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Inside the Polynesian Pipeline: A Migratory Analysis of Professional Samoan Football Players.

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Item Summary Saluga, Salvatore J., Jr 2019-05-28T20:03:04Z 2019-05-28T20:03:04Z 2018-05
dc.title Inside the Polynesian Pipeline: A Migratory Analysis of Professional Samoan Football Players.
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Geography
dcterms.abstract While Polynesian players have been a part of the National Football League (NFL) since its early days in the mid-20th century, only recently has widespread media and collegiate (recruiting) attention been allotted to it. CBS’ Sixty Minutes did a special on the topic in 2010, stating that men of Samoan descent are estimated to be 56 times more likely than any other ethnic or racial group to make it to the National Football League (Pelley 2010). The growing presence of Polynesian players in both NCAA and NFL football in the United States has led the journey from Polynesian communities to the NFL to be labeled the ‘Polynesian Pipeline’ by mainstream media. As more individual players are navigating the Polynesian Pipeline through the modern global sports system, there are an increasing number of stories, publications, and media sensations surrounding the lives and backgrounds of these athletes (Bale and Maguire 2014). The backgrounds of these athletes is one of great interest to the sports and sports media worlds, but in the twenty-first century academia has begun to take an interest in the topic, as well. The creation of a perceived ‘sports region’ around American Samoa - and the Samoan culture itself - has led to the significant increase in attention to the topic. Sports regions, according to John Bale, are geographical locations that are heavily associated with a particular sport, and often produces a disproportionate number of athletes in that spot. This interest has continued to be reflected on the field, as the number of Samoan players in the NFL has continued to rise. This study explores the migratory patterns undertaken by these players, including both players from American Samoa itself as well as the Samoan diaspora. This study finds that American Samoa, as well as the Samoan culture itself, emerged as a football ‘sports region’ in the twenty-first century, and that media output and mainstream culture attention to the phenomena had an effect on the recruitment, drafting, and migratory patterns of Samoan players. This thesis focused on the manner in which the Samoan athletes are portrayed in the media and in the world of sports. Often times, it was the ‘Polynesian Warrior’ image that permeated representations of Polynesian players. This study found that the identification of origins of successful football players ignited media-generated stereotypes, and thus promoted the Samoan people as fulfilling the stereotype of the ‘Polynesian Warrior’ for college coaches and scouts. This was another factor in the perceived creation of a sports region around the Samoan football community. These concepts were analyzed within the framework of political economy and using hermeneutics. Analyzing the capitalist systems of commodification of labor and people and its relation to producing and influencing migration flows will be translated to the academic sports arena. This theoretical framework is important in order to recognize the direct correlation between the political, economic, and social situations in American Samoa (and among Samoan diaspora), and the football mania of the society that ignites and enables the migratory football patterns taken by Samoan men. This framework was used to analyze the ‘sports region’ concept itself and how its production in the mainstream media affects the commodification and migratory patterns of athletes in the modern day global sports system through the example of American football players of Samoan descent. This analysis could provide a window into the formation of the sports region, and how the sports region and media output of such have affected the recruitment, drafting, and migratory patterns of Samoan football players.
dcterms.description M.A. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
dcterms.language eng
dcterms.publisher University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
dcterms.rights All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
dcterms.type Text
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Geography

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