Kicking the Ball: Youth, Sport and Cultural Diversity in Ireland

Max Mauro, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Theses, Ph.D

Successfully submitted for the Award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) to the Dublin Institute of Technology, 2013


In recent years sport has received much critical attention across disciplinary boundaries as an ‘arena where it all comes together: race, class, gender, nation, capitalism, empire, neo -liberalism, globalization' (Denzin, 2006). In a European context, sport is also seen as a crucial contribution to multicultural dialogue between young people (European Commission Report on Sport and Multiculturalism, 2004). Significantly, the sport practices of young people in the context of intersecting questions of race and class have yet to receive adequate critical attention by visual ethnographers, utilizing the analytical potential of audiovisual media as a source of new knowledge. The aim of this research project is to explore the sport practices of urban migrant youth in Dublin , focusing on the meaning of sport, namely football, for male teenagers of immigrant origin. Ireland serves as an interesting case study since it has the youngest population among the 27 countries of the European Union and one in ten of its population are born outside the country. By adopting a textual and filmic approach, this practice -based ethnographic study engages with the social worlds of members of two youth football teams based in west Dublin, a residential location with the highest national percentage of immigrant families. Along with the meaning of sport for youth of different ethnic back grounds, the core of this study foregrounds processes of identity construction and reconstruction, racial/cultural belonging and new modes of citizenship. A central concern of this doctoral research is how and in what ways participation in sport functions to enhance social inclusion of migrant youth and their families.