Fresh Prince of Colonial Dome: Indigenous Players in the AFL

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Hallinan, Christopher J, Bruce, Toni and Burke, Michael (2005) Fresh Prince of Colonial Dome: Indigenous Players in the AFL. Football Studies, 8. pp. 68-78. ISSN 1442-3146


The rapid increase of the number of Indigenous players in Australian Rules Football following several decades where participation was very limited mean that it is especially noted as a site for Indigenous opportunity. This study analysed player positions over every single game during an eight-year period to establish trends. We sought direct input from the actual team selectors who identified their collective criteria for the various positions via a mixed mode questionnaire. This allowed us to identify which positions were considered as keystone positions or central to the outcome of the game. Further, it allowed us to compare these AFL-specific positional characteristics with racially based stereotypes of Indigenous sporting abilities and to situate this comparison alongside eight years of data mapping the actual weekly positions occupied by Indigenous AFL players. The results clearly indicate that Indigenous players are underrepresented in the nominated central positions and are over represented in the non-central or peripheral positions and this representation clearly relates to stereotypes about Indigenous abilities. The pattern shows a sustained and ongoing positional clustering that supports international research and corresponds to normalised understandings of racial difference, race logic and Indigenous stereotypes.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords Australian rules, indigenous players
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