School of Social Sciences
Rugby Union as a Global System, and the Experiences of Fijians within It
Dr. Daniel Guinness, University of Amsterdam
Date: Friday 4 March, 2016
Venue: Meeting Room 113, CELT Building
Professional rugby union now motivates and facilitates the movement of large numbers of highly skilled professional athletes, including the several hundred Fijians currently playing overseas, and the many thousands more aspiring young men working to do the same. Individual and collective “rugby dreams” emerge in Fiji and motivate the collective production of rugby players willing to go overseas. For these men rugby represents a unique opportunity to pursue both immediate social recognition in Fiji, fulfill familial expectations, gain the much coveted international mobility, and partake in an highly enjoyed activity. To attain and retain professional contracts Fijians must abandon some of their own cultural system and meet the particular expectations of the clubs and coaches they play for. Those who successfully negotiate the transitions develop alternative Fijian professionalisms, combining the essence of their Fijian identity with the requirements of their adopted club. This articulation produces and manages the mobility of players, allowing skills and motivations developed in families and clubs of Fiji to be used by clubs on the other side of the globe. Furthermore, the sometimes obvious cultural tensions that these men experience in the global system reveal the processes and power dynamics which create and define each local node and the global system as a whole. The ethnographic study of multiple locations within the rugby world shows an interconnected global system, which contains a global culture of professionalism as well as localised norms, revealing the multiple levels of frictions and power dynamics encountered by the mobile men within contemporary rugby union.
Dr Daniel Guinness has a Masters in Migration Studies and a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford in the UK. His work to date has focused on the intersections of gender, mobility, values and the global sporting industries. He has done research in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and the UK. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Amsterdam, and part of the European Research Council funded research project titled 'Globalisation, Sport and the Precarity of Masculinity'.
Last Modified on 02/03/2016 11:39