The Real and the Unreal: Hypernarratives of Indigenous Athletes and the Changing Significance of Race

By Stella Coram.

Published by Sport & Society, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Electronic $US15.00
Book: Print $US40.00

The second edition of The Real and Unreal reflects on the objective in the first edition, which was to claim the changing significance of race in the context of Australian sport. Race is celebrated in terms of indigenous athletic dominance, yet the persistence of racial inequality on and off field is denied. The approach, underlined by critical race theory, argues the presence of racial discourse in the mainstream press through the framing of hyper realism of race, looks to hold. Whereas the project of dismantling racial hegemony through cultural transformations underscores the rise of celebratory discourse in the first edition, the emphasis in this second edition is on how they converge to unintentionally reaffirm colonial ideology of racial difference. And while a more circumspect tone is noted, logics of race continue to inform the representation of indigenous athletes. For instance, the construct of “indigenous talent” forms part of normalising discourse, of indigenous inclusion in Australian Rules football, that masks the realities of competition in which few make it, the hard work that goes into being a “talent”, the racial stereotyping of “talent”, and the burden of being a “talent”.

Book: Electronic (PDF File; 1.631MB). Book: Print (Paperback). Published by Sport & Society, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing.

Dr. Stella Coram

Stella Coram, PhD, is the author of Extinguishing Title: Maori Land Rights, People and Perspective in Postcolonial New Zealand which was shortlisted for the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards in 2014. An independent scholar, she writes critically on the intersection of race and culture in the contexts of indigenous social justice, education and sport. At present, she is a “trailing spouse” in Papua New Guinea working on her next project based on correspondence to family and friends in Australia.

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