David Rowe
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Football, diplomacy and Australia in the Asian century
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As a settler-colonial nation in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s geopolitical positioning is consistently questioned. Australia’s relationship with Asia has become especially significant following substantial levels of Asian migration since the Vietnam War, and the increased economic importance to Australia of, successively, Japan, China and, potentially, of Indonesia and India. Sport, among other cultural forms, has been championed as a promising domain of diplomacy (broadly defined as encompassing political, economic, social and cultural exchange in both formal and informal environments). The opportunities for ‘football diplomacy’ are greatly enhanced when a common continental or regional governance structure allows Australia to be defined as an Asian sporting nation and so to host and participate in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. Here, as in all sporting events, nations engage in overt competition, but this repositioning of Australia for a sporting purpose is symbolically unifying, and may signify a new mode of integration and collective identification that situates Australia within Asia in the Asian century. This chapter divines lessons from this case study that may apply in informative and useful ways to the wider analytical field of sport and diplomacy.

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Sport and diplomacy

Games within games



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