Disputas: Thomas Michael Walle
Cand.polit. Thomas Michael Walle ved Sosialantropologisk institutt vil forsvare sin avhandling for graden Ph.d.:
A Passion for Cricket. Masculinity, ethnicity, and diasporic spaces in Oslo.
Tid og sted for prøveforelesning
Tid: Torsdag 13. januar kl. 16:15-17:00
Sted: Auditorium 7, Eilert Sundts hus (SV-bygningen), Blindern
Oppgitt emne: Sport, diaspora and transnationalism in anthropological perspective
1. opponent: Professor Noel Dyck, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Canada
- 2. opponent: Professor Pnina Werbner, School of Sociology and Criminology, Keele University, UK
Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Sosialantropologisk institutt, Universitetet i Oslo, er administrator og komiteens tredje medlem
Leder av disputas
Dekan Knut Heidar, Det samfunnsvitenskapelige fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo.
- Professor Christian Krohn-Hansen, Sosialantropologisk institutt, Universitetet i Oslo
Cricket: Norskpakistansk lidenskap og kilde til maskuline idealer
Cricket er viktig for å forstå hvordan maskuline idealer formes og uttrykkes blant norskpakistanske menn. Dette hevder Thomas Michael Walle, som tar doktorgraden ved Universitetet i Oslo på en avhandling om cricket, kjønn og etnisitet.
I norsk cricket har menn med pakistansk bakgrunn stått sentralt siden tidlig på 1970-tallet. Etnisk identitet er dermed viktig for å etablere cricket som et sosialt rom. Cricket er en mannsdominert aktivitet med særskilte maskuline verdier. Avhandlingen viser at etnisk identitet spiller mindre rolle i relasjonene blant cricketspillerne, og dette danner utgangspunkt for en kritisk drøfting av forholdet mellom kjønn og etnisitet.
Framstillingen av pakistanske menn i media påvirker hvordan mennene i cricketmiljøet forteller om seg selv og sine interesser. En av mennene sier: «Jeg startet en ”gjeng” for mange år siden, men ikke en sånn gjeng som de tenker på!» Ønsket om å imøtegå stereotype og negative forestillinger, fører til at de i stor grad forteller om hva slags menn de ikke er.
Avhandlingen viser at dette skygger for et mangfold av måter å være mann på. Feltarbeid på cricketbanen ga innblikk i maskulinitetsidealer som sjelden bringes fram i offentlig debatt. Ulike «cricketmaskuliniteter» er forbilder for mange unge menn, men påvirkes også av ideer og verdier blant norskpakistanere generelt og i det norske samfunn.
I en polarisert debatt om muslimske menn, kan cricket bidra til å nyansere bildet. I følge avhandlingen er cricket svaret på mange av de kritiske spørsmålene mennene møter i sin hverdag, men det er for få som lytter.
A cricket team consisting of men who have migrated from Pakistan or are born in Norway of Pakistani born parents constitutes the ethnographic basis of the dissertation. Taking organised cricket as a vantage point, the project critically examines the relation between gender and ethnicity, and analyses how masculine ideals are manifested among a group of Pakistani men. Whereas ethnic markers are important in constituting cricket as a predominately Pakistani space, these markers take on lesser significance in the internal relations among players and spectators. Other aspects of personal identities and social positions gain more significance accordingly, and this advises us to investigate masculinity formations as they take shape and are performed within various minority groups, without seeing them as constituted in a constant state of tension with the dominant form of the majority society. To emphasise the significance of cricket in the constitution and performance of Norwegian Pakistani masculinities, is to allow the men agency and give voice to experiences that escape the hegemonic gaze.
A central argument is put forward that by presenting the establishing of cricket and its current position within the Norwegian Pakistani community, an alternative history of the Pakistani migration to Norway is told. Pakistani people in Norway are muted it is proposed, not because they are silent but because they must express their views through the dominant communicative system of society. Popular images of ethnic minority men must be analysed as a consequence of the majority’s self-imagination. The features that are typically seen to characterise the “immigrant man” are indicative of what the majority society does not wish to be associated with, rather than describing the actual qualities of ethnic minority men. In the dissertation, the concept of “othering” is employed to analyse the men’s tendency to present themselves through a set of negations; in their conversations with the researcher they are far more prone to talk about the kind of men they are not. This finding points to the benefit of the different methodological approaches of the research project. The interviews and conversations tend to thematise the men’s experiences of otherness vis-à-vis the majority population, while the participant observation gives evidence of a social context where relations with the majority population are much less emphasised. This illustrates the way members of a minority group allow their relations with the majority society to have a prominent or more peripheral position in their self-presentation, based on the research context.
Cricket provides a site for challenging experiences of discrimination and arguing against popular images. Cricket further presents a context to analyse relations and hierarchies between men from the Pakistani community, and for the constitution, performance and challenge of “cricket masculinities” that are formed in relation between masculinity ideals in Pakistan, in Norwegian society, within the Pakistani ethnic community in Norway, and within international cricket. The men’s relations to women are also illuminated through cricket, despite women’s absence in most situations. Although the actual relations between the genders within a family may vary, the fact that men are in a position where they can give priority to cricket over other family matters conveys substantial information about structural relations between the genders. Children’s relation to the men is more multifaceted. There are three phases of children’s relation to cricket as a male preserve, from the presence of children of both genders until the age of 7-8, the general absence of older children, and the gradual inclusion of adolescent boys. This sheds light on ideas about the development of children, and also support the view that cricket is a masculine activity with specific masculine values. The ethnographic material gives evidence of more care-oriented masculine practices than what is generally presented in studies of Norwegian Pakistani families, but at the same time it locates cricket at the core of the male world that make boys into men.
Cricket as an activity provides belonging to something “Pakistani”, both in a local Norwegian context and in a global sense. In the dissertation, Norwegian cricket is used to discuss theories of diaspora. The argument is put forward that cricket serves to invoke diasporic sentiments among Pakistani men, and to shape an identity rooted in a geographical origin and a homing desire. Cricket was established gradually as a sport in the Oslo area from the 1970s, and was admitted as a discipline under the national Confederation of Sports in 2007. During this period a durable social network has been established, dominated by persons of Pakistani background. The dissertation shows that this network is an important resource in the everyday life, both private and in connection with work and business undertakings. In recent years a connection between cricket and politics has emerged, and for persons who aspire for ethnic leadership and political influence, cricket presents itself as a significant power base.