Making it ordinary : an unexceptional history of the early olympic movement in New Zealand
Kohe, Geoffery Z.
Making it ordinary presents an alternative history of the olympic movement in New Zealand. The crux of my argument is that the history of the local olympic movement is unexceptional given the contexts of international sport in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My approach is also alternative with respect to different aspects of the narrative. In the case of content, I employ a systematic model of historical context which, by complying with the conventions of the discipline, is unusual among historians of the olympic movement in New Zealand who have tended to write decontextualised, celebratory, hagiographies. My contextual model frames the content of the history that consists of two parts. In Part I (circa 1892-1911), I examine the conception of the olympic movement and its institutions; in Part 11 (circa 1911-1936), I investigate the consolidation of the movement. Both parts excavate the major forces, agents, ideology, and events I believe were significant to the early development of New Zealand's Olympic movement. With respect to the form of my narrative, my contextualisation is methodologically orthodox (i.e. I adhere to the analytical empiricism of mainstream history and employ a standard set of conceptual tools). However, I also adopt a deconstructionist sensibility throughout the thesis by foregrounding my narrative decisions and explicating my role as an author-historian. In Making it ordinary I propose that the development of the early Olympic movement was neither linear nor predetermined. Rather, it involved a complex interplay of forces, agents, ideologies, and events. While my thesis is essentially a contextual analysis, it is also involves remaking and playing with olympic memories. Lastly, in Part Ill, remembering olympic history, I draw on the politics of memory to argue that history is not necessarily about the end product but about the process by which it created (written/performed/presented). In my case, I set out to show the choices I made to create a particular narrative of New Zealand olympic history. There are multiple ways historians can remember and recraft New Zealand olympic history: Making it ordinary is one way of remembering anew.
Advisor: Hughson, John
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Physical Education
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis