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Title: Cricket, class and colonialism, c.1860-1914 : a study of 2 elites, the Marylebone and Melbourne Cricket Clubs
Author: Bradley, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2712 6068
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1991
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Cricket, Class and Colonialism examines the relationship between two elite cricket clubs (the Marylebone and Melbourne CCs), the process of class formation and the control of cricket. To this end it examines the personnel on the executive committees of the two institutions as well as the interaction between the clubs and other institutions involved in the running of the game. The thesis is divided into three sections. The first is an introduction to the historiography of class and sports as well as an examination of the nature of the ideology of cricket. The second deals with the Marylebone CC and comprises of an examination of the committee of the club and the importance that this had to the development and control of the game in Britain and its empire. The third and final section is a corresponding study of the Melbourne CC. The thesis establishes that in both cases the control of the club was placed in the hands of members of the dominant class. Equally the thesis is one of the first examinations of the role of clubs within cricket. Clubs are central social institutions in the framework of sport and they function both as a producer of sport and also as a forum for conviviality. The thesis demonstrates that cricket was used by members of the dominant class to secure or challenge cohesion within its own ranks. It was therefore part of the creation and maintenance of the class structure. Thus the Marylebone CC became one of the foci for the London Season, making membership a socially prestigious badge and strengthening its claims to control cricket. The Melbourne CC used cricket to establish its predominance as a social institution within Victoria and Australia. Both clubs 'invented' their own traditions. They built up mythologies designed to reinforce their position within the organisational structure of cricket. These traditions operated within the confines of the ideology of cricket but also developed from the social composition of the membership. Neither club was overly interested in the ideology of cricket functioning as a weapon of hegemony over a subordinate class. They were more interested in gaining paramount position within their own class. With the Marylebone the traditions were founded on a degree of reality. They were able to use these traditions combined with their own social background to take over the running of cricket. With the Melbourne CC, matters were more complex. The social structure of Australia was more fluid and the dominant class more fragmented. They faced challenges from other organisations from similar class backgrounds who felt that they had an equal right to control cricket. In the end it is possible to see that the traditions that the Marylebone CC deployed were more successful and more complete. The Melbourne CC on the other hand continually faced contestation. Their traditions were only accepted by a few groups within the. dominant class. They were therefore unable to act as a focus in the same way, although they attempted to do so. This thesis shows that cricket could have different meanings for different people. The Australian meaning is specifically different to the English meaning. Sections of the subordinate class might find completely different meanings or no meanings at all. This is perhaps the result of the cultural nature of cricket. The game could be re-invented by groups to serve their own cultural purposes. As it is the meanings that the Melbourne CC imposed on cricket were distinctly similar to the Marylebone interpretation. Nevertheless the game could take on specific usages in the Melburnian context that would have been unthought of in England.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available