Rugby, Nationalism, and Deaf Athlete Counterhegemony: Insights From the Case of Fiji

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  • 1 The University of the South Pacific
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This article explores the nexus between power, sport, and disability with a focus on Deaf rugby in Fiji. Based on semistructured interviews with players, officials, and stakeholders, this article outlines their pursuit of rugby and participation in a recent international tournament under Fiji’s specific postcolonial social conditions. It examines what this experience means to the players and officials, and the sociopolitical significance it holds in the multiple relations of power that the game is embedded in. This article shows Deaf rugby as a significant counterhegemonic force that reconfigures Fiji’s rugby discourse by appropriating its key constitutive element: anti-imperialist modern nationalism. This article further explores Deaf rugby’s implication in prevailing gender/ethnoracial/corporeal politics with a view to offering nuanced insights into the question of resistance in/through disability sport in a Global South context.

Kanemasu (kanemasu_y@usp.ac.fj) is with the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

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