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There is, then, an ambivalence at the heart of this small but powerful book. An economic analysis, Kennedy’s argument is nonetheless driven by political, not to say moral, imperatives. In ways, Facing the Unemployment Crisis is discouraging because it rightly admits of no ready economic solution. But proposing a political approach offers tangible possibilities, including a clearer collective conscience because something is being done. The mobilization of public opinion would salve the social and economic dualism which long term unemployment threatens to succor. Kennedy’s real concern, underlying the economic discussion, is a broader indictment of Irish society’s urge to avoid facing unpleasent issues be they unemployment , emigration, poverty, abortion, or even Northern Ireland. The usual excuse for such passivity is a claim that they are unsoluable problems. As Kennedy’s title suggests, the real key to finding solutions to social and economic issues is to face them. In the Irish context, that might be revolution enough. One may not find perfect solutions, but the effort in itself promises a form of salvation. —Eamon McKee Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland, by J. Sugden and A. Bairner, pp. 151, Leicester, England: Leicester University Press, 1993, $69.00. A title in the “Sport, Politics and Culture” series published by Leicester University Press, this book explores a much-ignored facet of life in Northern Ireland— that of sport and leisure. While addressing the domestic “political sociology of sport,” Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland contributes to the growing body of literature in comparative physical education and sport. While not native to Northern Ireland, the authors, John Sugden and Alan Bairner, both lecture at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and draw from their experience of living, working and playing in the North for over ten years. Their effort is directed primarily for the many members of the Northern Ireland sports community; a reader unfamiliar with the area’s locales and subgroups will suffer initially while getting the terminology sorted out. A section with definitions of the “players”—Nationalist, Unionist, Loyalist, Republican—in this otherwise well-conceived book, would have been helpful. The rst chapter discusses the confrontational nature of modern sport and how this leads to potential political and economic interference as ``the locus of control for defining the context and limits of competition moves progressively away from the athlete towards interests operating outside of the sport . . .” (9). The authors then explore the relationship between sport and national identity, both globally and in the province. They succinctly discuss the social contexts of sport, with contributing factors of sectarianism, ethnic and national identification and social class, as well as civil society and hegemonic theories proposed by Antonio Gramsci. BOOK REVIEWS 171 The chapter concludes by contrasting the dichotomous population’s customs, traditions and symbols. Other chapters portray “Gaelic Games and Irish Politics,” “British Sports and Irish Identity” and ``World Sport in an Irish Setting.” Each provides a unique portrait of the myriad of games and sports that have been national pastimes or are imported physical activities. Extensive citations develop the historical backgrounds of sport in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. Britain can be cited for linking sport with nationalism and introducing rugby, cricket, and field hockey to its colonies. The Irish can boast of their promotion of indigenous games such as hurling , handball, and Gaelic football. The latter have been actively sponsored by the Gaelic Athletic Association since its inception in 1884, and the group continues to provide a strong administrative power base throughout the island. The G.A.A. has been inexorably bound to religious, political and cultural fronts—especially in its historic role in promoting specifically Irish sports and in mobilizing the population in the cause of a united and independent Ireland. For nearly every sport mentioned, Sugden and Bairner recount controversies at local, regional and national levels which have resulted in intercommunity territorial issues, venue and funding conflicts, or violence. Ultimately, the authors conclude that, as is the case in youth football, “. . . administrators of the game in Northern Ireland . . . far from being interested in allowing their sport to help the process of community reconciliation . . . may actually have a vested inerest in maintaining its...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 171-173
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
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