Representation, globalization, and community : national identity in Australian olympic divers




Barnard, Matthew James

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As has been explained extensively within literature on Australian sport, it is evident that sport has affected the shared identity of Australians. In turn, the assumption must be made that the participants of sport themselves, especially at the pinnacle of national representation, play a significant role as symbols of Benedict Anderson’s ‘imagined community’. Consequently, this study examines the question of how do Australian representative athletes identify within the broader community of which they represent? To examine the impact of globalization on national identity this work, using Wodak’s model of discursive analysis in conjunction with conducted oral histories, examines differences in notions of identity between two groups of Australian Olympians in the sport of diving. (1) Those who competed prior to and (2) those who competed following the early 1980s formation of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). This time serves as an ample turning point in that Australian sporting policy adapted to mirror those of foreign systems and as such serves as a vehicle to examine the impact of globalization on national identity. This research concludes that there is little observable difference in notions of national identity between the two groups. This however is not indicative of a lack of change due to globalization, but rather due to these athletes identifying far more with their direct communities than their broader national community. This is to say that there is no change in connection with the Australian community between groups, because there is limited connection in the first place. The conclusions draw and methods utilized offer a launching pad for further investigation into globalization and identity within sport.


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