England’s Proxy Warriors? Women, War and Sport

TitleEngland’s Proxy Warriors? Women, War and Sport
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBowes, Ali, and Alan Bairner
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Pagination393 - 410
Date Published09/2016

It has been claimed that the one place Englishness exists is on the sports field, and usually it is men’s sport that appears central to creating a sense of English national identity. However, in light of England’s sporting success across multiple women’s sports (namely cricket, netball, association football and rugby union), there warrants a need to begin to question the place of these female athletes in discussions of the nation. Drawing on extensive interview data with women who have represented England at sport, this paper seeks to ‘give a voice’ to these women whose experiences have often been ignored by both the popular press and academics alike. This research discusses the way in which English women represent their nation, both on the field of play and more broadly, and sheds light on the complexity of the intersections of gender and national identity. Attention is also paid to the role of women as warriors in the conventional sense. It is argued that, through playing international, representative sport, the women actively embody the nation, with national identity often overriding gendered identity in these instances. In this sense, they become proxy warriors for the nation. (Sage Journals) 

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