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Title: British American football: National identity, cultural specificity and globalization
Authors: Wismer, Lacey Elaine
Advisors: Kennedy, E
Hills, L
Keywords: American football
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University School of Sport and Education PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis explores the hybridity and distinctiveness of British American football. Sports have socio-historical links to specific nation-states, thus encoding them with culturally specific values. Despite a movement towards cultural convergence, especially of popular culture, aspects of sport have remained resistant to dominant globalization trends. My thesis reveals that the globalization of American football to Britain has been a process which makes concessions to the local, while still retaining many of its global characteristics. Through an ethnographic study of one team, I spent an entire season becoming an „insider‟ and understanding the British American football culture from the perspective of the participants themselves. Analysis of data collected through participant observation and interviews revealed a number of themes which defined British American football as a hybrid and distinctive sport. First, that British American football was distinctive within the domestic British sports space because of its unique combination of American characteristics. Second, that „glocalization‟ influences the structuring of British American football under the amateur code, in order for the sport to better fit within the British sporting habitus. Finally, that the two branches of American football in Britain, the NFL and the British grassroots, were found to be involved in a disparate relationship which involved each branch concentrating on their own separate agendas for the sport. In conclusion, the American football played in Britain is British American football and this study importantly demonstrates that while a sport can retain its roots in terms of its physical appearance and playing structure, in order for it to infiltrate a foreign sports space, concessions must be made to the local sporting culture. The single most important thread that ran throughout this thesis was that American football could, and has, taken on multiple meanings, which were dependent upon the national context in which it was being played. It emphasizes the idea of globalization as glocalization; that the local is important in the global aspirations of the sport of American football. British American football has placed a uniquely British stamp on an otherwise purely American pastime.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Sport
Dept of Life Sciences Theses

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