Blood Boundaries? Contesting the Racial and National Identities of the Mixed-Race Philippine Men’s National Soccer Team Players within Media and Public Debates

Friday, 20 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Satwinder REHAL, The University of the Philippines Open University, Paranaque City, Metro Manila NCR, Philippines, The Philippine Women's University Manila, Philippines
The increasingly global dispersion of elite athletes pursuing sporting careers is an important aspect of the global flow of sport-capital. International sport has enhanced this dispersion characterized by a growing tendency for sportspeople to represent a country other than the one in which they were born. Within this social sphere, questions abound about an athlete’s attachment to place, particularly in relation to citizenship, identity and nationalism. This has been made manifest in the Philippine context where questions have been raised, mostly through media and resultant public debates debates, on the identities of mixed race members of the Philippine men’s national soccer team, the Azkals. This paper is grounded on the case of the ‘mixed-race’ Azkals in the discourse on sports, media and globalization, in highlighting a theoretical discussion on the concept of transnationalism vis-à-vis the use of ‘blood’ and ‘color’ as figurative metaphors in imagining the ‘nation’ and ‘citizenship’. In conclusion, the paper calls for a shift from employing color and blood as metaphors of race, nation, citizenship and culture and argues for instead for a massive remetaphorization of constructed ideologies which in effect challenges the idea that a national community and its identity are necessarily bounded by geographic border and its ‘indigenousness’. Doing this would lend itself to sociologically relevant theorizing that consciously questions attachment to place, particularly in relation of sports to citizenship, identity and nationalism within a Global South context.