Opposition, Social Closure, And Sport: The Gaelic Athletic Association In The 19th Century

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Sociology Of Sport Journal


The rise of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in late 19th-century Ireland offers significant diversity to a ''normal'' model of national spelt development. The GAA, influenced through much of its early history by a vanguard of determined Irish militants, was fiercely opposed to anything British, including the ''new'' bourgeois sports. Yet, in spite of its alliance with separatist politics, the growth of the GAA displayed a social dynamic, albeit in reverse form, similar to other national pattern seen in Western sport development. Parkin's (1979) concept of social closure is suited to the sociological analysis of Victorian spelt, including the early GAA; using indicts of occupational exclusion based on religion, this study suggests that a system of vocational closure at the top of 19th-century Irish society eventually invited a challenge from the forces of opposition below.

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