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Nationalism and Olympism: towards a normative theory of international sporting representation.

'If love is blind, patriotism has lost all five senses.' (1)

The concept of Olympism is best thought of as a philosophy of life based on the practice of sport and physical competition. Baron Pierre de Coubertin defined it as an attempt to group in a glorious synthesis all the characteristic principles which contribute to the development of human perfection. (7) Although this definition does not specify directly which principles are synthesised the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Charter does outline fundamental principles of the organisation, which shed light on the philosophy of Olympism. According to the IOC charter, Olympism is a movement which aims to blend sport with culture and education whilst seeking to create a way of life based on the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. Its goal therefore is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to prompting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity. (8) In light of this brief outline of Olympism, it is easy to see why many believe that a sporting movement underpinned by Olympism, is not coherent with nationalism. This understanding is based on the premise that nationalism is immoral, and its concomitant effects, when combined with sporting competition, brings to the fore an immorality.

In contrast, over a decade ago, William J. Morgan wrote an illuminating essay which rejected this view. Morgan argued that such presumptions are radically detached from both a carefully articulated understanding of nationalism and the Olympic ideal of internationalism as envisaged by de Coubertin. (9) According to Morgan, nationalism can be a virtue to be promoted, and its relation with sporting movements such as Olympism can be normative. In this paper we support Morgan's thesis that nationalism is not antithetical but complementary to Olympism, but also extend the analysis to explore the nature and limits of this nationalism in relation to representational eligibility rules for international sporting competition. We argue that international governing bodies should standardise sport-related citizenship processes between nations and different sports, and also make it more difficult for athletes to change citizenship for sporting purposes. Towards this end our argument comprises the following propositions:

1 That a version of nationalism is morally applaudable and its relation with Olympism is complementary;

2 That Olympism serves as a powerful context for reflective moral dialogue between nations, such dialogue is a pre-requisite for a morally acceptable manifestation of both nationalism and Olympism;

3 That moral dialogue between nations is crucial, but dialogue must be approached in a certain way if it is to be liberating and emancipatory. International eligibility rules must ensure that members are authentic reflective members if propositions 1 and 2 are to hold true.

Our focus within the first section of the paper is on the first two propositions. The work of Morgan (10) is particularly informative and relevant towards this end and the ensuing discussion is imperative for our argument in two ways. Firstly, Morgan's thesis is by no means universally accepted in terms of the relationship between Olympism and nationalism. Secondly, the argument that unfolds in the later part of this essay is based on the premise that Morgan's argument is persuasive. We therefore feel it is appropriate to support Morgan's thesis by giving our own interpretation on the debate in order to convince the antagonists of nationalism of its worthwhile credentials. By doing so, we hope to demonstrate a certain kind of virtuous nationalism.

Although we argue that Morgan's work provides the basis for the first two propositions, we believe that his thesis is in need of further attention if these premises are to be upheld. In the second section of the paper, we address the final proposition, namely, that international eligibility rules must ensure that members are authentic reflective members if the arguments set forth in the first section are to hold true. This discussion is centred on the increasing number of athletes representing countries other than the one in which they were born and brought up, and is therefore concerned with the inclusivity and exclusivity of the concept of national identity. This debate has been neglected academically, and unless it is paid due attention, we fear that Morgan's important thesis is in danger of being undermined through the implementation of policies and regulations that pay scant regard to meaningful national representation. In order to make clear our concern, we will draw on Macintyre's concepts of "internal" and "external" goods (11) to form a heuristic typology which aims to demonstrate how various manifestations of national identity differ significantly in their capacity to implement the virtuous account of the Olympism-nationalism relation (as argued in 1 and 2). More specifically, we argue that Morgan's articulation is in danger of becoming devoid of its normative and virtuous credentials unless we can engage those responsible for policy making, a task for which we hope our typology is well suited.

Morgan's Interpretation of de Coubertin's Idea of International Sporting Life (12)

It is of no surprise that the view that nationalism has a damaging effect on Olympism has become commonplace within sport nationalism studies. One does not need to be an astute historian to recount some of the horrors performed in the name of the nation. Indeed, as Ross Poole argues, nationalism is indelibly associated with some of the worst aspects of modern history as large number of otherwise decent people have carried out atrocities in the name of the nation. (13) Faced with such a stark evaluation of nationalism, many liberals see no alternative but to view nationalism as an obstacle to be overcome. They argue that an emphasis on nationalism is both morally and rationally indefensible, and that defining our moral obligations within such a particularistic context is subversive of the worthy ideals that liberalism sets out to achieve. Such liberals believe that nationalism and liberalism (in much the same way as nationalism and Olympism) are paradoxical, therefore have criticised any defence of national ties variously as "oxymoronic," (14) "irresponsible," (15) and ultimately "immoral." (16) What these philosophers have in common with those who embody the standard view of the nationalism-Olympism relation is the belief that the particularistic aims and commitments of nationalism contravene the universalistic aims and commitments of Olympism and liberalism respectively. Left with these observations, they believe that the rationally defensible alternative is to advance a form of cosmopolitanism which will satisfy the universal nature of liberalism and Olympism. The following quotation from Nussbaum epitomises these sentiments:
   Once someone has said, I am an Indian first, a citizen of the world
   second, once he or she has made that morally questionable move of
   self-identification by a morally irrelevant characteristic, then
   what indeed, will stop that person from saying ... I am an upper
   class landlord first, and a Hindu second? Only the cosmopolitan
   stance ... has the promise of transcending these divisions, because
   only this stance asks us to give our first allegiance to what is
   morally good--and that which, being good, I can commend as such to
   all human beings. (17)

Accordingly, all that needs to be done is to free such 'universal movements' (Olympism and liberalism) from nationalism's bogus rhetoric.

In contrast, Morgan questions this presumption that nationalism and Olympism necessarily stand in antithetical relation. (18) This seems to parallel a movement within mainstream political philosophy, namely, liberal nationalism. (19) Yael Tamir's Liberal Nationalism was the first of many attempts by political philosophers to justify and rationalize particularistic commitments by showing that it is possible to place national thinking within the boundaries of liberalism. Correspondingly, Morgan attempted to justify particularistic commitments by showing that it is possible to place national thinking within the boundaries of Olympism (20). More specifically, he believes that simply reducing nationalism as a contravening influence on Olympism is radically disconnected from alternative articulations of the Olympic ideal of internationalism, such as the one held by de Coubertin. Furthermore, he argues that such an antagonistic view of the Olympism-Nationalism relation fails to recognise the normative and virtuous substance of this relation, namely, that it can serve to better acquaint the diverse peoples and cultures of the world in order to develop a healthier mutual respect. In this sense, Morgan not only wants to demonstrate the possibility of placing national thinking within the boundaries of Olympism, but wants to show how both Olympism and nationalism benefit from such a rendering. The dynamic of this relationship can be brought into sharper focus if we consider Morgan's discussion of de Coubertin's distinction between cosmopolitanism and "sincere internationalism." (21)

De Coubertin made a distinction between two types of cosmopolitanism, the first of which he called "nomadic cosmopolitanism." (22) This sort of cosmopolitanism could be thought of as the modern day nomad who travels around the globe in search of adventure and pleasure. Such nomads either do not engage in the foreign cultures at all, or alternatively only engage in certain superficial aspects of these cultures. As Morgan argues, de Coubertin's dissatisfaction with the nomadic cosmopolitans lies with their unwillingness or incapacity to engage in different cultures in any substantive way. Consequently neither de Coubertin nor Morgan believe that anything of worth will be learnt from such encounters that could serve as the basis of meaningful conversations and relations between cultures. (23) Thus, nomadic cosmopolitanism is devoid of any normative or virtuous credentials that could serve as the Olympic ideal of internationalism.

The second form of cosmopolitanism identified by Coubertin is termed "enlightenment cosmopolitanism." This manifestation of cosmopolitanism requires a more careful analysis because it is the specific type of cosmopolitanism promoted by antagonists of nationalism. The tenet of this cosmopolitanism lies within the ideals of objectivity and universalism and is epitomized in Nagel's concept of "the view from nowhere." (24) It holds that people should be regarded as individual agents who have the capacity to act independently of all local connections and relations. Such a position entails that the liberal ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy should not be constrained by reference to particular social boundaries. In our moral reflections we should therefore privilege "a view from nowhere" (where relational facts such as particular persons, groups, practices, and institutions do not enter into deliberation) over "a view from somewhere" (where such relational facts guide and influence such reflection). People are therefore seen as abstract individuals who arrive at their most basic principles by seeing themselves as members of an egalitarian moral universe. (25) "Enlightenment cosmopolitans" shirk their particularistic attachments in favour of some objective vantage point, a view from nowhere, where notions such as "Welsh," "English," or "Scots"' would have no purchase.

De Coubertin rejected this version of cosmopolitanism as a form of utopianism "gone bad" (26) Morgan echoes such statements but his rejection of "enlightenment cosmopolitanism" further illuminates the untenability of a cosmopolitan basis to universal movements such as Olympism. (27) According to Morgan, the first problem with this cosmopolitanism is that no one yet has been able to produce a completely detached account of the world, nor is it likely that anyone will do so, for reaching such an impersonal and objective vantage point in order to make sense of the world, itself requires drawing on some other feature of that world as a backdrop. In other words, a consequence of particularistic socialisation (28) is that no-one is able to completely shed particularistic attachments all at once and occupy a "view from nowhere" where they can appeal to purely objective and universal criteria. Consequently it would seem dangerous to privilege a voice which claims to be coming from "nowhere" (objective and universal) because there is every reason to suspect that it is, in fact, a voice which comes from "somewhere" (subjective and particular). There is every reason to suspect that it is the masked voice of particularistic communities who selfishly spin their particular discourse in a professed and privileged language of universalism and objectivity. The danger with such universalism is that those who hold universal values (which we have every reason to suspect are particular values dressed in universal overtones) no longer think that they need to justify such values.

The second criticism of enlightenment cosmopolitanism allows, for the sake of argument, that it may be possible to shed particularistic attachments and occupy a "view from nowhere." What follows, Morgan points out, is that lifting persons from their particular cultures also denies them any tools or language to speak intelligibly or act meaningfully on any culture. This is the reason why he thinks the view from nowhere gets us nowhere. (29) In other words, it is particularistic attachments which furnish people with the necessary understandings that give any meaning or significance to the way they act, what they say, and the way they view and treat others. If they are denied their particular and cultural context, then anything they say will be bereft of importance and significance. Accordingly, if they do succeed in expunging all particularistic attachments, what they will have is not a set of values and principles that, due to their cosmopolitan orientation, speak to everyone. Rather, they would have a set of values and principles that speak to no-one. The reason why such a description 'gets us nowhere' is the same reason that cosmopolitanism lacks insight and intelligibility, namely that it eliminates from our view those very things (beliefs, values, rules, conventions) that we need to make sense of ourselves and others. (30) In tying both criticisms of cosmopolitanism together, the only method of discerning whether a view which claimed to be universal was not just another particular one would be its uselessness. (31) As a consequence, this form of cosmopolitanism is also void of any normative or virtuous credentials (that is, the capacity to better acquaint the various cultures of the world) that could serve as the Olympic ideal of internationalism.

George Orwell commented that political thinkers can be divided into two classes: "the utopian with his head in the cloud and the realist with his feet in the mud. (32) This seems apt to the case in hand for even if our discussion on cosmopolitanism has successfully revealed their projects as untenable and "utopian" it would have also exposed the "mud" in which the proponents of nationalism and particularism find themselves. In arguing that individuals are dependent on their particular cultures, Morgan concedes that proponents of such an account are immediately susceptible to criticism. In revealing the untenability of cosmopolitanism, nothing has been done to ease the concerns regarding nationalism and its particularistic nature. The claim that such a reality is "immoral" remains intact, and in fact, our argument has exposed the fact that humans are particularistic creatures. If humans are bound by such particularism, then this realisation suggests that there is no point in attempting to be better acquainted with the diverse peoples and cultures of the world. Extended to the world of sport, the outcome of our arguments is that nationalism, as a form of particularism, is a contemporary inevitability. If so, international movements such as the Olympic Games have no international commitments, but rather are driven by the local narrow agendas of different nations. (33) In this sense, the Olympism-nationalism relation would not have any normative force, but rather would merely be the barren representation of reality.

This conclusion, however, is premature, and fails to account for the fact that nationalism can take various forms. Critics of nationalism are usually blind to these various manifestations and concentrate on a vulgar form of nationalism, one that discounts the possibility of rendering nationalism in a more reflective manner. What distinguishes the former from the latter is the fact that a reflective nationalist acknowledges that we must interpret the world from a particularistic vantage point, but, importantly, insists that we are not necessarily estranged from those who occupy other vantage points. (34) In this sense there needs to be a demarcation between sociological or anthropological reality on the one hand, and its potential exteriorization on the other. The reality of the situation is that humans are inevitably placed inside their practices, and such situatedness is essential if we are to make sense of ourselves and of others. However, although this sociological reality is a pre-requisite for meaningful dialogue, it does not set the limits for such dialogue. In other words, the potential exteriorization of this sociological reality accommodates more than a vulgar manifestation of nationalism. The fact that humans come from "somewhere" rather than "nowhere" does not mean that it is not possible to proceed beyond that context. Particular insight can move beyond vulgar relativism (in the form of nationalism), if humans strive to acknowledge and reflect, with adequate knowledge, on the particular cultures of others and contexts. Accepting our particularism (and in this instance nationalism), and rejecting cosmopolitanism is indispensable in this regard. Ironically, therefore, it is particularism that should constantly remind humans of tolerating difference and attempting to learn from the values and understanding of others.

The best method of transcending the dangers of universalism is to accept our particularistic cultures and values. If it is accepted that understanding is a matter of historical and contextual contingency, then it should be accepted that there is no such thing as a completely universal and objective understanding. Particular values and outlooks will therefore be viewed as something which could be challenged, debated, or changed in reference to other sources of understanding (other particular cultures). In this sense the most effective safety valve for particular beliefs and values is another set of particular beliefs and values. The motivation for intercultural dialogue and cooperation stems from understanding and respecting particular cultures, not by advocating cosmopolitan ones. Consequently, and in contrast to the cynical view of nationalism, accepting particularism does not lead to building walls around cultures, but rather serves as a foothold for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation. When nationalism is viewed as such, it is by no means "oxymoronic" to the values of liberalism or is it by any means "irresponsible" and "immoral."

Jim Parry has acknowledged the paradoxical difficulty facing movements such as Olympism, for it is a universal movement that must somehow be constituted by particular cultures. (35) De Coubertin's interpretation of this relationship, however, which he termed "sincere internationalism" seems to parallel reflective nationalism, and in this sense, recognises that this relationship need not be negative. As Richard Holt puts it:
   Coubertin did not wish to promote nationalism, which he defined as
   a hostility to other countries. On the contrary, he sought to
   foster patriotism. which he felt combined the love of one's country
   with an acceptance and appreciation of the love that other peoples
   felt for theirs. Sport was to be the means of recognizing
   differences between peoples within the wider framework of a common
   humanity deriving from Greek culture--'the Esperanto of the races'
   as Jean Giradoux was later to put it. The Olympic Games aimed to
   foster a religion of patriotism, directing the new power of
   national identity into constructive and peaceful channels. (36)

Parry's distinction between "concept" and "conceptions," seems particularly relevant to our discussion. In our interpretation of Parry's terms, the 'concept' of Olympism represents a thin range of values to which each nation can sincerely commit. The above quotation from Holt along with the fundamental principles of the IOC seems to represent certain aspects of the 'concept' of Olympism. However, each nation which commits to this general 'concept' will also have differing "conceptions" within the general concept in terms of what constitutes the "good life," depending on their own culture, location, history, tradition, and projected future. (37) The important thing is that this general 'concept' of Olympism should see itself as a neutral between the alternative conceptions of the good to be found in those cultures that form the international Olympic community. (38) Consequently, if the general concept of Olympism is neutral between these various conceptions, then it can truly serve to better acquaint the diverse peoples and cultures of the world. The following quotation form Morgan seems to compound de Coubertin's notion of 'sincere internationalism' and Parry's notion of "concept" and "conceptions:"
   ... the mark of a sincere internationalism is that it is premised
   on nationalism without being reducible to it. It is premised on
   nationalism in the sense that there is nothing beyond nations, and
   the various kinds of cultural communities that make them up, which
   could serve as a placeholder for internationalism. At the same
   time, it is not reducible to nationalism in the sense that it is an
   admixture of different nations and their characteristic forms of
   life, an admixture by which blending these different strands of
   national life together creates an international, cross-cultural
   language that is, strictly speaking, neither ours nor theirs. (39)

In fact, Morgan has been a consistent defender of the notion that global sporting events such as the Olympics are well suited to bring the diverse peoples and cultures of the world together. (40) He argues that international sporting competition represents one arena where nations come alive and are able to express themselves. Therefore, such competition has an important narrative potential whereby different particular societies can learn more about each other. Though, admittedly, it is true that such competition can sometimes serve to reassert the dominating position of the richer and more powerful societies, and also their potential to saturate the conversational space with their own narratives. However, Morgan has argued that this narrative potential of sport can also help to break this one sided character of conversations. (41) He argued that such competition can alter the moral psychology of nations by providing a stage in which the weaker and dominated nations can represent themselves as "conversational partners" rather than "monological foils." Morgan's exemplification of this process through the tale of the Algerian athlete Boulmerka is particularly instructive and insightful. (42)

Hassiba Boulmerka is an Algerian Olympic Gold medal winning former middle distance runner. Her impressive accomplishments on the track in the Olympics and World Championships were widely celebrated by Algerians and she was a source of national pride. At the same time, however, an increasingly vocal and influential group of Muslims rebuffed her accomplishments as those that violated the Muslim code of Purdah (that among other things requires women to conceal their bodies). This backlash eventually forced Boulmerka to live and train in exile. The lesson of this story is that Boulmerka's decision not to abide by the Purdah and the ensuing backlash should be considered as a morally significant social text. In this sense, the multinational athletic community served as the context for cultural dialogue that allowed people and cultures (and their associated values) to converse with one another. This is what Morgan means when he argues that the sporting arena can act as a transmitter for cultural narratives that serve as the basis for fundamental moral discourse between different nations and communities. In the case of Boulmerka it proved to be
   an occasion to speak out, to convey (especially to young Algerians
   not yet enamoured with or daunted by fascist fundamentalists and to
   Westerners, both young and old, not yet enamoured with the
   stereotypical views of Muslims that greet them at every turn), that
   Islamic culture is not the hotbed of fanaticism ... (and) not
   necessarily hostile either to individual effort or to the plight of
   women. (43)

In short, Boulmerka's tale demonstrates the capacity of international sport as an opportune context in which different system of beliefs and values can be pitted against each other, and the outcome of such discourse can often lead to liberation and freedom.

The reason why international sporting movements are an important means for such cultural dialogue is the fact that they are universal movements which are particularly constituted (that is, Olympism is premised on nationalism, but not reducible to it). In the sense that Olympism is not reducible to nationalism, we mean that such a movement can draw us out of our ethnocentric crannies and invite us to consider alternative ways of living and of morally sizing up the significance of our lives. (44) In the sense that Olympism is premised on nationalism, we mean that in drawing 'us' (particular cultures) out of our 'ethnocentric crannies' it does so without asking us to take a metaphysical leap of faith, without insisting that we subscribe to some grand meta-narrative and stake our hopes for a better, more peaceful life on an abstract, anti-historical, difference-blind conception of human nature. (45) In other words, what we can learn from the Boulmerka example that Olympism promotes reflective and "sincere" internationalists because it predisposes us to consider alternative ways of viewing the world, and, importantly, draws our attention to those, such as Boulmerka, who carry narratives which are suppressed in their own cultures. But in doing this, it does not promote the dangerous and misleading idea that there is one true, universal, and correct perspective "out there" waiting to be discovered, and therefore reminds us that our values should always be held to scrutiny and never accepted without qualification. In a nutshell, the Olympism-nationalism relation serves as the gestation ground for "sincere" and reflective nationalists not cosmopolitans, and this is a virtue that should not be underestimated, for, as Morgan reminds us:
   Universalists hold that if we want to escape the parochialism of
   our home-spun narratives our only option is to shun them and all
   similarly constituted particular perspectives in favour of Nagel's
   fabled 'view from nowhere'. Cosmopolitan folk like Boulmerka ...,
   by contrast, reject this option because in denying us a foothold in
   any of the perspectives in which people can craft the narratives
   that give meaning and moral significance to their lives, it both
   denudes our conversations of any substance (reducing our discourse
   to dry, abstract jargon) and denies us in any real or important
   access to our interlocutors (reducing our conversational partners
   to dry, abstract, denarrated subjects). That is why cosmopolitans
   insist on conversations in which what Charles Taylor calls a
   'fusion of horizons' is required, in which a convergence of
   particular points of view is the intended aim and outcome. In other
   words, for cosmopolitans opening up our local conversations means
   precisely what it suggests: learning to speak the language of our
   interlocutors rather than translating it into our own language.

The case of Boulmerka is by no means an isolated one, and the nature of this Narrative potential of international competition is manifold. Such competition can also act as a platform in which dominated cultures can be given the voice to counter the hegemonic nature of international relations. There is, perhaps, no better example of this than the way in which the Hungarian water polo victory against the Soviet Union in the 1956 Olympics represented a symbolic form of resistance against the Soviet occupation of Hungary, and a symbolic demonstration of support for the Hungarian revolution of the same year. Robert Rinehart argues that the 1956 Melbourne Olympics created high visibility and opportunity for Hungarian athletes to be far more that mere water polo players, since they were representing a country (along with their cultural narrative of oppression) which might contribute to an articulation of cultural and physical inspiration and more importantly could educate the Western world of Hungarians' right to Hungary. (47) Similarly, Guttman notes that sporting victories by old Colonial nations against European sports organisations contributed to the destruction of the myth of colonial power (48) and therefore, as Rinehart commented, acted as a vehicle to tell the 'haves' that they cannot control the freedoms of the "have nots."

When viewed from this perspective, the associated narratives of certain individuals or nations in sport, remind us that international competition is a morally significant terrain. Whether the outcome of the moral discourse that emanates from such competition presents a new image of Muslim women (for both Muslims and Westerners), or serves as context for symbolic forms of resistance against oppression, we believe that it can truly serve to better acquaint the diverse peoples and cultures of the world in order to develop a healthier mutual respect. When the Olympism-nationalism relation is not viewed from the skewed position of cosmopolitanism, and when nationalism is not manifested in its vulgar forms, this relation can be seen as normative of our desires.

Our aim in this first section was to demonstrate that this relationship is a normative one by illustrating that international sporting movements such as Olympism need nationalism in order to avoid the aforementioned dangers of utopian visions of cosmopolitanism and universalism. On the other hand, we also wished to illustrate that nationalism needs international movements such as Olympism in order to be drawn away from its vulgar manifestation. Thus, nationalism needs to be reminded of its internationalism whilst international movements such as Olympism need to be reminded of their national constitution. If our interpretation of Morgan's theses has been successful we hope to have diminished the cynical view of nationalism's presence within Olympism and outlined the moral salience of international sport practices, and therefore, to use Orwell's terminology, free the realists' feet from the mud.

International Eligibility and the Olympism-Nationalism Relationship

Nationality, citizenship, and eligibility have become increasingly relevant in sport, where globalisation has lead to an expanding movement of players crossing international borders. (49) This phenomenon has been widely studied in several contexts, for example the case of "borderless athletes" in Japanese sport, (50) the issue of sporting labour migration within British ice hockey, (51) and rugby talent migration from Samoa to New Zealand. (52) These studies have been based around the increasing number of athletes choosing to prioritise certain professed cultural links above other more obvious ones. (53) When we move beyond the narratives of the individual athletes however, it becomes apparent that nation-swapping in sport is not merely to be explained as the acts of individual athletes. (54) Nation-swapping has developed into a more strategic, planned, and economically driven activity and involves the overt collusion of National Governing Bodies, corporate sponsors and political benefactors. Qatar and Bahrain are among a growing number of countries that actively recruit elite level athletes to improve the medal winning prospects of their Olympic team. In one of the most notorious events of this kind, the Georgian Field Hockey federation offered to "fast-track" citizenship to the bulk of South Korean women's field hockey squad in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

IOC President Jacque Rogge, echoing much of what has passed for debate on the issue, has expressed concern that the IOC's rules should discourage countries or organizations wanting to buy athletes just for the money. (55) The IOC points to the current international eligibility regulations expressed in Rule 42 of the Olympic Charter to support its position. The rule primarily relies on the legal national status of the individual and allows athletes who have dual nationality, or have acquired a new nationality, to represent another country provided at least three years have passed since they last represented their former country. However, this three year period may be significantly decreased if both national federations involved can come to an agreement. (56) As Rule 42 is subject to the citizenship process of different nations, it means that changing one's nationality for international sporting representation purposes may well vary from one country to the next.

In the context of international sporting representation, it is the role of such regulations to expound the concept of nationalism and national identity. In line with the interpretive position within philosophy of sport literature, (57) we believe that such regulations should be guided by the internal goods of the practice. To many, international competition does not constitute a sport as such, but rather an extension. That is, the internal perspective of international sports has nothing to do with the internal goods of the sport played; rather, it is the nationalist aspect which constitutes its internal goods. For example, an international rugby match is only different to other major rugby matches due to its nationalist aspect; therefore, international sporting competition can be viewed as a separate entity, almost as a sport in itself, but one which receives its basic orientation from the concept of national identity. This realisation is especially important considering MacIntyre's argument that institutions (such as the IOC) which support various practices (such as the Olympics) are characteristically and necessarily concerned with what he called external goods. They are concerned with acquiring money and other material goods which MacIntyre argues is essential if they are to sustain themselves and the practice which they support.58 Although this is exemplified in the commercialisation of all professional sports, it is argued that achieving these external rewards is to a large extent parasitic on achieving the internal ones. (59) Thus, in most cases the relationship between the internal and external goods is intimate, and although the internal goods of the practice are always vulnerable to the acquisitiveness of the institution, the institution itself is limited and kept in check by the rules and internal goods of sport, thus sustaining some form of equilibrium. This does not mean that there are never any problematic issues, but rather that the intertwined relationship between the formal rules of the game, its internal goods, and the institutions which govern it, means that the virtues of the practice will be protected. In the context of international representation there is a change in dynamic which means that this relationship is attenuated because the internal perspectives (national identity) are in many senses external to the institutions making the regulations (sport- governing bodies). In other words, what we are arguing is that sport-governing bodies are not connected to the concept of national identity (the internal good of international competition) in the same way as they are connected to the particular sport they govern. Therefore, these institutions are not necessarily bound to any internal perspective and the risk of such practices to lose sight of the virtues of such a practice is increased as certain underlying principles (national identity) are not necessarily taken as normative to the activity in question.

What we are arguing, then, is that there seems to be a worrying gap between the virtues of international competition and the rules which should expound them, a worry that is aggravated in light of recent trends in international representation politics. Our attention for the remainder of this essay will focus on our third premise, namely that international eligibility rules must ensure that members are authentic reflective members if moral dialogue through sport is to be liberating and emancipatory. We argue that there is significant evidence that Olympism, which should be a 'concept' which is neutral between its particular constituents, has in many senses become a 'conception' which promotes the values of particular cultures more than others. In this sense, international sports do not, contrary to our arguments in the first section, act as an opportunity for the 'fusion of horizons' but to an imposition of one horizon over another. (60) We reiterate that we wholeheartedly agree with Morgan that it is not nationalism's presence within Olympism that leads to such cultural imperialism, but rather eligibility rules that undermine the normative relevance of the virtues of such competition. Thus, Morgan's important and morally uplifting thesis is in danger of being taken down from the inside by eligibility rules that give ground to the corrupting power of institutions. In pursuing this line of inquiry we are acutely aware that we are trading closely with the values associated with vulgar nationalism, of emphasising the difference between "us" and "them," and this is certainly not a virtue to be promoted. But the fact that we need to avoid vulgar manifestations of nationalism, of totally fixed conceptions of national identity, does not mean that all questions of the limits on national identity are taboo.

In order to make clear our concern and provide this issue some philosophical and moral insight, we will outline a heuristic typology differentiating between three types of national representatives: the "redundant cosmopolitan," the "opportunistic cosmopolitan," and the "authentic national." The purpose of this demarcation is to demonstrate how these various national representatives embody totally contrasting manifestations of national identity. Consequently, these various manifestations differ significantly in their capacity to implement the virtues of the Olympism-nationalism relation, a matter that we feel should engage those responsible for policy making.

The Redundant Cosmopolitan

* RC was born and brought up in country X.

* As RC becomes older, he still has not been selected to represent country X since his performances are not good enough.

* RC, however, is good enough to represent country Y which does not have so many talented athletes. Y approaches RC and asks him to convert from country X to Y.

* RC accepts and is granted a fast-track citizenship to country Y.

* RC represents country Y and 'buys into' aspects of the culture in order to justify his defection.

* RC attempts to establish himself as a true 'national' of country Y and denies the importance of X within his identity.

A few examples might elucidate the "redundant cosmopolitan." Maguire referred to how the British Ice Hockey team, during a then recent World Championships, consisted of 15 Canadian dual-nationals out of a squad of 23. (61) Maguire refers to these athletes as hired mercenaries because representing another nation does not call into question their sense of being Canadian. They aspire to be and play against the best. Representing another nation involves playing for a flag of convenience. (62) Such sentiments resemble similar conclusions found in Stead and Maguire's investigations of overseas cricketers on the English team, where players often play for countries other than the place of their birth, and therefore, like elite ice hockey migrants, are less interested in patriot games. (63) Similarly, Holmes and Storey have documented the "anglo dominance" on the Republic of Ireland's national soccer team during the 1990s, which was demonstrated by the fact that on six occasions a team started with nine players who were not born or brought up in Ireland. (64) So tenuous were the attachments of some of these players that jokes began circulating about having once visited Dublin, or having lifted a pint of Guinness, as being sufficient grounds for representing Ireland. Holmes and Storey draw on the biographies of these individuals in order to gather information on the motives of their representation; their findings demonstrate that these players chose to represent Ireland out of a wish to play at the highest level possible rather than from a desire to represent the nation. A quotation from Manchester-born Paul Butler, who became eligible to play for Ireland on the basis of being married to an Irish woman, but who was also eligible to play for both England and Wales, epitomises their findings:
   I have to admit that when I looked at the resources of the two
   teams, Ireland appeared to be that much better off with a lot of
   their players involved in the Premiership. I mean it's exciting for
   me to be in the same squad as players like Roy Keane and Robbie
   Keane. The other fact which impressed me is the type of game
   Ireland play. It seemed to me that it was better suited to my
   strengths and so here I am. (65)

But perhaps the most infamous of all is the Grannygate scandal in 2000, where two New Zealanders, Brett Sinkinson and Shane Howarth, represented the Welsh rugby side during the revival of the Welsh national team in the 1998/ 1999 season under Graham Henry. They represented Wales through claims that they had Welsh grandparents. However both claims were false, and both players were disqualified from representing Wales (although Sinkinson did return to play for Wales under the three year residency rule). Such was the mentality of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) during this period leading up to the revelations that it advertised in Australia for international players. The Australian rugby review's special World Cup edition included a half-page advertisement calling for players in Australia to check their family trees for Welsh ancestors. The advert includes a photograph of the then Welsh coach Graham Henry with a Welsh flag draped across his shoulders and listed the telephone and fax numbers of the WRU.

Although the circumstances surrounding these examples differ, a commonality is the fact that these athletes were surplus to requirements in their native countries. It is probable that their motive for defection were purely for career enhancement, along with the accompanying external goods that would accompany it, such as money and status. RC could not represent X so he/she settled for Y. Although slightly less plausible, the motives of RC might not have been selfish at all. Perhaps his decision to convert was an extraordinary act of altruism towards struggling country Y. Regardless of their actual motive for defection, the problem is that their actions suggest that involvement with country Y is merely a means to an end. In this sense, representing Y is a means of acquiring goods that are external to the virtues of international representation, and their actions suggest that any demonstration of the internal goods can be thought of as what Aristotle termed "simulacra," that is, behaviour adopted to secure their own personal ends. (66) In such circumstances it is not the actuality of national attachment that is the driving force but the external goods such as money, fame, and career enhancement.

Since we argue, in line with Morgan, that the view from nowhere gets us nowhere, (67) then it means that we believe that situatedness in particular contexts is inevitable. This unavoidable reality is also ultimately essential since it is this context which provides humans with the necessary understanding that gives meaning or significance to the way we act, what we say, and the way we view and treat others. If such particularistic context has such a large part to play in forming our identities, then it is very unlikely that anyone could drop all feelings of attachments at once. In light of this, one has every reason to suspect that a "redundant cosmopolitan" who claims to have dropped all feelings of loyalty to their previous cultural context in order to attach to a new culture is merely an attempt to justify their defection. Even if they do genuinely feel attached to their new culture at the expense of their previous one, the fact that they can disregard previous attachments so easily suggests that they could do so again, if they wished. Although they might seem to be immersing themselves completely in their new culture, the fact that they were able to completely abandon their previous attachments means that in reality their involvement is merely superficial as they only interact in the paraphernalia of the adopted culture as long as it suits their needs.

The problem with this is that what we have is international competition that is distorted since those who are doing the representing are not those who authentically embody the various particular cultures (and their associated values). The case of Maryam Yusuf Jamal illustrates our concern, especially in its contrast with Boulmerka's tale. Jamal, previously known as Zenebech Kotu Tola, was born and brought up in Ethiopia, but sought political asylum in Switzerland in 2004. Shortly afterwards, however, she attempted to qualify as a middle distance runner for Ethiopia in the 2004 Olympics. Jamal was refused permission to represent her home country by the Ethiopian Athletic Federation due to the high level of competition in the country, along with alleged political reasons. Consequently, she attempted to apply for citizenship in America, Canada, and France before Bahrain took interest and offered her fast-track citizenship under the condition that she and her husband took Arabic names. Jamal was promised 1,100 euros per month and a special award of 80,000 euros for representing Barhain. (68) Two months later, Jamal won the gold medal at the Osaka world championship and, in the process, like Boulmerka, violated the Muslim code of Purdah by competing in shorts and a midriff baring top. The Bahraini athletics association was not happy with her outfit and commented that they would provide Jamal with another, less revealing, outfit. Jamal indicated that she would not wear such an outfit. It would seem that Jamal's tale has the same narrative potential as Boulmerka's in that it is a morally significant social text. Jamal's sporting achievement, thus, contributes to an understanding of alternative ways of living for young Bahraini women as well as alternative external views of Bahraini women, their culture and values. There is, however, a fundamental difference between both cases.

Jamal's attachment to Bahrain is so tenuous that she is not really representing anyone but herself. The narrative that her accomplishments generate there fore is in isolation from any particular culture and is certainly not connected to Bahraini culture and way of life. The fact that Jamal still lives and trains in Switzerland and the fact that she is not Muslim (like the majority of Bahrainis) means that the emancipatory potential of her exploits fails to register in any significant way on the lives of Bahrainis. Furthermore, her accomplishments for Bahrain might lead to serious misconceptions, for it might obscure other cultures and nations to truly understand and learn from the lives of real Bahraini Muslim women. If a nation is represented by "redundant cosmopolitans" then it is a misrepresentation of the cultures who are participating. Therefore, allowing such 'redundant cosmopolitan' athletes to compete in international competition fails to implement the virtues of such competition (proposition 1 and 2) since it leads to distortion and misunderstanding rather than greater understanding.

There are, however, two other important issues in Jamal's case, and although they do not really affect the more general point we are making, neither can they be ignored. The first of these is the fact that Jamal was granted political asylum. There is no question that individuals who fear for their safety should be given political asylum and our argument in no way disputes this. Jamal claimed that she sought political asylum due to personal reasons and the fact that she had encountered difficulty in going abroad to compete. And although there were no indications that she was in any danger of persecution were she to return to Ethiopia this is not the brunt of our argument here. In fact, we argue that it would have been a morally virtuous narrative had she represented Ethiopia at the Olympics as an asylum seeker, for as we have argued, such competition can serve as an arena to illuminate the grievances of a culture, and therefore might lead to the liberation and the betterment of human lives. The second important issue involves the reason why the Ethiopian Athletic Federation rejected her bid to represent them in the 2004 Olympics. Were she rejected because she wasn't good enough, which is plausible, then our argument stands more or less intact, namely, she had every right to seek political asylum but should not have been allowed to represent another nation in the manner that she did. However, were she rejected for political reasons, as she claims, then the issue becomes more complicated, and in our opinion goes beyond the responsibility of the individual. It is surely the role of the IOC or similar international governance to ensure that athletes are not refused the right to represent their nation on political grounds. If this is the case then it is fair to conclude that Jamal is not to blame. What is beyond doubt is that in being rejected and choosing to represent Bahrain, her subsequent accomplishments carried no important cultural messages that might be deemed morally significant, and in reality helped no one but herself. Had she persisted and insisted on her right to represent Ethiopia (and we accept that this could not solely be her responsibility) then her subsequent sporting accomplishments would have done far more to inflate the morally significant narrative potential of such competition.

To conclude this point, we argue that regulations governing international representation in events such as the Olympic Games ought to lessen the likelihood that national federations will pursue the development of their Olympic teams through "redundant cosmopolitans." Our reason for this conclusion is that the actions of such cosmopolitans suggest that their involvement in national representation is at best a means to an end. They therefore fail to implement the virtues of international representation (that is, being truly representative of particular cultures) and therefore the potential of international competition as a means to bring the various particular cultures of the world together is lost. Since those who are doing the representation are no longer the products and bearers of a particular culture, competition that involves "redundant cosmopolitans" will lead to distortion and misunderstanding. Our discussion on "redundant cosmopolitans" has demonstrated that the morally significant narrative potential of international competition might be lost unless eligibility regulations are duly regarded. Our discussion on the second type of representative, the "opportunistic cosmopolitan" is intended to demonstrate how current eligibility rules are also actively unethical.

The Opportunistic Cosmopolitan

* OC is a world class athlete who was born and brought up in country X.

* OC has represented country X on many occasions.

* Country X is a poor and weak nation, but is renowned for developing world class athletes.

* OC is approached by country Y, which is a rich and powerful nation, and they ask him to convert from country X and represent them from now on.

* Although OC does not have any obvious attachment to country Y, OC converts from X to Y.

* OC represents Y in international competition but does not seem to engage in culture Y in any substantive way (apart from sport).

Again, the "opportunistic cosmopolitan" is not merely a hypothetical construct. Stephen Cherono was born and brought up in Kenya, and won gold for Kenya in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. However, six weeks before the World Athletics Championship in Paris, the Kenyan athlete converted to Qatar. Cherono was required to change his name to Saif Saeed Shaheen in order to be granted Qatari citizenship. Shaheen admitted he made this choice for financial reasons after being promised a life pension of 1,000 dollars per month.69 He won the gold medal for Qatar in Paris. Similarly, in 2005 the former Kenyan 1500m Olympic medallist Bernard Lagat was granted US citizenship. Lagat won a double gold medal for USA in the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. The list goes on and the trend is summarised effectively in that ten of the eleven track and field athletes taken to the 2008 Olympic Games by Bahrain were former Kenyan or Moroccan athletes.

What these athletes have in common is that they chose to represent nations despite not having any clear attachment to them. In similar vein to the "redundant cosmopolitan" the "opportunistic cosmopolitan's" motivation is to acquire the external rewards that may be offered, for example, money, fame, and career enhancement. It is, however, plausible that despite being offered financial incentives, OC's motive for accepting was not selfish, but rather to better the lives of his family members (inhabitants of X). By defecting to Y, OC could secure the family financially, and thus the act was done out of feelings of loyalty and attachment to X. What is fairly clear from the actions of OC is that the driving force is not the actuality of feelings of attachment to Y. In this sense, the "opportunistic cosmopolitan" is subject to all the criticisms of the "redundant cosmopolitan" but there are certain aspects of this type of cosmopolitanism which need to be addressed in order to affirm its own shortcomings. The main difference between the two types of cosmopolitans is that the 'opportunistic cosmopolitan' could represent his native country but chooses not to, or chooses to stop doing so. We are not arguing that everyone will find it best to stay in their native countries and cultures, and it must be accepted that any international eligibility regulations must take into account migration and diaspora. Our argument is that evidence strongly suggests that these processes are usually the result of forces that we should deplore, namely, the external goods that are part of international competition. Nation-swapping has developed into a more strategic, planned, and economically driven activity that involves national governing bodies and corporate and political benefactors promising talented athletes money and career opportunities. The inherent problem with this is that the world is not universal in its distribution of wealth and power. This means that some countries and cultures will benefit more from eligibility rules that allow for "opportunistic cosmopolitans."

An example of this inequality is that for the 2004 Olympic Games there were 270 naturalized (70) participants. Detailed statistics show how the majority of these individuals had grown up in less powerful countries and eventually competed for the richer and more powerful nations. Poli discovered how the balance in naturalizations on a continental or sub-continental scale is positive for Western Europe (+67), America (+22) and Oceania (+12) whilst negative for Eastern Europe (-47), Africa (-36) and Asia (-18). (71) This realisation has significant implications regarding our virtuous reading of the Olympism-nationalism relation (proposition 1 and 2). The arguments set forth in the first section of this paper will be undermined were one to allow a conception of national identity that favoured particular countries. We have argued that what distinguishes the moral credentials of the Olympism-nationalism relation is its potential as an area to allow us to reach beyond our particular contingencies. But such credentials can only be upheld if such international movements are neutral in terms of the various particulars that constitute them. If this general concept is itself undermined by allowing conception of national representatives that favours particular cultures over others, then the normative reading of the Olympism-nationalism relation will have no purchase. It means that some nations have the capacity to acquire the best athletes and strengthen their position in dominating the international sporting scenes. The most obvious objection to this is that the weaker and poorer nations could lose many of their best talents and therefore will never fulfil their potential on the international scene. The more pressing ramification is that it will strengthen the position of some cultures to dominate the storytelling and narrative capacity of such competition. This also means that it will work to suffocate the counter-hegemonic potential of international competition as an arena where the smaller and weaker nations can achieve due recognition as worthy conversational partners. In such a situation, Olympism no longer represents a foothold for intercultural dialogue and understanding, but rather serves as an arena which might obscure the need for the recognition of difference.

There is no better example of this than the way in which the international eligibility rules of rugby union have, in the past especially, stacked up against the Pacific Islanders (Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga) in favour of the bigger nations such as New Zealand and Australia. Much of this criticism has been directed towards the New Zealand All Blacks for marginalising Samoan rugby by purposefully holding promising Samoan rugby talent within the All Black system which ultimately renders Samoan rugby to little more than a feeder program for New Zealand rugby. (72) The presence of Samoans on the All Blacks is by no means the embodiment of flexible national identities but rather an example of a thinly veiled veneer of cosmopolitanism, meaning that the Samoan "other" in rugby is less the adopted immigrant (that is, genuinely ingrained into the culture) than emigrant resource (as a means to strengthen the national team). (73)

Critics of the Olympism-nationalism relation are adamant that Olympism would be better served were one to drop the nationalistic aspect. In doing so they believe that international movements such as the Olympic Games can achieve their universal potential. Further, they believe that any attempt to justify particular attachments as a placeholder for bringing the diverse cultures of the world together is a waste of time. These critics would therefore view de Coubertin's "sincere internationalism" as being misled, or, as Parry noted: "... a kind of Western ethnocentrism, a kind of postcolonial imperialism foisting Western values on the rest of the world. The kind of 'universalism' to which both liberalism and Olympism pretend is just an ethnocentric smokescreen." (74)

We argue to the contrary that it is the critics of such a project who are guilty of the exact misinterpretations that they accuse the particularists of harbouring. Ironically it is those who wish to appeal to a universalism which is not particularly constituted that are in fact advocating a Western ethnocentrism or a kind of postcolonial imperialism. For as Morgan persuasively argues, a consequence of our particularistic socialisation is that one is not able to completely shed one's particularistic attachment all at once and claim a cosmopolitan and fluid identity. (75) It would therefore seem dangerous and foolish to allow "opportunistic cosmopolitans" to compete, for it means that we are privileging the external goods of international competition and therefore promoting the values of particular cultures over others. In doing so, any talk of cosmopolitanism and flexible identities is merely the stalking horse for vulgar manifestations of nationalism. If nationalism is eradicated from Olympism, that which displaces it is not a global identity but another form of particularism. A successful diffusion of nationalism would not be a simple loss of particularism, but rather the replacement of one kind of particularism with another. The problem with the latter form of particularism is that it is masked as a universal and cosmopolitan language which does not accept its own contingency as one voice among many. In this sense, having flexible eligibility rules which allow for "opportunistic cosmopolitans" means that in reality, power, money, and politics are privileged over our particularistic social attachments which are absolutely necessary if one is to have any meaningful cross cultural and universal understanding.

In conclusion, regarding both types of cosmopolitans, we argue that they are misled in their exteriorisation of the concept of nationalism. If Morgan has successfully articulated de Coubertin's "sincere internationalism" in such a fashion that persuasively warns against nationalism (or particularism) being taken down from the outside (that is, that nationalism should not be a part of international movements like Olympism) then we hope to have drawn attention to the dangers of it being taken down from the inside (that is, allowing a conception of national identity which undermines the normative relevance of national identity). Having argued which types of national representatives regulations ought not allow, discussion will now turn to the type of national representative that seems promising in animating the normative potential of international competition such as Olympism.

The Authentic National

* AN was born and brought up in country X.

* AN shows a sense of commitment and attachment to country X.

* AN moves to live in country Y.

* AN does not drop all his commitment and attachment to country X, but this commitment and love of country does allow him to understand and attach with country Y.

* Over a lengthy period of time AN naturally seems to develop a genuine attachment to Y which is evidenced by his significant commitment to Y, a commitment that goes beyond the field of sport.

* In demonstrating such a commitment to Y, AN has the opportunity to represent them in international competition and decided that he has sufficient attachment and commitment to do so.

These types of athletes include indigenous nationals as well as those who came to live in the country. In terms of those who came to live to the country at a later period in their life, they would accept the importance of their previous culture to them. They understand that the culture in which they were born and brought up has influenced and shaped who they are, and they do not claim, or wish to drop all their attachments. But they do reflect on these attachments and attempt to seek similarities in their new culture--whether be it a respect for language, culture, or politics. Over time, this type of athlete might naturally develop a genuine relationship with the culture in which they now live and would show significant commitment to that culture. However, if the athlete were a true reflective nationalist, the process of acquiring a new national identity would be a lengthy one that would occur naturally over time. Although the example above illustrates that it would be possible for an "authentic national" to represent a country other than the one in which they were brought up, such defection would be the exception, only in cases where family history is complicated or where the individual had travelled extensively throughout life.

Although finding an example of an "authentic national" that has defected is a difficult task, thus reaffirming it ought to be the exception, the case of the middle distance runner Wilson Kipketer might be cogent. Kipketer was born in Kenya but moved to Denmark when he was eighteen years old in order to study electronic engineering at Copenhagen University. During his time at the university Kipketer ran for Denmark, and in 1995, won the first of three World Championship gold medals. Kipketer was not allowed to run for Denmark in the 1996 Olympics as he had not yet gained full citizenship (subject to the citizenship laws of Denmark). It was seven years following his move to Denmark that Kipketer was granted Danish citizenship and he subsequently won silver and bronze in the Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004 respectively. He married his Danish girlfriend in 2000 and continues to live in Denmark following his retirement from athletics in 2005. Kipketer represents a different category from the ones habited by athletes such as Maryam Yusuf Jamal since Kipketer's actions indicate that his motivation to represent Denmark goes beyond mere financial and personal gains, and was based on a genuine commitment to the country. Kipketer could not run in the 1996 Olympic Games but still chose to wait for his full Danish Citizenship, rather that pursue other lines of possible international representation. These actions, accompanied by the fact that Kipketer has married his Danish girlfriend and continues to live in Denmark following his retirement shows a degree of commitment that is beyond what is required and therefore suggest he did not pursue Danish citizenship merely as a means to an end.

In advocating that international sporting competition should be a contest between "authentic nationals," we are not stating that individuals are forever bound by their particular context. We believe that occurrences such as the French 1998 football World Cup victory, whereby a large proportion of the team came from an ethnic minority background is morally significant in exactly the same way as Boulmerka's tale in that it was celebrated as an example of the modern multicultural French ideal. What can be undesirable if done so for the wrong reasons (pursuing national representation for the external goods) can be applauded when it flows from the real identities and values of persons and their cultures. What we are arguing is that unless we prioritize our particularistic social attachments and realise the normative relevance of national identity within universal movements such as the Olympics then we will not have a general concept to which each nation can sincerely commit. In ensuring that international competition is between "authentic nationals" the narrative potential of such competition can be fulfilled. It will serve as a context in which athletes such as Boulmerka can achieve success, and in turn contribute to new articulations of her own, and other cultures. If we are to continue to privilege power, money, and personal gain by advocating a flexible account of international eligibility then the whole virtuous potential of international competition will be lost, for athletes such as Boulmerka, and their important cultural tales, will be drowned out in favour of the narratives of those who already possess money, power, and self esteem. Considering the dangers of the development of such a post-colonial imperialism, it is important that we fully utilise sport's potential in rendering these realities into constructive and peaceful directions. Although some might argue that this is naive optimism, we agree with Parry that we should argue for and work towards such a future promise. (76)

Our typology might well be over-simplified, however, our hope is that its implications can engage those responsible in formulating sporting policies and therefore go someway towards utilising Olympism as an efficient means towards such a future promise. Normatively speaking, the implications of this typology is relatively straightforward, namely, that international competition should be between "authentic nationals" and not between both types of cosmopolitans (the "redundant" and the "opportunistic"). The reason being that it is the 'authentic nationals' who virtuously pursue the excellences of the practices, that is, meaningful and authentic national representation. Things do get more complicated, however, from an empirical perspective; in terms of how we ensure that those involved in international competition display these virtues. We believe our typology highlights certain fundamental principles in relation to the eligibility rules of the IOC. Firstly we feel that there are fundamental ethical problems if eligibility regulations rely on the diverse citizenship processes of individual nations. This leads to some countries such as Bahrain offering fast track citizenship to athletes in two months, and others, such as Switzerland, requiring 12 years of residency before granting citizenship. Such a regulation allows athletes to represent nations as a means towards the external goods associated with such competition, and is silent on what constitutes meaningful representation. This regulation ultimately leads to both the distortion of the narrative potential of international sport and also to cultural imperialism. Secondly, the regulation that allow athletes to represent different nations after a period of three years since they last represented their former country also has moral implications. It is unlikely that anyone would develop sufficient attachment to a country in order to make such representation meaningful within three years. Such a regulation allows athletes to nation-swap to the highest bidder, and therefore it privileges the external goods of such competition. The fact that this three year period can be significantly decreased if both federations come to an agreement further aggravates our concerns in this regard. We accept that affection for a country can take shape in a number of ways and at various rates, but authentic attachment and affection only develops through engagement over time when the individual is immersed to some degree in that culture to allow for the 'contamination' of one's prior patriotic affections with new ones. Given this, eligibility rules which subsequently lead to individual athletes meeting minimal residency requirements, with no meaningful engagement with the new country's social practices and its institutions are unlikely to develop any meaningful cultural expression through international sporting competition, and it is exactly this cultural expression that characterises its moral salience. While it may not be possible to ensure that all national representatives meaningfully embrace the values and customs of their country, standardising sporting related citizenship processes between nations, making it more difficult or impossible for athletes to represent more than one country in their careers, and ensuring that nations make specific, non-sporting related demands on its representatives is a step in the right direction.


In conclusion, we have attempted to dismiss outright criticisms of nationalism, and specifically its relation to sport. We have argued that a version of nationalism is morally applaudable and its relation with Olympism is complementary. Relying heavily on Morgan we have argued that Olympism serves as a powerful context for reflective moral dialogue between nations which is a pre-requisite for a morally acceptable manifestation of nationalism. Olympism also benefits from this relationship since it stresses the need for the recognition of difference rather than allowing the hegomonic powers to drown them out under the false pretence of universalism and cosmopolitanism. By outlining the nationalist imperative that is entailed and presupposed by movements such as the Olympics, we hope to have offered an account of international sporting representation that is both meaningful and morally salient. Inspired by Morgan's thesis our aim within this essay was to extend the analysis to question the nature and limits of this nationalism in terms of international eligibility regulations. More specifically we wished to demonstrate how certain national representatives (cosmopolitans) fail to implement the virtues of the Olympism-nationalism relation (proposition 1 and 2) since they do not "authentically" embody the cultures which they represent. This realisation is significant, for it undermines Morgan's morally important thesis, and renders it to a hollow victory. Parry rightly notes that anthropological experience is not a sufficient means of ethical theory therefore that it is necessary to provide an account of sport that reveals both its nature and its ethical potential. (77) This sums up what we have attempted to provide in this paper. By demonstrating that the "nature" of international competition is particular in its constitution, we hope that bringing this contingency to the surface (by advocating "sincere internationalism" and "authentic nationals") rather than masking it in universal overtones (cosmopolitanism) means that we have manifested its ethical potential.


(1) William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower (London: Zed Books), 26.

(2) For philosophical debates on the morality of nationalism see Stanford Levinson, "Is Liberal Nationalism an Oxymoron? An Essay for Judith Shklar," Ethics, 105 (1995), 626-645; Martha Nussbaum, "Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism," in: For Love of Country. Debating the Limits of Patriotism, ed. Joshua Cohen (Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1996), 2-17; Andrew Vincent, "Liberal Nationalism: An Irresponsible Compound? Political Studies, 45 (1997), 275-295; Nenad Miscevic, Nationalism and Beyond (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2001).

(3) Blum, Rogue State, 26.

(4) See Steven Reynolds, "The Influence of Sport Upon National Character," Joint Winner of the Wentworth Medal Essay Prize (1990); http:// ASSHBulletin16c.pdf

(5) George Orwell, "The Sporting Spirit," Tribune 1945.

(6) John Hargreaves "Olympism and Nationalism: Some Preliminary Considerations," International Review for the Sociology of Sport 27 (1992): 119-34.

(7) See M. Messerli, "Olympism," Bulletin du Comite International Olympique 81 (1963): 60.

(8) IOC, Olympic Charter (Lausanne, Switzerland: International Olympic Commitee, 2007).

(9) William J. Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism: A Critical Interpretation of Coubertin's Ideal of International Sporting Life." Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies IV (1995): 19-92.

(10) Ibid.

(11) Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (London: Duckworth, 1981).

(12) Throughout this essay we refer to de Coubertin's ideal of internationalism in terms of what we strive for. It is important to note that this is based on Morgan's critical interpretation of de Coubertin's thoughts. As Morgan noted, it would be risky to stand completely with de Coubertin for his explanation and defence of Olympic ideals were at best inconsistent. Therefore the use of de Coubertin within this essay is best thought of as an accessory to an argument--a means to an end rather than an end in itself. If we claim to tease out the personal (and correct) understanding of de Coubertin then our essay would miss the mark for we are trying to give reason for our arguments, not merely because de Coubertin said so.

(13) Ross Poole, Nation and Identity (New York: Routledge, 1999)

(14) Levinson, "Is Liberal Nationalism an Oxymoron"

(15) Vincent, "Liberal Nationalism."

(16) Miscevic, Nationalism and Beyond.

(17) Nussbaum, "Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism," 5.

(18) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(19) For further reading on the concept of liberal nationalism see Yael Tamir, Liberal Nationalism (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993); David Miller, On Nationality (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1995); Joshua Cohen, ed., For Love of Country. Debating the Limits of Patriotism (Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1996); and Jocelyne Couture, Kai Nielsen, and Michel Seymour, "Rethinking Nationalism." Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 22 (1998).

(20) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(21) Ibid.

(22) Our account of Coubertin on cosmopolitanism and nationalism is based on Morgan's (1995) critical interpretation. His account is based on Pierre de Coubertin's paper: "Does Cosmopolitan Life Lead to International Friendliness?" The American Monthly Review of Reviews, 4 (1898), 431.

(23) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(24) Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

(25) Miller, On Nationality.

(26) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(27) Ibid.

(28) In this context the notion of particularism is in direct contrast to Nagel's (1986) "view from nowhere;" therefore it holds that people are always products of particular societies and groups and therefore are inculcated with particular views, practices and values--this is a fact of life that we cannot escape.

(29) William J. Morgan, "Why The 'View from Nowhere' Gets Us Nowhere in Our Moral Considerations of Sports," Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 30 (2003): 51-67.

(30) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism," 86.

(31) Ibid.

(32) It is important to note that the use of the term "realist" by Orwell, and its adoption by ourselves, is intended in its non-philosophical understanding, that is, one who accepts the facts of life, rather than someone who believes that universals and truth are real and exist independently of anyone thinking of them. See Orwell, "The Sporting Spirit," in In Front of Your Nose 1945-1950. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, vol. 4, ed. S. Orwell (London: Secher and Warburg, 1968).

(33) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(34) Ibid.

(35) Jim Parry, "Sport and Olympism: Universals and Multiculturalism," Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33 (2006): 188-204.

(36) Richard Holt, Sport and the British. A Modern History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989).

(37) Parry, "Sport and Olympism," 191.

(38) An interesting and important question that arises is whether Olympism should truly accommodate all conceptions of the good, even ones which most of the world view as totally repugnant? We adamantly believe that some practices (such as democracy) are far better and morally salient than others (such as totalitarianism). In this sense we do not wish to de-politicise the Olympics as there are important differences between the practices of various cultures that cannot be ignored, and Olympism does have a role to play here. However, it is not the role of Olympism, or more accurately the IOC, to regulate such conceptions. We have argued that particular insights can move beyond vulgar relativism if humans strive to acknowledge and reflect, with adequate knowledge, on the particular cultures and contexts of "others." Olympism's role is to act as an arena where this can happen. Its virtuous potential lies within its ability to act as an arena whereby different conceptions of the good can be manifested. We therefore believe that changes in (moral) practices are mostly to do with exposure to difference rather than on an attempt to dictate what is right. However, we hope that repugnant conceptions such as racism and sexism will always be challenged during international sporting competition, but the challenging must be done by the various cultures that constitute various conceptions, not by the concept which allow such a debate to ensue in the first place. In a nutshell, Olympism should not accommodate all conceptions of the good, but its role in doing so is democratic and not dictatorial.

(39) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism," 88.

(40) See Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism: A Critical Interpretation of Coubertin's Ideal of International Sporting Life." Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies IV (1995): 19-92 ; Morgan, "Sports and the Making of National Identities: A Moral View." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 24 (1997): 1-20; William Morgan, "Multinational Sport and Literary Practices and Their Communities: The Moral Salience of Cultural Narrative,." In Ethics and Sport eds. Mike. McNamee, and Jim Parry, (London: FN spon, 1998); Morgan, "Sport as the Moral Discourse of Nations," In Values in Sport. Elitism, Nationalism, Gender Equality and the Scientific Manufacture of Winners, eds. Torbjorn Tannsjo, & Claudio Tamburrini (New York: Spon Press, 2000), 59-73.

(41) Morgan, "Sport as Moral Discourse."

(42) Morgan, "Moral Salience of Cultural Narratives."

(43) Ibid, 188. We would like to be mindful of the fact that Morgan, as well as ourselves, might be guilty of ethnocentrism here. It could be argued that our Western values significantly impact our reading of Boulmerka's tale. Firstly, in defence of Morgan we would like to point out that he explicitly states that Boulmerka's tale is insightful for both Westerners and Muslims. It is not just a matter of exposing Muslims to Western values, but also of re-educating the West about Muslim values. It is a two-way process. Further to this, we would argue that, being the particularistic creatures that we are, that we cannot, and should not avoid this ethnocentrism. As argued in endnote 39, we believe that the virtues of such international competition lie in its potential as an arena where we can consider alternative ways of living and of morally scrutinising of our beliefs. Were we not to believe anything, not to have any ethnocentric values, not have the ability to bring anything into discourse, then such competition would not have any potential at all. The fact that we are aware of our ethnocentrism is all that is needed.

(44) Ibid, 190.

(45) Ibid, 190.

(46) Ibid, 191. In regard to Morgan's use of the word "cosmopolitanism" it is important to note that the term can mean different things to different authors and audiences. Morgan's use of "cosmopolitanism" in this instance is tantamount to what we, and Morgan elsewhere, refer to as "sincere" or "reflective" nationalism, whilst the use of the word "universalists" by Morgan is tantamount to our use of "cosmopolitanism." The meaning attached to individual words such as "patriotism," "cosmopolitanism," "ethnocentrism," and "nationalism" varies to such an extent that the positions they represent become extremely confused.

(47) Robert Rinehart, ""Fists Flew and Blood Flowed: Symbolic Resistance and International Response in Hungarian Water Polo at the Melbourne Olympics, 1956," Journal of Sport History 23, no. 2 (1996), 120-37.

(48) Allen Guttmann, Games and Empires: Modern Sport and Cultural Imperialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

(49) Joseph Maguire, and John Bale, "Sports Labour Migration in the Global Arena," in The Global Sports Arena: Athletic Talent Migration in an Interdependent World, eds Bale and Maguire (London: Frank Cass, 1994), 1-21.

(50) See n. Chiba, O. Ebihara, and S. Morino, "Globalization, Naturalization and Identity: The Case of Borderless Elite Athletes in Japan," International Review for the Sociology of Sport 36 (2001), 203-21.

(51) See Joseph Maguire, "Blade Runners: Canadian Migrants, Ice Hockey, and the Global Sports Process," Journal of Sport and Social Issues 20, no. 3 (1996), 335-60.

(52) See Andrew Grainger, "From Immigrant to Overstayer. Samoan Identity, Rugby, and Cultural Politics of Race and Nation in Aotearoa/New Zealand," Journal of Sport and Social Issues 30, no. 1 (2006), 45-61.

(53) Martin Polley, "Sport and National Identity in Contemporary England," in Sport and National Identity in the Post-War World, eds. Adrian Smith and Dilwyn Porter (London: Routledge, 2004),10-31.

(54) See Joseph Maguire, Global Sport: Identities, Societies, Civilizations (Cambridge: Polity, 1999); and Maguire, "Sport Labour Migration Research Revisited," Journal of Sport and Social Issues 28 (2004), 477-82.

(55) D. Mulhauser, "On Your Marks, Set, Go Home! Why Can't Kenyan Stephen Cherono Race for Qatar in the Olympics?"

(56) IOC, Olympic Charter.

(57) See Robert Simon, "Internalism and Internal Values in Sport," Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 27 (2000), 1-16.

(58) MacIntyre, After Virtue.

(59) Simon, "Internal Values in Sport."

(60) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(61) Maguire, "Blade Runners."

(62) Ibid, 351.

(63) David Stead, and Joseph Maguire, "Cricket's Global 'Finishing School': The Migration of Overseas Cricketers into English County Cricket," European Physical Education Review 4, no. 1 (1998), 54-69.

(64) Michael Holmes, and David Storey, "Who Are the Boys in Green? Irish Identity and Soccer in the Republic of Ireland," in Sport and National Identity in the Post-War World, eds Adrian Smith, and Dilwyn Porter, (London: Routledge, 2004), 88-104.

(65) Ibid, 99.

(66) MacIntrye, After Virtue.

(67) See Morgan, "Why the View From Nohwere Gets Us Nowhere".

(68) See Raffaele Poli, "The Denationalization of Sport: De-Ethnicization of the Nation and Identity Deteritorialization," Sport in Society 10, no. 4 (2007), 646-61.

(69) Ibid.

(70) The term "naturalization" refers to the process of acquiring citizenship, where the individual possessed a previous citizenship with another country.

(71) Poli, "Denationalization of Sport."

(72) Grainger, "From Immigrant to Overstayer."

(73) Ibid.

(74) Parry, "Sport and Olympism," 196.

(75) Morgan, "Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and Nationalism."

(76) Parry, "Sport and Olympism."

(77) Ibid, 197, 200.

Hywel Iowerth, Carwyn Jones and Alun Hardman *

* Hywel Iowerth is a PhD candidate in Sport Ethics at the University of Wales-Cardiff, U.K. Carwyn Jones and Alun Hardman are Senior Reader and Senior Lecturer, respectively, at the University of Wales-Cardiff, U.K
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Author:Iowerth, Hywel; Jones, Carwyn; Hardman, Alun
Publication:Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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