Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items for

  • Author: Alan Bairner x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Restricted access

Alan Bairner

Restricted access

Alan Bairner

This article examines the proposals of a ministerial advisory panel that was set up in 2000 to examine the problems confronting soccer in Northern Ireland, not least of which is that the game has been perceived to be administered by and for Ulster unionists. It is argued that although the panel made the case for a more inclusive soccer culture, which would be welcome to Irish nationalists, this advice is at odds with the central message of the Good Friday Agreement, the cornerstone of the peace process. Far from promoting a centrist political culture, the Agreement has actually increased polarization. Reflecting on wider debates on cultural diversity, the article argues that it is difficult to convince sports administrators to accept responsibility for promoting social inclusion in a political context in which difference is celebrated and sectarianism institutionalized.

Restricted access

Alan Bairner

It is relatively easy to understand why Marxism has been increasingly discredited in recent years both in the sociology of sport and in the social sciences more generally. Guilty by association with the failed attempts to construct communist societies, it has also come under attack from a variety of sources for its economic reductionism and its perceived inability to think beyond class. Even those Marxists such as Gramsci, who are invoked within the sociology of sport by exponents of cultural studies, are lauded not for their Marxism per se but rather for their (mistakenly inferred) willingness to play down the significance of political economy. This essay argues, however, that much has been lost as a result of the retreat from Marxism, and specifically, the abandonment of the belief in the ultimate determinacy of the economic realm and the importance of social class. This is not meant to imply that other sources of identity, together with the various forms of discrimination suffered by a host of different social groups, do not matter or that their materiality cannot be linked effectively to class-based analysis. One might argue, however, that the interests of those groups have been better served in recent years by academic sociologists than have the interests of the poor. With that in mind, the time has come, perhaps, for Marxist sociologists of sport to offer fewer apologies and to replace these with a more robust defense of the subtleties of historical materialism as properly understood. At the very least this means reviving the argument that our identities can best be understood in terms of economics.

Restricted access

Alan Bairner

Restricted access

Alan Bairner

This essay focuses on some of the main challenges that currently face the sociology of sport, the challenge from the natural sciences, the challenge from mainstream sociology and the challenge which we have set ourselves and which, requires new intellectual innovations of the type discussed in the final sections of this essay. It is vital that the sociology of sport be defended against the tyranny of the natural sciences. This project, however, must not be disaggregated from the requirements to fight for greater acceptance from mainstream sociology and to address our own shortcomings by extending the sociology of sport in potentially exciting ways. In this respect, both memory and space present interesting possibilities. They are highlighted in this essay, from among numerous possible alternatives, for largely personal reasons. The general point, however, is that if we are to defend the sociology of sport successfully, we need to be more creative, both methodologically and theoretically.

Restricted access

John Sugden and Alan Bairner

The political crisis in Northern Ireland has been met with a wide range of responses from the British state. Apart from a manifest increase in its coercive powers, in an attempt to maintain hegemonic supremacy there have been state sponsored initiatives directed toward penetrating and influencing various aspects of the Province’s popular culture. Because of the close relationship between sport, leisure, and the separate cultural traditions that underpin the political conflict, this area of popular culture has proven to be highly contested terrain. While traditional Marxist approaches to the study of superstructural formations have been greatly enhanced by the application of categories drawn from Gramsci’s political analysis, the Northern Ireland case reveals that Gramsci’s distinction between political and civil society is only useful so long as its application is flexible enough to accommodate the widest possible range of social divisions.

Restricted access

Eric Anderson, Daniel Bloyce, Alan Bairner, Rob Beamish, Richard C. Crepeau, and P. David Howe