'One of the lads'? Dual ethnicity and assimilated ethnicities in the careers of British Asian professional footballers

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Abstract

The broad focus of this article is on the under-representation of British Asians in English professional football. Specifically, it concentrates on the select group of British Asians that have played, or are currently playing, professional football and examines the significance of dual ethnicity, and processes of cultural assimilation and Anglicization in this phenomenon. Emanating from an extensive period of ethnographic fieldwork and using the oral testimonies of British Asian footballers, this article highlights the fact that those who have achieved the most success have either been classified as Anglo-Asians or have under-emphasized their South Asian heritage and, in some cases, actively sought to decrease the degree to which their cultural difference is apparent. Drawing on the ideas of Bourdieu, this study argues that those players who fall into these categories are more likely to possess the necessary cultural capital for breaking into professional football and for gaining acceptance within player subcultures as "one of the lads".
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-779
Number of pages23
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004

Keywords

  • British Asians, cultural assimilation, cultural capital, dual ethnicity, football, oral testimony

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