Accepted paper:

Indigeneity, diaspora and national sports: Intersections of Pasifika and Australian identity in rugby league


Gina Hawkes (RMIT University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores connections between diasporic Pasifika identity and "Australian" identity through the lens of commercially successful and traditionally masculine sports, addressing questions of gender, race, and what it might mean to be indigenous in Australia but not to Australia.

Paper long abstract:

It is often through sports where the most publicly visible discourses around race, gender and indigeneity occur in Australia. With the dramatic increase of Pasifika players in rugby league over recent years, this paper raises some preliminary questions around diasporic Pasifika identity in Australia and its connections to a broader "Australian" identity and a global "indigenous" identity. Through the lens of rugby league, I present some of my PhD findings to explore what it might mean to be indigenous in Australia but not to Australia. I argue that at the centre of the state-identified Australian relationship with sport is the otherwise often neglected and problematised indigenous male body, and that this body raises important questions about indigeneity, gender, diaspora, and belonging within the Australian landscape.

panel P38
Embodied rituals, symbols and performances: embodiment as a negotiation of the state, and state negotiations of embodiment