Transforming sport and identity in the post-apartheid South African nation state.

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Transforming sport and identity in the post-apartheid South African nation state.

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This dissertation examines processes of state restructuring and nation-state building in post-apartheid South Africa through the lens of sport policies and institutions. The post-apartheid state used sports to nurture post-apartheid identity, overcome economic inequalities, racial cleavages, and foster civic participation at the same time. However, contestations have pervaded sport transformation in South Africa from apartheid to the present. In 2005, the Sports Minister lamented that it is inconceivable that 12 years of democracy has not reduced contestation over sport transformation and remains the most vexing and divisive issue for post-apartheid sport. I seek to understand why sport transformation remains challenging in post-apartheid South Africa and analyze the ways sport has and could be used to create post-apartheid national identity. Through a critical assessment of sport strategies, policies, processes and dilemmas, I analyze the tension between elite and community sport at the national and local/Cape Town scales. Using a diverse set of methods including document analysis, participant observation, and interviews, I assess the efficacy of sports policies in transforming sport, identities and nation building at national and local scales. At the national scale I focus on the ways in which processes of internationalization and globalization in sport affected apartheid and post-apartheid state restructuring and sports policies. At the local scale in Cape Town, I examine a situated practice of deliberative democracy in sport processes, addressing negotiations across difference - racial cleavages and inequalities in resource distribution. I argue that sustainable sport transformation should not be a single national project but a multi-scaled project with a heterogeneous set of strategies, enacted by multiple actors who are situated in a variety of institutions and located at a variety of scales. I conclude with a proposal for praxis of sport politics, a Collaborative Sport Development and Praxis Model.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2010. Major: Geography. Advisor:Helga Leitner Ph.D.1 computer file (PDF); ix, 203 pages, appendix p. 198-203. Ill., maps (col).

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Maralack, David Mark. (2010). Transforming sport and identity in the post-apartheid South African nation state.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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