On and Off the Pitch: Diversity policies and transforming identities?

Woodward, Kath (2007). On and Off the Pitch: Diversity policies and transforming identities? Cultural Studies, 21(4-5) pp. 758–778.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09502380701279077


This article examines the operation of diversity policies and practices in the sport of football using textual material from Government initiatives, club websites and interviews with club community based workers to suggest that new identity positions are being put into discourse. Sport and in particular football has become a site at which, rather than being classified as dangerous territory where fans have to be controlled, new, responsible, self-regulating citizen selves might be created. However, identity positions that I suggest are emerging both conform to and resist the apparatuses of governmentality which generate them and my research indicates that while there is some transformation taking place, the possibilities of new identity positions cannot be simply read off from the policy statements. Transforming identities are accommodated through discourses of charity, utilitarianism, and human rights, ranging from more paternalistic understandings of community within charity discourses to the political activism and equality based practices of human rights.

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