Gaelic Games in Society: Civilising Processes, Players, Administrators and Spectators

Gaelic Games in Society: Civilising Processes, Players, Administrators and Spectators

by John Connolly, Paddy Dolan
Gaelic Games in Society: Civilising Processes, Players, Administrators and Spectators

Gaelic Games in Society: Civilising Processes, Players, Administrators and Spectators

by John Connolly, Paddy Dolan

Paperback(1st ed. 2020)

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In this book John Connolly and Paddy Dolan illustrate and explain developments in Gaelic games, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), and Irish society over the course of the last 150 years. The main themes in the book include: advances in the threshold of repugnance towards violence in the playing of Gaelic games, changes in the structure of spectator violence, diminishing displays of superiority towards the competing sports of soccer and rugby, the tension between decentralising and centralising processes, the movement in the balance between amateurism and professionalism, changes in the power balance between ‘elite’ players and administrators, and the difficulties in developing a new hybrid sport. The authors also explain how these developments were connected to various social processes including changes in the structure of Irish society and in the social habitus of people in Ireland.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783030317010
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Publication date: 12/07/2019
Series: Palgrave Studies on Norbert Elias
Edition description: 1st ed. 2020
Pages: 213
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

John Connolly is Senior Lecturer at Dublin City University, Ireland.

Paddy Dolan is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at Technological University Dublin, Ireland.


Dublin, Ireland

Date of Birth:

May 31, 1968

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland


B.A. in English, Trinity College Dublin, 1992; M.A. in Journalism, Dublin City University, 1993

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Introduction: Gaelic games in society
The study of Gaelic games and Irish society
Norbert Elias and figurational sociology
Data sources, analysis and synthesis
Involved detachment
Chapter overview
Chapter 2: Gaelic games and player violence
Rule convergence and game standardisation
Thresholds of violence
Figurations of Ireland
Chapter 3: Spectators, emotions and the individualisation of violence
Spectator violence and Gaelic games
Civilising processes, emotions and forward panics
Collective impulses and violent actions
Deferred satisfaction and social protection
Individualisation of violence
Chapter 4: The sociogenesis and development of the GAA: Centralising and decentralising tensions
The sociogenesis of the GAA
Centralising and decentralising tensions and county committees
We-identifications and intra-organisational tensions
A decentralising spurt: the formation of provincial councils
Advances in processes of integration and mutual identification
The advance in the power sources of the central units
Centralising spurts
Chapter 5: The amateur-professional tension balance
The amateur ideal and the GAA
Bureaucratisation processes, advancing seriousness of involvement and the erosion of amateur structures
Advances in professionalisation: From the 1960s onward
Explaining th eerosion of amateur structures
The persistence of amateur structures
Chapter 6: The amplifying of professionalism and amateurism, and the emergence of 'Player Power'
Competitive tensions and amplification processes
Seriousness of involvement and the amplification of professionalism and amateurism
The figuration of players and administrators and the amplification of professionalism
The amplification of amateurism and 'Player power'
Chapter 7: Integrating Irish youth, national identification, and diminishing displays of superiority
Towards social controls
Movements in the balance of social controls and self-controls
Diminishing displays of superiority
Chapter 8: Cultural hybridisation as an essentialising strategy: The development of a new sport — International Rules Football
Cultural hybridisation
Origin myths
Sportisation of International Rules Football
Hybridity as national we-feeling
Tensions and cultural perspectives
Habitus formation and athletic we-feelings
Chapter 9: Conclusion: Some thoughts on contemporary developments

Gender, Gaelic games and a developmental approach
Inter-organisational sporting competition
Organising dynamics
Conclusing remarks

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

‘Connolly and Dolan set Gaelic games in the context of the development of sport worldwide, including trends towards less violence among players and spectators. Yet they also show how the GAA has been tied up with power relations within Irish society, between players and administrators, and in rivalry with soccer and rugby. A model of sociological history.’

—Stephen Mennell, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University College Dublin, Ireland

‘Connolly and Dolan draw on a wealth of historical documents and skilfully employ key concepts in figurational sociology to analyse a range of developments in Gaelic games that have long been the subject of media and public interest and the focus of heated debate within the GAA.’

—Paul Darby, Reader in the Sociology of Sport, Ulster University, UK

‘Ireland is as central to our understanding of global sport as sport is to our understanding of both Irish society and the theories of Norbert Elias. Gaelic Games in Society is a critical synthesis of history and sociology and continues the rich tradition of figurational analyses of the development of particular sports. This fascinating work will sit comfortably alongside the best.’

—Dominic Malcolm, Reader in the Sociology of Sport, Loughborough University, UK

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