. Nationalist ideologies remain an important factor in determining the course of world politics, not least when they are frustrated or otherwise unfulfilled. While this has been happening, however, various countervailing developments have become apparent. In many parts of the globe, for example in Western Europe, regional co-operation between groups of nation states for economic, military and political purposes has been a major feature of the post-war experience. More generally, the emergence of a powerful corporate multinationalism, along with the increasing tendency for media output to transcend territorial boundaries, threatens to submerge individual awareness of national identity in an ocean of globalised consumerism. In addition, people of almost all nationalities have become more mobile. Mass migration, in pursuit of freedom from danger or economic self-advancement, has become commonplace.