Into the Wind: An Exploration of Australian Soccer Literature

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Mavroudis, Paul (2017) Into the Wind: An Exploration of Australian Soccer Literature. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis explores the genre of Australian soccer literature by way of a close textual analysis that draws on the inter-related literary theories and practices of genre and reflexivity. It contends that this marginal literature pertaining to a still relatively marginal sport might counter-intuitively provide an excellent framework for examining key aspects of Australia that are frequently missed in scholarly analyses, as well as popular discourses around what it is to be Australian. More specifically, this thesis argues that Australian soccer literature provides vital insights into the rich, complicated, intersecting, and continuously changing lives of the individuals and groups that make up Australia. In short this thesis demonstrates the important role played by Australian soccer writing and its contribution to Australian soccer culture. In addition, the thesis details how Australian soccer literature ties into, reveals, and complicates Australian notions of identity, ethnicity, and gender, among other aspects of Australian cultural life. The thesis begins with a discursive overview of scholarly perspectives on sport and culture that gives a sense of what is at stake in writing about sport, paying particular attention to the frequent tensions and antipathies that exist between sport and literature. Then follows a literature review which situates sport and literature in global and Australian contexts, as well as analysing what constitutes Australian soccer literature, and how this has been categorised in the past. The ensuing methodology chapter defines Australian soccer literature, how it is collated, what is absent, and the difficulties of finding obscure materials. The methodology chapter also analyses the different writers who are included in this genre, including their soccer backgrounds, their motivations for including soccer or not including it. The bulk of the thesis then follows, with chapters four through eight analysing the ways in which ethnicity and gender are discussed in the various primary texts. Chapters four, five and six discuss the nuances and subtleties of ethnicity as they are explored in Australian soccer literature, with a particular focus on the depiction of Anglo-Celtic Australians, British-Australians, and those Australians not considered part of mainstream Australian identity. Chapters seven and eight consider matters of gender, focussing on the striking lack of direct participation by women in Australian soccer, and the ground-breaking and yet still often conservative world of girls and young women as depicted in Australian soccer literature.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords soccer; Australia; literature; writing; sport; culture; identity; ethnicity; gender; women; girls
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