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Sport and Identity: from local pastimes to global games
September 17, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
By Professor Philip Dine, Head of French, NUI Galway.
How does sport shape society? From local origins in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, modern sports were first nationally and then internationally regulated, enabling novel personal interactions and unprecedented cultural exchanges. This sporting internationalization was to culminate in such global mega-events as the Olympic Games and the football World Cup. These most intensely mediatized spectacles today attract television audiences in their billions, as the apex of modern sport’s complex network of tangible and intangible exchanges. Mobilizing enormous resources based on strategic alliances between national sports industries, international governing bodies and transnational media corporations, they are amongst the modern world’s most powerful producers of locally and globally resonant meanings. In terms of its availability, sport has now achieved near-saturation coverage, certainly within the developed world. Yet, paradoxically, sport’s traditional emphasis on the local has, if anything, been reinforced by the challenges of globalization. This seminar seeks to explore sport’s social significance by offering a case study of France, focusing on the contribution of organized games to the historical construction and continuing reconfiguration of a variety of local, national and, increasingly, transnational identities.
Philip Dine is Personal Professor and Head of French at the National University of Ireland Galway. He has published widely on representations of the French empire, particularly decolonization, in fields ranging from children’s literature to professional sport. Further projects have targeted sport and identity-construction in France and the Francophone world.