Sport and social relationships in the Falkland Islands up to 1982

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This article uses sport as a means of examining aspects of social relationships amongst Falkland Islanders up to 1982’s Falklands War. This examination – researched primarily via archival, newspaper, and interview evidence – is accomplished via four routes. Firstly, rifle shooting, including the territorial Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF)’s annual participation in the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s imperial tournaments, is used examine the application of popular imperialism and gubernatorial power within Falklands society. Horse racing and other agricultural-based sports are used to display how sport was used a means of displaying occupation prowess, in the context of a paternalistic farming (mono)culture created and managed by the absentee landlords of the Falkland Islands Company (FIC). Third: badminton’s popularity, primarily in the capital, Stanley, is applied towards examining the social lives of women, including amongst its British-born community. Finally, football – whose English clubs were well-followed by Falklands men over the BBC Empire/World Service – is used to elucidate aspects of Islanders’ relationships with their South American neighbours, including Argentina, which continually claimed sovereignty over the Falklands. This article makes the case that sports culture in the Falklands was both reflective of greater trends in British imperial culture, whilst also containing peculiarities relating to its location, demographics, and unusual political status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1108
Number of pages31
JournalThe Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020


  • Falkland Islands
  • football
  • British Empire
  • badminton
  • horse racing
  • rifle shooting
  • National identity


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