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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21899

Title: 'My first victim was a hurling player...': sport in the lives of Northern Ireland's political prisoners
Authors: Bairner, Alan
Keywords: Northern Ireland
The Troubles
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: © SAGE Publications
Citation: BAIRNER, A., 2016. 'My first victim was a hurling player...': sport in the lives of Northern Ireland's political prisoners. American Behavioral Scientist, 60 (9), 1086-1100.
Abstract: Much of the recent literature on sport, political violence, and terrorism has been focused on security issues and, more critically, their potentially damaging implications for civil liberties. Far less attention, however, has been paid to the place of sport in the lives of the so-called terrorists themselves. This article draws heavily on personal experience of interaction with loyalist and republican prisoners in the Maze between March 1996 and October 1999. The main focus of the article is on the ways in which these prisoners talked about and related to sport and the insights that discussions with them offered in terms of their wider political views. Sport was never dismissed by any of the prisoners I met as being of secondary importance to other matters—a diversion from the real world of politics. In fact, as our discussions revealed, politics was often presented as being intimately bound up with and embodied in sport cultures. On the other hand, their interest in sport also highlighted the fact that these were rather ordinary men, some of whom had shown themselves to be capable of committing seemingly extraordinary crimes.
Description: This paper was accepted for publication in the journal, American Behavioral Scientist. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002764216632842
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1177/0002764216632842
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21899
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002764216632842
ISSN: 1552-3381
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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