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'Sport in Britain has been used by all three Celtic nations, as a means of sustaining their individual identities. Choose one nation and critically evaluate the manner in which this has been achieved'.

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Introduction

Cultural Studies Essay 'Sport in Britain has been used by all three Celtic nations, as a means of sustaining their individual identities. Choose one nation and critically evaluate the manner in which this has been achieved'. 'Scotland is a territory, a place on a map with a long historical pedigree, even with a border which distinguishes it from its southern neighbour' (McCrone 1992). For many years Scotland has used Football as a means of sustaining its 'identity'. Football is Scotland's national game so this explains the strong football culture, which dates back to the first international matches against England. Although other sports are undoubtedly popular in Scotland and can enjoy both high participation rates and significant audiences, no sport has captured the imagination of the country's population as Football has. For over a century Football has dominated in terms of money, media and crowds. Clubs in Scotland such as Aberdeen, Glasgow Rangers and Celtic, as well as the Scottish international side, have all recorded crowds, which are records for European Football. (Bradley, 1998) 'Scotland has one of the world's oldest footballing traditions. This sporting history owes much to Scotland's complex relationship to England, whether in Unionist fraternity, cultural rivalry or nationalist animosity. Imitation of England was behind the early organisation of Scottish Football & the administration of its affairs, in a process that was then thought to strengthen the British nation & the union (Brown, 1989). ...read more.

Middle

Carnival behaviour is still associated with alcoholism, but it remains non-violent (Finn, 1998). In past years Scottish fans showed moderate violence whilst at Football matches, but still nothing compared to the antics of their southern neighbours, England. Often the social identity of Scottish fans is complicated by the existence of other, earlier variants of Scotland fan behaviour, which was Hooligan based. Like in 1977 when Scotland defeated England at Wembley and full of joy the Scottish fans entered the pitch after the final whistle and ripped up the turf and broke the goalposts. This was to symbolise an epic victory and to get souvenirs of the game. So the carnival and hooligan categories have heuristic and self-identifying value. They are important analytical categories for examining the cultural structures of the Scottish fans' activities. The Carnival-Hooligan differentiation also provides a consciously nurtured resource through which supporters develop and publicly sustain their distinctive cultural identities. (Finn, 1998) As a nation, Scottish football behaviour is today a very 'carnivalesque', and this also includes when Scottish Club teams travel abroad to play other teams; for example, when Celtic travelled to Seville for the UEFA Cup Final against FC Porto in 2003. The Celtic fans' behaviour was well mannered and passionate to say the least, and strictly non-violent but very loud! ...read more.

Conclusion

But Celtic fans don not support Scotland compared to other clubs, notably Rangers. There seems to be an 'ambivalence' towards the national team, as 54% of fans said they had never attended a Scotland game (Finn, 1998). This can be explained by the amount of Celtic fans who live in Ireland, who would obviously not want to watch Scotland, as their allegiances lie with Northern Ireland or the Republic. Even the Celtic fans within Scotland would not watch the national team due to their cultural identity, which they feel they are Irish. 52% of Celtic fans said that they prefer to support the Republic of Ireland rather than Scotland. So concluding from this there is still a strong Celtic influence in Scotland, due to the existing cultic culture (Bradley, 1998). This could also still suggest a strong politico-cultural connection between Celtic fans and Ireland. In Scotland, Football is very much used to represent cultural and social identity. Particularly distinguishing themselves from England, and the 'Hooliganism' style of fandom. The Scottish have adopted the 'carnivalesque' attitude, which is non-violent. This emphasises its difference from England, and any other nation. Even the Irish influence follows the same pattern, in that the majority of the Catholic population passionately supports their roots in Ireland. Scotland's Football tradition and culture represents their attitude. Clear Protestant and Catholic religions remain within Scotland, but it is part of the thriving football culture that exists. ...read more.

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