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Athletic Migration, Globalization and Identity Formation: The Case of McDonald Bailey, 1944-1954

By Roy Dereck McCree


Base on the topical and edited life history of McDonald Bailey, a former Trinidadian and British sprint athlete, this study examines the significance of his migration to the UK in 1944 and his representation of Britain for several conceptual and theoretical issues in relation to the classification of sport migrants, identity formation and, to a lesser extent, ludic globalization, in the period 1944-1954. These issues include, the nature of hegemony [as consistent with consent, resistance, subordination and domination], the [intentional and non-intentional] nature of imperialism, the variable bases of human agency, the asymmetrical, two way nature of dominant-subordinate relations, the inclusive/exclusive, contested, plural nature of identity formation, the circuitous, processual nature of established-outsider relations, and the role of sport and the media as a discursive practice in these processes.\ud It is suggested that the classification of athletic migrants can be enhanced through the use of a migration continuum and model in which the temporal and spatial categories and motives are more clearly delineated to recognize convergence, divergence as well as changes over time in migrant behaviour. Linked to the importance of sport as an "invented tradition" in the British imagiNation, it is found that Bailey's representation of Britain after the war and his general emergence as an athlete are intimately connected to the processes of national and sporting reconstruction, the need for a "fantasy shield" of its past greatness, as well as race, class and metropole-colony relations, which are characterized by stereotyping, acceptance, opposition and conflict. In relation to ludic globalization, historically, in both British and American periods of world hegemony, this has been characterized by varying degrees of cultural diversity, hybridity and an increasing contrast in human identities contrary to Maguire (1999), which erases the conceptual and cultural distinction between "imperialism" and any ahistorical notion of "globalization.

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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