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The purpose of this paper is to examine the implications of the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement (GFA) through the lens of sport, particularly football, and with…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the implications of the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement (GFA) through the lens of sport, particularly football, and with reference to theoretical literature on peace-making processes.
The paper is structured in such a way as to review theoretical literature, to consider the nature of the Northern Ireland problem and its implications for sport, to critique the current settlement and to demonstrate its failings using sport as an exemplar. The methods used are a critical review of relevant literature combined with reflections on the author's own involvement in sport and community relations.
The paper argues that the GFA has resulted in a consociational “solution” to the Northern Ireland problem. The example of sport, and especially the standing of the Northern Ireland football team, indicates that such a settlement fails to address the central problem of two divided communities with different political aspirations and attitudes towards national identity.
The analysis is limited to the extent that it adopts an essentially top down approach. The findings deserve to be confirmed (or indeed refuted) at some future point by a gathering data from football fans and others. However, the implications are that the terms of the GFA should be revisited in the light of evidence of the failings of the current settlement not only as found in this paper but based on recent political developments.
The Irish Football Association has to address the perception that appears prevalent amongst some Catholic players that they are not wanted by the national association. Politicians need to renew their efforts to create greater mutual understanding instead of fooling themselves that so long as they can talk to each other, the communities they represent will remain peaceful.
I doubt if any academic author has had the same degree of involvement in relation to the role of sport in the Northern Ireland peace process. What gives the paper its particular value, however, is the fact that it is probably unique in looking at sport in Northern Ireland with specific reference to political science peace-making literature.
This chapter offers insight into Italian sociology of sport. It first describes the fragmented history from the 1990s to the present of a discipline that has never developed as a truly mature field in the academic environment, and then outlines some main areas of research strengths and outcomes. Four strands can be highlighted: fandom and organized soccer supporters (Ultras); changes in sport through the forces of television, new media, sponsorship, and globalization; hybridization of sport, mass media, and politics with Berlusconi’s entrance into the Italian political scene and the advent of the era of “football politics”; and lastly, the body, bodywork, formal/informal sport activities, and gym culture with a microsociological perspective. However, despite their sociological relevance, these topics have had no regular, substantial development. They constitute separate fields of knowledge appearing in the sociological landscape in conjunction with social alarms, mainly related to soccer violence, or the emergence of new mass sport events or trends. It is difficult to predict what the future will hold. There is currently emerging attention to new urban sports and some sporadic in-depth ethnographic investigations of sport in micro arenas, such as soccer pitches, fitness gyms, and dance schools. Otherwise, Italian sociology of sport is folded into physical education science and is only considered as a field of inquiry for physical health and wellbeing.
Sociology of sport in the United Kingdom is as old as the subdiscipline itself but was uniquely shaped by the prominence of football hooliganism as a major social issue in…
Sociology of sport in the United Kingdom is as old as the subdiscipline itself but was uniquely shaped by the prominence of football hooliganism as a major social issue in the 1970s and 1980s. While it remains a somewhat niche activity, the field has been stimulated by the growing cultural centrality of sport in UK society. This quantitative and qualitative development has been recognized in recent governmental evaluations of research expertise. Current research reflects this expanded range of social stratification and social issues in sport both domestically and on a global level, while the legacy of hooligan research is evident in the continuing concentration on studies of association football. Historically, this empirical research has largely been underpinned by figurational, Marxist/neo-Marxist, or feminist sociological theories, but there is now a greater emphasis on theoretical synthesis and exploration. As a consequence of the expansion of the field, allied to its empirical and theoretical diversity, there is a burgeoning literature produced by UK sociologists of sport that spans entry-level textbooks, research monographs, and the editorship of a significant number of specialist journals. The chapter concludes by noting the future prospects of the sociology of sport in the United Kingdom in relation to teaching, research, and relations with other sport-related subdisciplines and the sociological mainstream.