Rugby really is a religion – so why don’t academics take rugby seriously?

Sociologist Mike Grimshaw who studies both sport and religion, says rugby is like a religion in its rituals, cultures and behaviour and, like religion, can teach us plenty about ourselves.

But he believes he is a rarity as an academic who has played and loves the game (he has a Crusaders season ticket) and also treats it as worthy of proper study.

“Why don’t academics take rugby seriously?” Grimshaw asks. “It is so much a part of New Zealand society, and yet so many academics situate themselves against society by not taking it seriously, by seeking to dismiss it critically and not engage with it in the way sport is engaged with overseas.     ‘

Grimshaw wonders,what rugby say about us as New Zealanders, in the same way the Tour de France cycle race says something about the French?

“Rugby is something that allows us to engage with what it means to be a New Zealander, in a positive and negative fashion; how we see ourselves; how we engage with other nations; how we tell our stories.”



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News category: New Zealand.

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