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Max Mauro

Max Mauro

P: +353-1-4027129
Campus: Aungier Street

Research Topic: Kicking the Ball: Youth, Sport and Belonging in Ireland

In recent years sport has received much critical attention across disciplinary boundaries as an ‘arena where it all comes together: race, class, gender, nation, capitalism, empire, neo-liberalism, globalization' (Denzin, 2006). In a European context, sport is also seen as a crucial contribution to multicultural dialogue between young people (European Commission Report on Sport and Multiculturalism, 2004). Significantly, the sport practices of young people in the context of intersecting questions of race and class have yet to receive adequate critical attention by youth researchers and visual ethnographers, utilizing the analytical potential of audiovisual media as a source of new knowledge. The aim of this research project is to explore the sport practices of migrant youth in Ireland, focusing on the meaning of sport, namely football, for male teenagers of immigrant origin. Ireland serves as an interesting case study since it has the youngest population among the 27 countries of the European Union and one in ten of its population are born outside the country. By adopting a textual and filmic approach, my study combines the tools of journalistic inquiry with those of practice-based ethnographic research. The study engages with the social worlds of members of two youth football teams based in west Dublin - a residential location with the highest national percentage of immigrant families. Along with the meaning of sport for youth of different ethnic backgrounds, the core of this study foregrounds processes of identity construction and reconstruction, racial/cultural belonging and new modes of citizenship. A central concern of this doctoral research is how and in what ways participation in sport functions to enhance social inclusion of migrant youth and their families.

Max was born in Switzerland, the son of Italian immigrants, and raised in Italy. A trained journalist and award-winning writer, he has published travel books and a study about the lived experience of migrants. He has lived and worked in Venezuela and Germany, is passionate about football and in recent years has been involved in short film projects.

Selected Publications

'Challenges and Gifts: Visual Research with Teenagers On and Off the Football Pitch', in Crawford, P. I. and Ragazzi, R. (eds) Perceiving Children: Media, Education and Museum in an Anthropological Perspective, Intervention Press and University of Tromsø (forthcoming).

'A Team Like No "Other". The Racialized Position of Insaka in the Dublin Schoolboys Leagues', Soccer & Society, Special Issue, 'Sport, Race and Ethnicity' (forthcoming).

'Percorsi di Inclusione Fuori e Dentro il Campo da Calcio' ('Paths of Inclusion On and Off the Football Pitch'), Studi Zancan 4, p.123-132.

‘La bici sopra Berlino' (‘The Bike over Berlin'), Ediciclo, Venezia, Italy - short novel on Berlin, its angels, and the bicycle.

‘Foreigners', International Online Literary Project (

Patagonia Controvento (‘Patagonia Against the Wind’) - A Solo Cycling Tour Through Patagonia. Book awarded ‘Albatros’ National Prize for Travel literature, Palestrina, Rome, Italy.

La Mia Casa è Dove Sono Felice (‘My Home is Where I am Happy’) - Life Stories of Emigrants and Immigrants. Book winner of ‘Raccontare l’emigrazione’ (Reporting on Emigration) International Award, Borgotaro, Parma, Italy.

‘A Due Passi’ (A Few Steps from Here) with Bibi Agosto - Short film on Borders and Identities. Awarded the Fiati Cortissimi National Prize, Treviso, Italy.

Selected Conference Papers

'Being Young, Being Immigrant and Playing Football in Contemporary Ireland'. Fourth International Conference on Sport, Race and Ethnicity, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June.

'Narrating Film Fieldwork with Youth: Cross-Cultural Encounters on and offthe Football Pitch'. Second International Visual Methods Conference, The Open University, Milton Keynes, September.

'Football and Social Inclusion of Immigrant Teenagers: An Ethnographic Account'. Seminar organized by Fondazione Zancan and Fondazione Migrantes, Trento, Italy, July.

'Let the Ball Do the Talk: What football Can Tell Us About the Lives of Teenagers in the new European City'. Critical Themes in Media Studies Conference, The New School, New York City, USA, April.

'Challenges and Gifts: Doing Visual Research with Teenagers On and Off the Football Pitch'. Perceiving Children - The Visual Anthropology of Childhood Conference. NAFA Festival & Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark.

‘Is it just a ball? Audiovisual Practice and the Transcultural Worlds of Teenagers Playing Football in Contemporary Ireland'. Youth 2010. Identities, Transitions, Cultures, University of Surrey, UK.

‘Kicking the Ball: Youth, Sport and Cultural Diversity in Ireland'; Postgraduate Workshop on Visual Anthropology, Ascona, Switzerland. Organized by Centro Incontri Umani (CH), University of St Andrews (UK), University of Goettingen (DE), University of Tromsø (NO.)






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