‘Race’, whiteness and sport

Authored by: Thomas Fletcher , Kevin Hylton

Routledge Handbook of Sport, Race and Ethnicity

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138816954
eBook ISBN: 9781315745886
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596677


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In this chapter we investigate the relationship between ‘race’, whiteness and sport. We do this by providing a critical review of published works on ‘race’, whiteness and sport over a five-year period (2009–15). We acknowledge that many significant and seminal works set the scene for the papers included here and sometimes we expand our search parameters to include some of them. We ask a number of questions regarding whiteness: What is it? How is it manifest? How is it performed? How are its privileges sustained? We adopt the view that white identity is not just phenotypic, but is also performative and contingent. We are also mindful that whiteness processes, while not always acknowledged, are omnipresent; permeating all facets of everyday life, including sport. Indeed, whiteness operates at a number of levels of sport – from grassroots to governance structures – and, as a result, sport is an appropriate lens through which to ask questions of the centrality of whiteness and its implications for how we experience sport.

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