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Research Case studies

Cricket, ‘whiteness’ and British South Asians


Thomas Fletcher

This ethnographic research was the basis for my PhD. It was funded via a centenary PhD studentship at Leeds Beckett. Due to its long history within the British Empire, its classed nature, and the various ways the game has been perceived by different cultural groups, cricket is a fruitful discourse for sociological research. In spite of this, at the time of the project, very little research existed that directly focused on the experiences of British South Asians in cricket. It continues to be the case that dominant histories of the sport in England have centralised white voices. The experiences and stories of minority ethnic players (and their clubs), in particular, how they have interacted with white people and within ‘white’ spaces, remain heavily marginalised. Ethnographic research was conducted with both white and British South Asian cricketers in Yorkshire. The research identified a number of fascinating relationships between respondents, their attachment to the sport, and their perceptions of the role of cricket in constructing, reinforcing and challenging dominant (white) racial tropes of sporting rationalities.

Research outputs

  • Fletcher, T. (2013) “Does he look like a Paki?” An exploration of ‘whiteness’, positionality and reflexivity in inter-racial sports research. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, DOI:10.1080/2159676X.2013.796487.
  • Fletcher, T. (2012) “Who do ‘they’ cheer for?” Cricket, diaspora, hybridity and divided loyalties amongst British Asians. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 47(5): 612-631
  • Fletcher, T. (2012) “All Yorkshiremen are from Yorkshire, but some are more ‘Yorkshire’ than Others”: British Asians and the myths of Yorkshire cricket. Sport in Society 15(2): 227-245.
  • Fletcher, T. (2011) “Aye, but it were wasted on thee”: ‘Yorkshireness’, cricket, ethnic identities, and the ‘magical recovery of community’. Sociological Research Online, 16(4).
  • Fletcher, T. (2011) “The Making of English Cricket Cultures”: Empire, Globalisation and (post) Colonialism. Sport in Society, 14 (1): 17–36.
  • Fletcher, T and Spracklen, K (2013) “Cricket, Drinking and Exclusion of British Muslims?” Ethnic and Racial Studies, DOI:10.1080/01419870.2013.790983.
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