Watching Football in Marvellous Melbourne: spectators, barrackers and working class rituals

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Pascoe, Robert and Pennings, Mark (2011) Watching Football in Marvellous Melbourne: spectators, barrackers and working class rituals. Sporting Traditions, 28 (1). pp. 1-20. ISSN 0813-2577


A study of the crowds drawn to Australian football matches in colonial Victoria illuminates key aspects of the code's genesis, development and popularity. Australian football was codified by a middle-class elite that, as in Britain, created forms of mass entertainment that were consistent with the kind of industrial capitalist society they were attempting to organise. But the 'lower orders' were inculcated with traditional British folkways in matters of popular amusement, and introduced a style of 'barracking' for this new code that resisted the hegemony of the elite football administrators. By the end of the colonial period Australian football was firmly entrenched as a site of contestation between plebeian and bourgeois codes of spectating that reflected the social and ethnic diversity of the clubs making up the Victorian competition. Australian football thereby offers a classic vignette in the larger history of 'resistance through ritual'.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > SEO Classification > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Keywords ResPubID23989, Australian football, nineteenth century sport, elite ideology, working-class rituals
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