Play the White Man: The Theatre of Racialised Performances and Narratives in Soccer Coaching and Management

King, Colin. 2001. Play the White Man: The Theatre of Racialised Performances and Narratives in Soccer Coaching and Management. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Play the white man is a metaphor used in this research to explore the pressures placed on black people to `act white' to be accepted. In the context of sport and, in relation to this study of soccer culture, `play the white man' has symbolic meaning as it names the types of whiteness that black players face as they retire from the game and seek positions as coaches and managers. The focus of this research is on the strategies that black players use to deal with the cultural pressures they face in being excluded from the privileges held by white men who colonise the institutional settings of coaching and management. To look more closely at how these institutions operate I have used the concepts of `racialised performance' and `racialised narrative' as a model to illustrate how racism is featured in the forms of whiteness that contribute towards institutional racism. My aim has been to demonstrate that the way people inside this system perceive issues of race and racism - which I refer to as race cognisance - leads to totally different outcomes for black and white people in soccer. `Play the white man' then becomes a conceptual tool to link the individual experiences and practices of black and white men to a more considered approach to an understanding of the operation of institutional racism inside football.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


football, soccer, race, racism, racialised performance, racialised narrative, race cognisance, institutionalised racism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



20 December 2001

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 May 2020 15:38

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:27


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