Shadow of a game: Locating soccer in Australian Cultural Life

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Syson, Ian (2009) Shadow of a game: Locating soccer in Australian Cultural Life. Meanjin , 68 (4). pp. 136-144. ISSN 0025-6293


This is an argument about legitimacy. Soccer—my preferred term—is at least 125 years old in Victoria, older in New South Wales. Yet it seems that proponents of the game must constantly justify themselves in watching, playing, preferring this supposedly ‘new Australian’ sport. Since 1880, soccer has sought welcome in Australian society only to be rebuffed and rejected as a foreign game, a threat, sometimes even a menace to Australian masculinity and life in general. The game has endured sustained media myopia offset by frequent outbursts of intense and spiteful attention. Johnny Warren encapsulated this anti-soccer mentality in the title of his 2002 memoir Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters. Added to this, soccer has regularly collapsed under the massive weight of war and depression and often resurged on migrant tides.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 2002 Cultural Studies
Historical > SEO Classification > 9501 Arts and Leisure
Keywords ResPubID16924, Australia, soccer, legitimacy, foreign game
Citations in Scopus 6 - View on Scopus
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