A team like no ‘Other’: the racialized position of Insaka FC in Irish schoolboy football

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Sporting grounds have started to be recognized as fertile sites for the (re)definition of subjective and collective identities of youth of immigrant background. As a country of recent immigration and a rich sporting culture, Ireland is witnessing new forms of sport participation that critically challenge the status quo. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with an under-18 football team composed of teenagers of various immigrant backgrounds, mostly African, and run by African coaches, this article foregrounds their racialized position within the Dublin schoolboys leagues. In the Irish context, public discourses on immigration often conflate, in negative terms, African, Nigerian and asylum-seeker. This situation affects the way the team is perceived and the way the coaches run it. The team is arguably lived as a space of resistance against different forms of racism. A particular discourse on discipline is developed by the adults in charge, which conceals the necessity, for black youth, of learning to cope with racism. In spite of all that, football governing bodies downplay the problem of racism in the Irish game.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-363
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2013

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