White is the New Black?
The 2010 ‘Football Frenzy’ and the New Zealand Imagination
University of Otago/Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo
In the context of the contested ‘sports space’ of Aotearoa/New Zealand, this seminar contributes to ongoing critiques of the socio-cultural presence of sport.
Interlocking processes including: demographic shifts and immigration; emerging indigenous politics, weakening colonial attachments; and heightened global interdependence have led scholars to describe the national imagination of Aotearoa/New Zealand as ‘in crisis’ (e.g. During, 1989; Flearas & Spoonley, 1999). Such shifting economic and cultural forces have led to ongoing and shifting evocations of the national self, with sport a significant domain. Thus this research explores the sports press as rich a site in which the contested boundaries of national communities are established, defined and reinforced. Conceptually, this research is informed by critical approaches to media, the problematisation of nationalist discourse (Hall, 1992), and postcolonialism. Thus I adopt a critically discursive approach to coverage of the national men’s football team – the All Whites – surrounding the 2010 FIFA world cup. The analysis focuses on how particular national anxieties and contradictions are ‘resolved’ in press coverage, the apparently shifting presence of football (nee soccer), and the spectre of long-established themes of New Zealand nationalism.
Mark Falcous is a senior lecturer in The School of Physical Education/Te Kura Akoraka Whakakori at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.