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Andrew Parker and Andrew Manley

Traineeship within English professional football (soccer) has attracted much attention in recent years yet few studies have explored in any real depth the everyday workings of trainee footballing lives. This paper features the findings of two small-scale qualitative studies of football traineeship both of which were carried out at high profile English professional football clubs, one in 1993–94, the other in 2010–11. The paper uncovers the nuances of trainee experience in line with a series of theoretical assertions surrounding organizational discipline and control. It concludes by suggesting that while debate surrounding the design and delivery of traineeship within professional football has intensified over the past two decades, little appears to have changed with respect to the fundamental dynamics of organizational regimen.

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Samaya Farooq and Andrew Parker

This qualitative study of a British Islamic independent school explores the construction of religious masculinities within the lives of a cohort of Muslim adolescent males. An ethnographic analysis is presented whereby boys’ physical education is located as a strategic site for the development of Muslim masculine identities. Adopting a symbolic interactionist perspective, the article discusses the representation of pupil masculinities within the school and the specific role that Islam, sport, and physical education played in respondent lives. Findings highlight how religion provided a central mechanism through which pupils sought to construct and negotiate their masculine selves. In turn, physical education served as an avenue through which respondents could embrace and embody their sense of self and express a series of broader religious ideals.

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Ellis Cashmore and Andrew Parker

Sporting celebrities are not regularly discussed within the broader realms of sociological debate. Yet that is not to say that their identities cannot offer insight into wider patterns of cultural change. Indeed, it is our contention within this paper that the reverse is true: that analyses of the autobiographical details of contemporary sports figures represent key sites through which cultural change can be viewed. To this end, we take one sporting icon of the present time, soccer star David Beckham, and assess his popular cultural image in terms of its contribution to debates surrounding identity, consumption, and the social construction of masculinities. Our central thesis is that while Beckham affords all the hallmarks of celebrity status, his identity remains both fluid and negotiable in accordance with the role and audience he seeks to address and the ends he seeks to achieve.

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Michael Price and Andrew Parker

This paper presents findings from an ethnographic study of a UK-based amateur rugby union club for gay and bisexual men. Positioning the club at the centre of the research, heterosexist definitions of sport are analysed with regard to their effect on the lives of players and the continued existence of the club itself. The standpoint of team members in relation to dominant hegemonic forces in sport is explored through an examination of the sexual politics of the club and the possibility for iterative challenges to gender norms within this particular sporting context. The central findings indicate that the club inadvertently promoted a liberal image towards dominant heterosexual sporting norms and, in this sense, co-opted into mainstream rugby culture.