2013 TASA 50th Anniversary Public Lecture

Presented by the Institute for Culture and Society and the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at UWS. 


Date: 12 September 2013
Time: 5:30pm - 8:00pm (pre and post-lecture refreshments supplied)
Venue: Jubilee Parramatta Town Hall (opens in a new window)
RSVP: c.nguy@uws.edu.au by September 6

Sport: Scandal, Gender and the Nation 

Professor David Rowe, Institute for Culture and Society, UWS.

This has been a memorable year for sport, but not for reasons that would leave its followers with a warm, nostalgia-inducing glow. Sport has been beset with several celebrity scandals garnering global media coverage, including Lance Armstrong’s televised confession of doping to Oprah Winfrey, and the shooting by Oscar Pistorius of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Locally, the release of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) Report Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport has been described as “the blackest day in Australian sport”. There have been many other controversies in which sport has been central or implicated, including the racial abuse of Indigenous footballer Adam Goodes, accusations of assault of women by sportsmen, and cases of alcohol-related violence and other misbehaviour.

Sport is routinely treated as integral to national identity. For example, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, the official information booklet for the citizenship test, states that “Throughout our history, sport has both characterised the Australian people and united us”. If this proposition is accepted, a crisis of sport is also a crisis of Australian national identity. This public lecture addresses and analyses the sport-nation nexus, paying particular regard to two issues: the relationship between sport, gender and citizenship in view of the male domination of Australian sport; and the meaning of sport-based national identity in an increasingly demographically and culturally diverse Australia where identification with the nation through sport cannot be automatically assumed, and may be problematic. Discussion of these subjects will encourage sociologically informed public debate on one of Australia’s most cherished and flawed social institutions. 

Four young women at a sporting event with the Australian flag wrapped around their bare shoulders 
Above: image sourced from Independent Australia

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