NUI Galway Authors Argue Roy Keane was 'Fantasy Embodiment of Celtic Tiger'

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Can sport tell us who we are, where we come from, and even where we may be going? A new book by researchers at NUI Galway provides strong evidence that it can. And, just as recent developments have shown in the economic sphere, Europe is a big part of our sporting past, present and future. Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe examines, among other areas, the media construction of former Irish international Roy Keane in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s economic boom. The relevant chapter, by Marcus Free of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, argues that the Manchester United star and former Ipswich manager was the fantasy embodiment of Celtic Tiger Ireland. Free's essay is just one of fifteen in a new collection edited by Philip Dine, Senior Lecturer in French at NUI Galway and Seán Crosson, Programme Director of the MA in Film Studies in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, also at NUI Galway. Sport Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe opens with a foreword by Paddy Agnew, Rome correspondent of the Irish Times. The book then looks at the role sport has played in the evolution of various regional, national and international identities across Europe. Also examining the Irish experience, Alan Bairner explores the life stories of soccer players from a Catholic background who have represented Northern Ireland in international competition, including Pat Jennings, Martin O'Neill and Neil Lennon. This contribution particularly considers the link between the new political arrangements in the North and the possible emergence of a more widely shared sense of Northern Irishness. Other essays in the volume look at the role sport has played in countries across Europe, including France, Greece, Spain, Germany, England, Italy and Hungary, as well as exploring international governing bodies such as UEFA, which have significantly influenced the development of sport across the continent. The sports featured range from boxing to association football and athletics, including a study of the impact of the Olympic Games on Greek national identity by Eleni Theodoraki, a member of the Athens 2004 Organising Committee. Among the contributors are James Riordan, former professional footballer, Russian scholar and author of the bestselling Comrade Jim: the Spy who played for Spartak (Fourth Estate, 2008), who examines sport and politics in Russia and the former Soviet Union; eminent European sports specialist, Arnd Krüger, who looks at sport and identity in Germany since reunification; and Trinity College's very own 'boxing professor', David Scott, who traces the relation between boxing and masculinity from the later nineteenth century to the present day, focusing particularly on textual and visual representation. Sport Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe was launched earlier today in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media by Professor Mike Cronin, co-author of The GAA: A People's History and Academic Director, Boston College Ireland.
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