Contesting National Culture
DOI link for Contesting National Culture
Contesting National Culture book
The sport field is permeable for several reasons: the concept of sport is contested and takes many forms, ranging from professional physical contests to more casual forms of bodily movement. Despite its much-touted connection to healthy activity, sport’s physical practice is heavily outweighed by its spectatorship, while sport is substantially ‘colonised’ by another field – the media, especially television. This chapter demonstrates how sporting taste, participation and knowledge relate in a range of ways to social variables (notably gender), and are highly sensitive to their national context. While it is widely (and, indeed, officially) deemed to characterise ‘Australianness’, engagement with sport is revealed in the Australian Cultural Fields survey and interview data to be highly variable. Some of these findings – for example, the class-inflected complexion of various sports – tend to confirm existing knowledge. But others, such as the ethical expectations regarding sportspeople, are perhaps more surprising. For this reason, the Australian sport field can be said to offer a glimpse of nation, but only insofar as it reveals the tensions and fractures that are both enduring and dynamic constituents of its socio-cultural architecture.