European Commission - 7th Framework Programme European Museums and Libraries in/of the age of migrations last updated: February 2015

Cricket, Migration & Diasporic Communities around the World

4 July 2012

Leeds, United Kingdom | Headingley Carnegie Pavilion



Members of migrant and diasporic communities have made a significant contribution to world cricket. They help to shed light on the problematic relationships between power, colonialism and the experience of being colonised. The process of, and politics behind, migration was also fundamental to understanding cricket cultures during times of the British Empire. The British Empire provided the context and much of the momentum for the diffusion of the game through the English-speaking world when British migrants introduced the game to indigenous communities in the colonies. This relationship was defined by a number of processes; namely the ‘Anglicisation’ of local elites, and symbolic competition and subaltern resistance from below. The history of colonialism, which entailed forced migration, economic exploitation, political subjugation and cultural domination also led to important cross-cultural transactions; the result of which continue to this day within the cultural memories and experiences of diasporic communities around the world. Indeed, it is frequently cited that diasporic communities developed a particular fondness for the game precisely because it allowed them to engage in anti-imperial struggle against England.

Over the last ten years cricket has undergone significant social, cultural, political and economic changes, which influence the experiences of migrant and diasporic communities associated with the game. Given the widely accepted view that India (rather than England) now represents the financial epicentre of the world game, combined with (amongst other factors) the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) relocation to Dubai, some have argued that world cricket is in a state of de-colonisation, or in Chris Rumford’s terminology, ‘post-Westernisation’.

An important consideration for the ICC continues to be the extent of the game’s globalisation, and particularly how cricket continues to struggle to cultivate interest in traditionally non-cricket playing nations. Many of the ICC’s ‘affiliate’ countries, including Canada, Norway, Denmark, USA, and China, rely extensively (if not almost entirely) on migrant communities to maintain some level of participation. For various reasons, ICC-led initiatives have not been successful in introducing cricket to mass audiences in these regions. However, at the current time, very little research examining the roles and experiences of, and reactions to, migrant and diasporic communities in these regions exists.

Issues of migration and diaspora are popular within the cricket literature. They have been applied to different countries and within a series of contexts in areas including: politics; globalisation; racism and exclusion; player mobilities; film; popular fiction; art; media representation; coaches, and many more. However, never have all these interests been brought together and interrogated under one roof. This one-day conference aims to examine theoretical debate and practical approaches to the study of cricket, migration and diasporic communities around the World. Papers are welcomed from any discipline, including sociology, sports studies, geography, politics, economics, cultural studies, history, media studies, and literature.


Amongst the themes that could be considered are:

  • Community, communities and imagined communities
  • Politics of migration
  • Diaspora and identity
  • Negotiation of belonging
  • Gender
  • Race and religion
  • Work and leisure
  • Class and status
  • Diaspora and fandom
  • Cultural resistance
  • Popular representation
  • Art and aesthetics
  • Geography and topography
  • History and memory
  • Patronage, sponsorship and commercialisation
  • Indian Premier League
  • Player migration and team loyalties

(We would be happy to consider proposals on other issues related to the conference themes).

Conference specific enquiries to Dr Thomas Fletcher



» link to the Conference