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Cricket and colonialism: towards a political theory of sport

Sorger, Andreas ORCID: 0009-0009-5880-737X (2023) Cricket and colonialism: towards a political theory of sport. European Journal of Political Theory. ISSN 1474-8851

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Identification Number: 10.1177/14748851231210799


The goal of this paper is to reconceptualise the relationship between politics and sporting practice with the aim of gesturing towards broad themes that a political theory of sport could explore. Many philosophical theories of sport, including the dominant mutualist view, are internalist: they suggest that there is some distinctive logic internal to sports that must feature in the best explanation of our sporting practices. Yet, in attempting to articulate this distinctive internal logic, mutualists quarantine sport from its wider context to understand sporting practice on its own terms. This methodological decision, I argue, invites the unwarranted assumption that sporting practice and politics constitute two separate domains bearing little to no relation to one another. Consequently, mutualism provides us with an impoverished understanding of sporting practice – especially in colonial contexts. Against this view, I use CLR James' writings to show how the internal norms and rules of cricket simultaneously perpetuate an oppressive social structure and articulate the beginnings of an emancipatory political project. This, in turn, has the potential to connect debates within the philosophy of sport to questions around resistance and oppression.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2023 12:09
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 06:45

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