According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, outdoor soccer was the second most popular organized sport for Australian children after swimming. It far outstripped the popularity of the three other football codes that are played in Australia -- rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules football. Yet the soccer participation phenomenon in Australia is matched neither by the media coverage of the game in these countries, nor by the academic interest in the game. With a few notable exceptions in academic sports history, the game of soccer remains understudied in comparison with the other football codes. And, apart from some interest that is generated by World Cup campaigns, the media coverage of soccer is largely marginalized, and becomes most emphasized when reporting on aspects of 'hooligan' crowd behaviour. This book investigates some of the ways that soccer has been maintained as marginal to Australian identity, and why the sport remains vitally important to some marginalized groups within these communities. This book was previously published as a special issue of Sport in Society.
Christopher Hallinan is Associate Professor with the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His research interests are within the politics of ethnic, racial and national identities, youth studies, and ethnographic research methods. John Hughson is a Professor of Sport and Cultural Studies with the University of Central Lancashire. He was educated in Australia. His research interests are broadly within the social and historical study of culture with an emphasis on sport, particularly the connections between sport and other areas of culture including the arts.