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Seoul Gaels: The Culture of Irish Expatriates in South Korea and Cross-cultural Communication through Gaelic Sports

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019
EventEuropean Association for Sociology of Sport (EASS) annual conference - University of South-Eastern Norway, Bø, Norway
Duration: 3 Jun 20196 Jun 2019


ConferenceEuropean Association for Sociology of Sport (EASS) annual conference
Abbreviated titleEASS 2019


This study investigates the social and cultural dimensions of a Gaelic football club in South Korea, namely Seoul Gaels. The migration of Irish people to this East Asian country is a relatively recent phenomenon, and playing Gaelic sports in this foreign land is closely connected to the cultural identity of the overseas Irish group. With the Gaelic Athlete Association’s (GAA) current initiative to develop Gaelic games into global sports, many Irish expats in South Korea also engage in the promotion of this Gaelic sporting practice in their new settlement. In this respect, the notions of globalisation, immigration, and cross-cultural communication offer useful conceptual tools for understanding the modest but not insignificant development of Gaelic sport in the Far East nation. Not surprisingly, Seoul Gaels functions as a hub of the Irish community in the South Korean capital. Not only do Irish expatriates reaffirm their national identity by participating in the sporting occasions, but they also build a supportive social network centred around the football club. The membership of Seoul Gaels shows a multinational character, the composition of which includes American, Australian, Canadian and Korean players. The club also runs Seoul Gaels Kids where native Korean children are invited to learn and play a range of different Gaelic sports. The diversity of the nationalities between the adult members and the running of youth programme for the local children and their parents imply the possibility of this grassroots Gaelic sports movement to be used as a means of cross-cultural communication.


European Association for Sociology of Sport (EASS) annual conference


Bø, Norway

Event: Conference

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ID: 96287093