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“Days in the Dirt”: An ethnography on cricket and self

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posted on 2022-10-17, 16:15 authored by Harry Bowles

 

This study provides a representation of the lived transitional experiences of a  group  of  student-cricketers  on  a  passage  toward  professional  cricket.  Set in the local context of a university cricket academy, the investigation focused on players’ adoption of a cricketing role that they used in combination with their  structured  cricketing  environment  to  explore  what  it  might  be  like  to be professional cricketers. The aim of the research, therefore, was to portray a  culturally  embedded  process  of  identity-exploration  through  which  a group of young men arrived at a conception of themselves as ‘cricketers’.The data on which the study is based have been drawn from research conducted  over  twenty  seven  monthsfrom  November  2010  to  March  2013where  I,  as  a  researcher,  became  immersed  in  the  research  context  as an active  member  of  the  participantgroup.  The  methodological  approach  of ethnography  was  used  to  obtain  an insider’saccount  of  the  student-cricket experience   as   seen   from   the   point   of   view   of   the   actors   involved.  Application   of   traditional   ethnographic   techniques   such   as   participant observation, note taking and unstructured, field-based ‘interviews’ provided the  means  through  which  situated,  day-to-day experiences  were  captured and  explored.  What  is  presented,  therefore,  reflects  some  of  the  contextual responses    to    real-life    situations    experienced    by    the    group    and    its individuals, mediated through a developing analytical interest in players’ identity    engagements    with    their    cricketing    environment    from    the theoretical standpoint of ‘emerging adulthood’ (Arnett, 2000, 2004). Adding  to  the  ethnographic  accounts  offered  within  this  thesis,  the study contributes a conceptual framework that plots players’ transitional pathways  through  the  academy  to  share  the  key  points  of  interaction  that impinged   on   individual   participants ‘finding  their  level’  in  the  game. Through  contact  and  exposure  to  a  cricketing  way  of  life,  players’ involvement  with  the  academy  saw  their  cricketing  experiences  intensify and  their  attachments  to  the  game  transform.  This  resulted  in  individuals either accepting or rejecting cricket based on what they came to know about themselves  and  the  game,  with  the  findings  of  the  research  helping  to 

iiifurther understanding on how a group of ‘emerging adults’ engaged with the ‘project’ of their self-identities  to  reach  a  point  of  self-understanding  on which to base prospective identity-decisions.

History

School

  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year

2014

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