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Sport in the Novels of James Joyce: A Discourse Theoretical Approach

Andrew Harvey Orcid Logo

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, Volume: 16, Issue: 4, Pages: 443 - 460

Swansea University Author: Andrew Harvey Orcid Logo

  • Accepted Manuscript under embargo until: 27th March 2023

Abstract

Among the many themes in which the Irish modernist novelist, James Joyce, was intellectually and emotionally engaged, the issue of British imperialism and Irish nationalism was paramount. While Joyce despised the English colonial occupation of his country, he was equally dismissive of a mythical Iri...

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Published in: Sport, Ethics and Philosophy
ISSN: 1751-1321 1751-133X
Published: Informa UK Limited 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa57925
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Abstract: Among the many themes in which the Irish modernist novelist, James Joyce, was intellectually and emotionally engaged, the issue of British imperialism and Irish nationalism was paramount. While Joyce despised the English colonial occupation of his country, he was equally dismissive of a mythical Irish nationalism, particularly in the way it was endorsed by the Gaelic Athletic Association. While Joyce is not renowned as a writer of sport; nevertheless, sporting pursuits can be found throughout his novels. Joyce’s nuanced understanding of how English culture has permanently altered Irish social subjectivities (and vice versa) can be found in sharp relief in his novels, particularly Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This article takes sport as a theme in Joyce’s work through which to explore fractured national identities through a framework inspired by the discourse theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Their post-Marxist work enables an examination of sport and nationality that goes beyond the existing orthodox Gramscian theory that has proven so productive in the understanding of sport in Cultural Studies. The article will commence with a brief review of existing studies of Joyce with respect to sport and national debates. After summarising the broad Gramscian approaches to understanding sport and nationalism, some of the key concepts in Laclau and Mouffe’s political philosophy are then outlined. The article will apply those concepts to the way Joyce depicts sport, especially cricket and hockey, to deconstruct the binaries in the debate between British colonialism and Irish nationalism.
Keywords: James joyce; sport; laclau and mouffe; discourse theory; hegemony
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: 4
Start Page: 443
End Page: 460