The politics of the aesthetic : cricket, literature and culture, 1850-1965

Bateman, A 2005, The politics of the aesthetic : cricket, literature and culture, 1850-1965 , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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Whilst in recent years a number of historians and sociologists have analysed sports as social, cultural and economic processes, relatively few have considered the cultural and ideological implications of sport as an object of representation. This thesis aims to intervene in such debates by considering the emergence and development of the discourse of cricket, a sport intimately associated with ideas of "Englishness" and empire, and one with an unparalleled "Literary" tradition. In order to account for the socially productive function of forms of literary discourse in defining the hegemonic meaning of the cricket field, three interconnected discursive processes are identified: Literaturisation, Canonisation and Aestheticisation. These processes are related to broader manifestations of English cultural nationalism such as the emergence of English Studies in the late nineteenth century. The main body of the thesis is structured around the analysis of a series of historical moments (such as The Great War and the 1926 General Strike), "discursive events" (for instance, the "Bodyline" Series of 1932-33), and key writers and texts. As well as utilising its main trinity of theoretical concepts, the analysis identifies patterns of repetition and regularity within the changing patterns of cricket discourse. These analyses reveal that the discursive meaning of cricket as a symbol of nation and empire was a matter of constant renegotiation, and was consistently produced and reproduced as a response to perceptions of socio-economic, political and cultural crisis. Because cricket discourse was an agent of both imperial hegemony and anti-colonial counter-hegemony, the analysis also considers its dissemination and cultural work within the colonial and postcolonial dispensations. Through a reading of C.L.R. James's Beyond a Boundary, a theorisation of the relationship between the discursive and the performative emerges as a means of accounting for the counter-hegemonic appropriation and re-articulation of cricket into an instrument of postcolonial subjectivity and agency.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Mccracken, S (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:27

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