This paper contributes to the debate over the value of the concept 'sports space' for understanding the significance of a particular sport within the culture of a society. While the concept has been employed by writers such as Markovits and Hellerman, it has also been accused of being an inadequate 'explanatory framework' by Waddington and Roderick. In this paper, we explore whether the concept helps explain the fate of soccer in Australia during the 1920s, a period in which its popularity grew and it attempted to widen its appeal. This brought it into conflict with more established codes of football, such as Australian Rules, rugby league and rugby union. The paper begins with a review of the literature on sports space as well as the debate over the failure of soccer to 'colonise' various English-speaking former colonies. We then identify five constituent components of the qualitative dimensions of Australian sports space in the 1920s that are relevant to our case study: namely,migration, peripherality, governance, incumbency and nationalism. We conclude by suggesting that this 'qualitative' dimension of the concept of sports space does possess explanatory value in investigations of the relationship between specific sports and local cultures.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
|Event||Annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA 2011) - Newcastle Australia|
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …
|Conference||Annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA 2011)|
|Period||1/01/11 → …|