Making Enemies pp 128-148 | Cite as

Narratives of Contention: the Case of Party Politics in Twentieth- and Twenty-first-century Britain



For many years the New Zealand rugby union, rugby league, and basketball teams began their matches by performing a haka, developed from the Maori ritual before battle, in which the warriors or, in this case, the players, expressed in vigorous and threatening words, shouts, and gestures their own supremacy, their low opinion of their opponents and, in some versions, the exact ways in which they were going to kill their enemies. It hardly seemed an adequate response when at one of this ritual’s earliest sporting performances, in 1905, the Welsh team responded by singing ‘Land of my Fathers’. But however violent it may sometimes become, rugby is not a mortal combat, and the use of the language and gestures of killing and maiming by a group of men who then spend the rest of the afternoon running around with a ball on well cut grass, might seem a strange and untypical mismatch between the rhetorical and the physical sides of human activity.


Twentieth Century Asylum Seeker Ideal Type Labour Party Democratic Politics 
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Copyright information

© Rodney Barker 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK

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