Black River United: how football frames the relationship between younger and older men in a rural Jamaican community

Tantam, William. 2016. Black River United: how football frames the relationship between younger and older men in a rural Jamaican community. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Internationally, football is increasingly employed as a key development tool focussed on young men. ‘Sports-as-development’ initiatives have proliferated since the United Nation’s ‘Year of Sports’ in 2005 and the amateur football field offers a critique of such initiatives and points towards the need to situate them within specific historical, social, and sporting contexts. This thesis considers the implications for ‘sports-as-development’, suggesting that football provides avenues for both social mobility and also economic exploitation.

Black River is a small town on the south coast of Jamaica. Each weekday evening on a farmer’s field a team of educated, middle-aged men with well-respected careers plays football against a team of younger men with limited formal education and few employment prospects. The thesis examines the embodiment and enactment of wealth and age among football players. It explores the background to these matches, and looks at how they shape and affect the players away from the field. Also, I investigate the ramifications of support for the English Premier League in relation to men’s experiences of migration. In particular, I am concerned with the questions: ‘why do these two groups play football against one another?’; and ‘what happens when they do?’. Data collection methods included informal interviewing, long-term engagement on the football field, and participation in the lives of research participants and observation of their social interactions in bars and on street corners.

The thesis investigates the historical and social background to inequalities between older and younger competitors and the trajectories of these disparities across the town. Football in this context provides an informal apprenticeship and mediation of inter-generational conflict whilst situating players more broadly within global hierarchies of wealth and potential.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00018274

Keywords:

Jamaica, football, sport, masculinities

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology

Date:

30 April 2016

Item ID:

18274

Date Deposited:

16 May 2016 11:03

Last Modified:

01 Jan 2020 02:26

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/18274

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