Sport and ethno-racial formation: Imagined distance in Fiji


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Significant research depicts the implications of sport’s role in racial formation located mainly in the ‘Global North’. Yet, there has been less attention afforded to the related role of sport in the ‘Global South’, particularly in divided societies, where the consequences of sports’ influence on ethno-racial relations, are also significant. This study relies on empirical evidence gathered during an in-depth exploration into the role of soccer and rugby in Fijian intergroup relations. Sport is analysed as an arena that not only plays host to ethno-racial groupings but one which is also instrumental in their maintenance and reimagining. In Fiji at least, the organisation and positioning of sport in popular culture and discourse means that it becomes an emblematic sphere, active in the reconfirmation and preservation of ethno-racial division. Through this discussion, this study contributes to sport and racial formation theory, widening the gaze to diverse and divided socio-cultural settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-866
JournalSport in Society
Issue number6
Early online date13 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2020


  • sport for development and peace
  • racial formation
  • Identity
  • ethnicity
  • integration


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