What can we learn from sport if we take sport seriously as a racial force? Lessons from C. L. R. James's Beyond a Boundary

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Abstract

This article uses C. L. R. James's classic autobiographical study of cricket, Beyond a Boundary (1963/1983), to contribute to a fuller theory of the social force of sport as it pertains to race and ethnicity. Three aspects of the theoretical architecture embedded in this masterpiece of cultural criticism are highlighted: (1) the popularity and symbolic significance of sport in contemporary societies; (2) the cultural capital that sport provides for otherwise marginalized and excluded racial and ethnic minorities; and, (3) the moral structure implicit (if not always fully realized) in sporting practices such as cricket. It is argued that these points, in combination with the more critical insights developed by sport scholars in recent years, help us to better understand the complexity and significance of sport and popular culture more generally with respect to race and ethnicity in contemporary social life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-483
Number of pages33
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2003

Keywords

  • Critical social theory
  • Culture
  • Race
  • Sport

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