Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., Sociology, Social issues

Publication Details

Competitive paper presented at Myth and the Market Conference, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland, 19-21 June 2014


This paper explores young men’s engagement with Irish sporting and cultural organisation, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), to show how the interrelations and influences of one’s social network or human interdependencies all serve as potential cues on which individuals learn to construct their identity projects. This research engages Foucauldian theory to consider the effects of power emanating from multiple sources (to include the influence of peers, family, community, mass media and social institutions) on the individual. By looking at the intricacies of mundane everyday practices, such as the participation in sport, allows a better understanding of how individuals actually come to constitute their sense of self. In particular this paper explores how young men use commercially mediated mythologies to negotiate their membership with the GAA social network. Findings show a marked contrast in men’s engagement with mythical GAA mediated material across the membership spectrum. Peripheral members invest more readily in the ideological narrative and utilize the marketplace articulations in their own narratives of identity. Whereas embedded members, those men who actually commit their lives to this amateur sport, resist mythic rhetoric and engage ‘demythologising practices’ to distinguish their immense investment in this consumption field from a (potentially) devaluing marketplace myth.