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Accepted Paper:

Race, body and competing marginality in postcolonial cricket in Trinidad  
Adnan Hossain (Utrecht University)

Paper short abstract:

Young hopefuls’ struggle to become professional cricketers in the Caribbean offers a window onto the critical intersection of race, body, masculinity and regionalism that continue to shape contemporary Caribbean society.

Paper long abstract:

Both historically and contemporaneously, young men in the Caribbean have viewed the possibility of becoming a professional cricketer as a path out of poverty and obscurity. Yet only a lucky few are able to make it to play for the West Indies (a collection of 15 Caribbean countries split into six territories) while the vast majority of young hopefuls continue to adhere to cricket in an amateurish vein. The scenario, however, changed slightly with Trinidad, the richest county in the Caribbean introducing a semi-professional cricket league from the mid-1980s onwards in Trinidad and hiring overseas players of other Caribbean countries. There are however more Indo-Guyanese than cricketers of any other country in Trinidad, a fact that Trinidadians explain in terms of the geographic proximity, deep poverty in Guyana and the shared history of East Indian indentureship and labor migration to these two countries. Although Trinidadian cricket today is dominated by Indo-Trinidadians, a race and body-based discourse of exclusion of Indo-Caribbean people from the West Indies cricket informs the forging of solidarity between the Indo-Guyanese and Indo-Trinidadian. On the other hand, the Guyanese and Trinidadian Afro-Caribbean cricketers often take pride in the black dominance of the West Indies cricket and point towards the contemporary dominance of Indians in cricket in Trinidad and Guyana as engendering conditions not conducive to their inclusion. The picture that emerges is one of competing paradigms of marginality and a simultaneous quest for belonging that continue to shape the Caribbean region.

Panel P008
Transnational sport migrants and human futures
  Session 1