Un/making the British Asian Male Athlete: Race, Legibility and the State

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This article explores the social construction of the British Asian male sport star. It foregrounds an analysis of the racial state, primarily its biopolitical function in (re)affirming racialised models of citizenship and contemporary hierarchies of belonging. Drawing on conceptualisations of legibility, the article argues that this relationship between race and the state is necessary to understand the processes by which such athletes are made intelligible in the popular imagination. Empirically, the article focuses on the articulations, experiences and performativity of British Asian Muslim international cricketer, Moeen Ali, during the summer of 2014. It suggests that these examples reflect the contestation and de/legitimisation of various forms of social, cultural and political attachment and embodiment within the public sphere. The article argues that the extent to which athletes such as Ali are made il/legible in sport is linked inextricably to the way in which British Asians and British Muslims are made il/legible in society. Finally, the article considers the spaces, contexts and discourses within which British Asian athletes can(not) represent themselves; and the dominant forms of being, speaking and thinking with which they must conform to meet the requirements of elite sporting citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Article number190-206
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Sociological Research Online


  • British Asians
  • British Muslims
  • Legibility
  • Race
  • Sport
  • State


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