Rugby and national identity in New Zealand


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Nauright, John (2007) Rugby and national identity in New Zealand Staps, 28 (78). pp. 101-114. ISSN 0247-106X

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In New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser degree, Australia, rugby has been central in sporting related forms of national identity during the past 100 years. In each country there have been dramatic shifts in rugby culture, organization and economics over the past thirty years, yet, rugby remains potent in all three societies with four of the first five rugby world cups shared between the three. In each country rugby has had a series of highs and lows, but has been a significant shaper of new national identities centered on incorporating native peoples into the national pantheon and within the rugby culture. In all three cases rugby, race and national culture overlap creating a heightened sense of what makes each nation unique when compared to others.This paper argues, that despite recent changes to rugby’s organization, rugby remains a potent constitutive force in the generation and maintenance of national identity though powerful attachments to the historical significance of the game. In particular, this paper examines the role of rugby in New Zealand as the game has progressed into the contemporary era focusing on issues of nostalgia, gender and race. The paper contends that recent changes in New Zealand rugby culture have not altered the fundamental role of the game in New Zealand’s national identity. Rugby has indeed faced challenges, but at its core remains central to New Zealand national identity. Perhaps nowhere else in the world has rugby been as central to a nation’s identity and it is because of its historical presence and the ways in which New Zealanders and others remember that past that sustains rugby despite progressive changes to the game.

Item Type: Journal article
Subjects: L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology > L311 Sport and Leisure
?? V262 ??
L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology
L000 Social Sciences > L700 Human and Social Geography > L790 Human & social geography not elsewhere classified
L000 Social Sciences > L900 Cultural Studies > L990 - Social studies not elsewhere classified
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V260 Australasian History
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.3917/sta.078.0101
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2014 03:00
Last Modified: 01 May 2015 15:00

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