We are Playing Football: Sport and Postcolonial Subjectivity, Panapompom, Papua New Guinea

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Cambridge Scholars, 2011 - Social Science - 250 pages
Sport is an important part of the lives of rural Papua New Guineans, and a significant connection to global imaginaries for economically marginal villagers. Such grassroots sport, however, is rarely studied and has never previously been the subject of an ethnographic monograph. This book represents a pioneering study of the history and effects of grassroots sport in Papua New Guinea.

We Are Playing Football explores Panapompom peoples attempts to recreate the international game, and the social and subjective effects of this effort. From a raw ethnographic starting-point, the book moves through historical and interpretive materials, exploring the motives, methods and results of Panapompom peoples work to recreate global images of football, and to turn them to their own political ends. As the argument proceeds, we see how playing football implicates Panapompom people in circuits of domination, power and humiliation that tether them to colonial modes of control, and derogatory racialist identities, which they themselves reproduce in their communities.

From its effects on the most intimate self-understanding, through the embodied experience of playing football, to the details of colonial history and the values and ideas underpinning community life, this book offers an original and challenging assessment of what it means to be globalised. It charts the new outlooks and imaginaries, the disruptions, failures and disappointments, and above all the vital synergies between different people that define the global situation of Panapompom people.

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About the author (2011)

Will Rollason conducted ethnographic fieldwork on the island of Panapompom in Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay Province. He completed his PhD at the University of Manchester in 2008. His research focuses on football, a local idiom for envisaging process of development and globalisation. This interest has led him to consider the intimacies of the global as a lived political imagination in Papua New Guinea. Will is currently Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Brunel University.

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