The BBC has played a distinctive and very important role in representing sport across the world and, indeed, in defining what sport is and which sports matter. Initially the World Service, as the voice of empire, spoke to ex-pats, by broadcasting news of British, mainly English sport across the globe. The BBCWS also provides impartiality through its public service broadcasting remit and the service has been both transformed in its coverage and is transforming in the opportunities it affords for the democratic and diverse coverage of sport across diasporas, as a contact zone in which new identities are forged. The power geometry of sport has changed and the BBCWS is central to making these changes meaningful across the world. Sports broadcasting invokes powerful and even self-contradictory loyalties and identifications. This theme traces transformations in local, national, transnational and diasporic identities through the history of the World Service through written and sound archives and imore recently through web based material as well as interviews with sports presenters and producers at the BBCWS. World sport can be seen to have been a British Colonial and Commonwealth invention and export with ideas about 'fair play' being articulated through the language of sport and of the BBC. Sport defines the 'rules of engagement' that multiple diasporas abide by and re-construct, with cricket being a particular appropriate example of geographical shifts which also involve new ideas about sport as entertainment including a re-configuration of some of the rules and regulations.Sport has particularities in its focus on embodied practices which are regulated by the bodies which govern and represent sport, in which the media play a key part.Sport on the BBCWS presents a very particular research site which brings together the contradictions of cosmopolitan, national and international identifications and the materialities of technological transformation and regulatory bodies of sport, including the media, and embodied sporting practices.
Kath had two sports blogs. The BBC Open2 Society blog and the Culture, Society, Sport blog which was linked to the Open University course This sporting planet (D170).
British Fair Play: Sport Across Diasporas at the BBCWS - Kath Woodward, David Goldblatt and James Wyllie (PDF document, 204 KB)
ESRC Festival of Social Science presentation
What's Social About Sport? - Kath Woodward and David Goldblatt (PDF document, 12 KB)