Performing Imperial Masculinities: The Discourse and Practice of Cricket

  • Anthony Bateman


Cricket is one of the mainstays of Englishness. The present essay shows that it is also crucial in defining a kind of national masculinity in performance. This is all the more important as cricket is a nostalgic celebration of ‘white’ rural Englishness, yet has from its beginnings also been used to educate young males for service in the colonies. Moreover, it has been instrumental in integrating players and teams from the former British colonies in British national culture. Inside the discourse of sports, issues of masculinity, race, ethnicity, and nationality are therefore enacted, all of which have an impact on and are projected onto the bodies of the players. The ideal elegance of the proficient player is, in keeping with the ideal of a healthy mind inside a healthy body, meant to represent both moral virtue and race and class superiority. The West Indies cricketer Learie Constantine and his style of play provided a first historic challenge to such established thinking.


Left Shoulder Moral Virtue Hegemonic Masculinity Bodily Performance Critical Practice 
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© Anthony Bateman 2010

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  • Anthony Bateman

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