Established-outsider relations between males and females in male-associated sports in Ireland

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Abstract

This paper introduces readers to the field of male-associated sports in the Republic of Ireland with specific reference to power relations between the sexes. It situates a present-day social phenomenon, i.e. Irish females’ increasing involvement in traditional male-associated sports such as Gaelic football, rugby and soccer, within the context of social processes in which more or less independent groups have become more interdependent. Qualitative data from twelve in-depth interviews with high performance female athletes are situated within a sociological analysis of the emergence and development of these sports for women. These are used to support the argument that the relatively slight shift in the balance of power in favour of females has led to feelings of emancipation amongst females and resistance amongst males, though this resistance is gradually becoming weaker. Elias’ theory of “established-outsider” relations is used to suggest that females who participate in these sports can be described as an ‘outsider’ group, one that has lacked the organizational resources and networks of mutual assistance needed to shift significantly the uneven balance of power between the sexes. Moreover, typical of outsiders in their relations with the ‘established’, dominant stereotypical views of females remain embedded in the personality structures of ‘outsiders’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
JournalEuropean Journal for Sport and Society
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2005

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