Pride of the Lions:a sociological analysis of media coverage of the 2005 tour from the perspective of the Four Home Nations

Daniel Bloyce, Katie/K Liston, Chris Platts, Andy Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Few sports teams or sports events compare with the British and Irish Lions series forshowcasing collectively the talents of elite-level male rugby union players fromEngland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The 2005 tour to New Zealand, which was billedby the Lions management team and media consultants as the ‘Power of Four: OneObjective’, was widely regarded as ‘disastrous’ and tension-ridden, not least because ofthe outcome – 3-0 to New Zealand –, the size and national make up of the playingsquad, the inclusion of public relations consultant Alistair Campbell in the tour partyand the unintended consequences arising from this, and notable tour events such as the‘staged’ photo shoot between Clive Woodward and Gavin Henson and the infamousspear tackle on Lions captain, Brian O’Driscoll. The Lions series provides aninteresting paradox in its juxtaposition of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon rivalries withinternational rivalries whilst, at the same time, it reflects unifying and divisive elementsof national identity between, and for, the four Home Nations. Set in this context, weexamine press coverage of the 2005 series which included four English tabloid andbroadsheet newspapers, two from Wales, Ireland and Scotland, including all Sundayeditions. Particular sensitizing concepts derived from figurational sociology were usedto identify categories of meaning within the coverage such as Lions building, nationaltagging and untagging, invented traditions and defence of home players. The findingsof this study centre around the use of praise and blame gossip in reinforcing nationalhabitus and invented traditions such as the ‘Welsh Way’, the related amplifying andde-amplifying role of the press, and a correlative heightening of the English–Celticnations’ rivalry despite attempts by the press and other commentators to temper thiswhilst invoking a sense of Lions unity.
LanguageEnglish
Pages448-469
JournalSport in Society
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010

Fingerprint

coverage
Ireland
New Zealand
team sports
event
national identity
newspaper
Sports
sociology
elite
inclusion
management

Keywords

  • figurational sociology
  • habitus
  • Lions
  • national identity
  • Ireland
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Cite this

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title = "Pride of the Lions:a sociological analysis of media coverage of the 2005 tour from the perspective of the Four Home Nations",
abstract = "Few sports teams or sports events compare with the British and Irish Lions series forshowcasing collectively the talents of elite-level male rugby union players fromEngland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The 2005 tour to New Zealand, which was billedby the Lions management team and media consultants as the ‘Power of Four: OneObjective’, was widely regarded as ‘disastrous’ and tension-ridden, not least because ofthe outcome – 3-0 to New Zealand –, the size and national make up of the playingsquad, the inclusion of public relations consultant Alistair Campbell in the tour partyand the unintended consequences arising from this, and notable tour events such as the‘staged’ photo shoot between Clive Woodward and Gavin Henson and the infamousspear tackle on Lions captain, Brian O’Driscoll. The Lions series provides aninteresting paradox in its juxtaposition of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon rivalries withinternational rivalries whilst, at the same time, it reflects unifying and divisive elementsof national identity between, and for, the four Home Nations. Set in this context, weexamine press coverage of the 2005 series which included four English tabloid andbroadsheet newspapers, two from Wales, Ireland and Scotland, including all Sundayeditions. Particular sensitizing concepts derived from figurational sociology were usedto identify categories of meaning within the coverage such as Lions building, nationaltagging and untagging, invented traditions and defence of home players. The findingsof this study centre around the use of praise and blame gossip in reinforcing nationalhabitus and invented traditions such as the ‘Welsh Way’, the related amplifying andde-amplifying role of the press, and a correlative heightening of the English–Celticnations’ rivalry despite attempts by the press and other commentators to temper thiswhilst invoking a sense of Lions unity.",
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note = "Reference text: Andrews, D. ‘Welsh Indigenous! and British Imperial? – Welsh Rugby, Culture, and Society 1890-1914’. Journal of Sport History 18, no. 3 (1991): 335–49. Bairner, A. Sport, Nationalism, and Globalization. European and North American Perspectives. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2001. Barlow, D.M., P. Mitchell, and T. O’Malley. The Media in Wales. Voices of a Small Nation. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2005. 468 D. Bloyce et al. Downloaded By: [University of Chester] At: 09:49 17 March 2010 Bloyce, D., and P. Murphy. ‘Involvement and Detachment, from Principles to Practice: A Critical Reassessment of the Established and the Outsiders’. Irish Journal of Sociology 16, no. 1 (2007): 3–21. Bloyce, D., and P. Murphy. ‘Baseball in England: A Prolonged Case of Cultural Resistance’. Journal of Historical Sociology 21, no. 1 (2008): 120–42. Bryman, A. Social Research Methods., 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Colley, L. Britons: Forging the Nation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992. Colley, L. ‘Britishness and Otherness: An Argument’. Journal of British Studies 31 (1992): 309–29. Crolley, L., and D. Hand. Football and European Identity: Historical Narratives through the Press. London: Routledge, 2006. Donnelly, P. ‘The Local and the Global: Globalization in the Sociology of Sport’. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 20, no. 3 (1996): 239–57. Elias, N. What is Sociology? London: Hutchinson, 1978. Elias, N. Involvement and Detachment. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. Elias, N. The Germans: Power Struggles and the Development of Habitus in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. New York: Columbia Press, 1996. Elias, N. The Civilizing Process. London: Basil Blackwell, 1997 (reprinted as revised edition in 2000). Elias, N. The Society of Individuals. London: Basil Blackwell, 2001. Elias, N., and J. Scotson. The Established and the Outsiders. London: Sage, 1994 [1965]. Falcous, M., and A. West. ‘Press Narratives of Nation during the 2005 Lions Tour of Aotearoa- New Zealand’. Sport in Society 12, no. 12 (2009): 156–73. Goudsblom, J. Sociology in the Balance. Oxford: Blackwell, 1977. Goudsblom, J. and Mennell, S., eds. The Norbert Elias Reader. London: Blackwell, 1998. Inglis, T. Global Ireland: Same Difference. London: Routledge, 2008. Jarvie, G. Sport Culture and Society: An Introduction. London: Routledge, 2006. Kiely, R., D. McCrone, and F. Bechofer. ‘Whither Britishness? English and Scottish People in Scotland’. Nations and Nationalism 11, no. 1 (2005): 65–82. Maguire, J. ‘Globalisation, Sport and National Identities: “The Empires Strike Back”?’. Society and Leisure 16, no. 2 (1993): 293–322. Maguire, J. Global Sport: Identities, Societies, Civilizations. London: Polity Press, 1999. Maguire, J., and E. Poulton. ‘European Identity Politics in EURO 96: Invented Traditions and National Habitus Codes’. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 34, no. 1 (1999): 17–31. Maguire, J., and J. Tuck. ‘Global Sports and Patriot Games: Rugby Union and National Identity in a United Sporting Kingdom since 1945’. In Sporting Nationalisms. Identity, Ethnicity, Immigration and Assimilation, edited by M. Cronin and D. Mayall, 103–26. London: Frank Cass, 1998. Maguire, J., and J. Tuck. ‘“A World in Union?”: Rugby, Globalization, and Irish Identity’. In Power and Global Sport. Zones of Prestige, Emulation and Resistance, edited by J. Maguire, 109–29. London: Routledge, 2005. Malcolm, D. ‘A Response to Vamplew and Some Comments on the Relationship between Sports Historians and Sociologists of Sport’. Sport in History 28, no. 2 (2008): 259–79. Mennell, S. Norbert Elias: An Introduction. Dublin: UCD Press, 1998. Murphy, P., K. Sheard, and I. Waddington. ‘Figurational Sociology and its Application to Sport’. In Handbook of Sports Studies, edited by J. Coakley and E. Dunning, 92–106. London: Sage, 2000. O’Sullivan, T., B. Dutton, and P. Rayner. Studying the Media: An Introduction. London: Edward Arnold, 1994. Payne, G., and J. Payne. Key Concepts in Social Research. London: Sage, 2004. Rowe, D. Sport, Culture and the Media. England: Open University Press, 1999. Thomas, C. The History of the British and Irish Lions. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2005. Tuck, J. ‘Rugby Union and National Identity Politics’. In Sport and the Irish: Histories, Identities, Issues, edited by A. Bairner, 92–106. Dublin: UCD Press, 2005. Ward, P. Britishness since 1870. London: Routledge, 2004. Weight, R. Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940–2000. London: Macmillan, 2002.",
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Pride of the Lions:a sociological analysis of media coverage of the 2005 tour from the perspective of the Four Home Nations. / Bloyce, Daniel; Liston, Katie/K; Platts, Chris; Smith, Andy.

In: Sport in Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, 01.04.2010, p. 448-469.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Few sports teams or sports events compare with the British and Irish Lions series forshowcasing collectively the talents of elite-level male rugby union players fromEngland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The 2005 tour to New Zealand, which was billedby the Lions management team and media consultants as the ‘Power of Four: OneObjective’, was widely regarded as ‘disastrous’ and tension-ridden, not least because ofthe outcome – 3-0 to New Zealand –, the size and national make up of the playingsquad, the inclusion of public relations consultant Alistair Campbell in the tour partyand the unintended consequences arising from this, and notable tour events such as the‘staged’ photo shoot between Clive Woodward and Gavin Henson and the infamousspear tackle on Lions captain, Brian O’Driscoll. The Lions series provides aninteresting paradox in its juxtaposition of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon rivalries withinternational rivalries whilst, at the same time, it reflects unifying and divisive elementsof national identity between, and for, the four Home Nations. Set in this context, weexamine press coverage of the 2005 series which included four English tabloid andbroadsheet newspapers, two from Wales, Ireland and Scotland, including all Sundayeditions. Particular sensitizing concepts derived from figurational sociology were usedto identify categories of meaning within the coverage such as Lions building, nationaltagging and untagging, invented traditions and defence of home players. The findingsof this study centre around the use of praise and blame gossip in reinforcing nationalhabitus and invented traditions such as the ‘Welsh Way’, the related amplifying andde-amplifying role of the press, and a correlative heightening of the English–Celticnations’ rivalry despite attempts by the press and other commentators to temper thiswhilst invoking a sense of Lions unity.

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KW - Ireland

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KW - Scotland

KW - Wales

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