Since its publication more than a decade ago, Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities has offered an enticing, if romantic, way of conceptualising nationalism. Fine-grained ethnographic analysis, however, of the ways in which local populations actually imagine their community raises some questions for the continuing viability of such a notion. In many places around the world, people consciously and conspicuously place themselves outside of the imagined community, and it is the social, cultural, and political consequences of such actions that this article seeks to explore. Drawing on a period of ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in France in the mid-1990s, this article examines very public contestation and sabotage of the Tour de France by pro-Basque supporters. This specific case study of political activism through sport provides a compelling example of the ways in which a dominant symbol of French national identity is usurped and upstaged by a minority group so as to reinvent or re-imagine a new kind of community.
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Catherine Palmer and Kirrilly Thompson
In this article we examine the cultural practices of a group of South Australian football supporters known as the “Grog Squad.” While hard drinking is undeniably a central part of this group of exclusively male fans, being a “Groggie” is much more than just being in a boozy boys club. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork undertaken throughout the 2005 South Australian football season, as well as Internet research, we argue that the style of support engaged in by the Grog Squad represents a paradox for how we typically understand football fans. On the one hand, much of the language and behavior of the Grog Squad is characteristic of the aggressive masculinity common in male contact sports. On the other, being a Groggie provides access to a range of resources, benefits, networks, and supports that confound many of the popular assumptions about male social relationships in sport. To explain the arrant sexism and homophobia of the Grog Squad simply in terms of hegemonic masculinity is to obscure the very real social supports and connections (best described as social capital) that are often overlooked in studies of male sports fans.
Catherine Palmer, Kevin Filo, and Nicholas Hookway
Sport is increasingly being used by individuals, charities, and corporate sponsors as a means of acquiring donors and fundraisers to support a variety of social and health causes. This paper examines five key features of fitness philanthropy that when considered together provide new sociological insight into a unique social phenomenon. These are: (a) peer-to-peer giving, (b) social media accounts of embodied philanthropy, (c) community connection and making a difference, (d) fitness philanthropy as social capital, and (e) charity and corporate giving. The significance of the paper is threefold. First, it highlights the ways in which fitness philanthropy points to the changing nature of sport, leisure, and physical activity, whereby fundraising is a key motivation for participation. Second, it examines the types of “empathy paths” created by fitness philanthropy with its emphasis on the body, social media, and peer-to-peer forms of organizational giving. Third, the paper seeks to answer critical questions about fitness philanthropy in the context of neoliberalism and “caring capitalism.” Bringing these themes into dialogue with broader research on the intersections between sport and charity adds to the body of sociological research on sport, philanthropy, well-being, and civic engagement by addressing novel conceptual frameworks for the embodied expression of these concerns.