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Keynote: On Neerlandistiek and investigating sporting culture in the Netherlands

Piercey, NAE (2015) Keynote: On Neerlandistiek and investigating sporting culture in the Netherlands. In: Internationale Vereniging voor Neerlandistiek (IVN), Leiden, Netherlands. (Unpublished)


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Research into the discourse of sport poses important questions about the role of popular culture in constructing wider social and cultural norms. In the Netherlands of the early twentieth century, sport was used as a site to construct wider social ideals: discourses of values were constructed, represented and challenged by different individuals from a range of political, personal and religious backgrounds. In particular, the link between sport and the construction of discourses about the body demonstrates the fluidity of the relationship between language and action, as well as the diversity and unity in early Dutch football culture. In this paper I will consider how constructed representations about sporting cultures sit within the field of Neerlandistiek. I will examine the validity of this concept in an increasingly global, competitive academic world and, just as importantly, consider of what use my research is to the wider field of Neerlandistiek. Is what I practise ‘Neerlandistiek’? By providing a personal account of my own research I hope to provoke questions about what unites and divides the field of Neerlandistiek, whether it remains a useful idea for academic collaboration and how it could change in the future.

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