For many Australians, there are two great passions: sport and ‘taking the piss’. This book is about national identity – and especially about Australia’s image as a sporting country. Whether reverent or not, any successful national image has to reflect something about the reality of the country. But it is also influenced by the reasons that people have for encouraging particular images – and by the conflicts between differing views of national identity, and of sport.
Buffeted by these elements, both the extent of Australian sports madness and the level of stirring have varied considerably over time. While many refer to long-lasting factors, such as the amount of sunshine, this book argues that the ebb and flow of sporting images are strongly linked to current views of national identity. Starting from Archer’s win in the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, it traces the importance of trade unions in the formation of Australian Rules, the success of a small rural town in holding one of the world’s foremost running races, and the win-from-behind of a fat arsed wombat knocking off the official mascots of Sydney 2000.
This book was based on a special issue of Soccer and Society.
"Effectively the book is divided into two parts, with the first offering a more thematic examination, the second taking a chronological appraoch as it details Australian sport from 1860 through to the present. […] The content is highly detailed and impressively researched." - Aaron Scott - Third Umpire
"Ward comes to his subject with anunfeigned zeal, asking all the right questions. this book contains much the best statistical analysis of its kind available." - Gideon Haigh, The Sydney Morning Herald
1 Introduction 2 Measuring Sports Madness 3 Sport and National Identity 4 ‘The heart of what it means to be Australian’ 5 The Roar of the Crowd 6 Lifeblood of the Community 7 Start of this ‘sporting people’ 8 Early Sports 1860–1900 9 Visions of Australian Sport in 1900 10 Sports Images in a Time of Turmoil 1910–40 11 Heyday of the Amateur?: 1950s 12 Changing Times 1960–75 13 Marketing Sports Nationalism 1975–85 14 Take the Money and Run 1985–2007 15 Conclusion
The social, cultural (including media) and political study of sport is an expanding area of scholarship and related research. While this area has been well served by the Sport in the Global Society series, the surge in quality scholarship over the last few years has necessitated the creation of Sport in the Global Society: Contemporary Perspectives. The series will publish the work of leading scholars in fields as diverse as sociology, cultural studies, media studies, gender studies, cultural geography and history, political science and political economy. If the social and cultural study of sport is to receive the scholarly attention and readership it warrants, a cross-disciplinary series dedicated to taking sport beyond the narrow confines of physical education and sport science academic domains is necessary. Sport in the Global Society: Contemporary Perspectives will answer this need.