Stacking in Cricket: A Figurational Sociological Reappraisal of Centrality

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Dominic Malcolm University of Leicester

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This paper examines the phenomenon of stacking in the sport of cricket. It is argued that cricket is a particularly revealing case study of “race” relations in Britain because of the diversity of “racial” groups that play it and the variety of national identities that are expressed through it. Data presented show that the two minority “racial” groups in British cricket are stacked in different positions; Asians as high-status batters, and Blacks as low-status bowlers (pitchers). The author uses the work of Norbert Elias to argue that stacking can best be explained, not in terms of positional centrality, but through a developmental analysis of cricket that focuses on historical class relations and Imperial relations in the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent.

Dominic Malcolm is with the Centre for Research Into Sport and Society at the University of Leicester, Leicester, LEI 7RQ, UK.

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