Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 13, No 3 (2017)

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The Transformation of Australian Football: The Impact of Business on the Sport Field

Samuel Keith Duncan


This article interprets the Australian Football League's (AFL) transformation from a game to an entertainment business through the theory and concepts of Pierre Bourdieu.

In particular, Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and habitus enable us to understand how the sport field has merged with the economic and media fields and how the dominant business characteristics of the sport field influence the way those participating in the field act, make decisions and prioritise. Likewise, we can interpret how the actions of the field’s participants reinforce the dominant characteristics of the field.

In practical terms, using the AFL as a case study, the analysis highlights how neoliberal, business ideals characterise the sport field and how the actions of the field's participants reflect this.

Importantly, this article draws on insights from the fans who provide their thoughts on the changing face of the AFL, and in particular, the increased role of the media and economic fields in the sport field.

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