Nostalgia as truth, self preservation or identity formation? – Initial accounts from professional footballers in education.

Clint Godfrey

Abstract


This paper provides an update on research being undertaking as part of a Professional Doctorate in Education at UCLan. In particular, it discusses a potential theme that may be emerging from the early phases of data analysis. Primarily, the aim of the research is to explore attitudes towards, and perceptions of learning that players aged 16-18 in a Premier League football club display.  The first phase of the research focussed on players’ experiences at high school and an initial thematic analysis of one of four focus groups highlighted the emergence of a potential area of interest. Specifically, there appears to be evidence of strong nostalgic recollections from some of the players based upon their past experiences of school.  Consequently, it is suggested that this may be due to players becoming anxious as a result of being embedded in the notoriously uncertain and ambiguous environment of professional football.  At the time of the focus group the players were waiting on the club to make to a decision about whether they would be offered contract extensions.  It is also inferred that the players’ nostalgia could be an attempt to form a shared social identity based upon the machismo stereotypes apparent in elite football.  The potential consequences of such a phenomenon are discussed.

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