Rugby, Race and the Republic : the sporting stardom of Abdelatif Benazzi


  • Philip Dine



This article explores the conjunction of institutional, representational and societal factors mobilized in the media construction as a sports star of Moroccan-born French rugby player Abdelatif Benazzi. Benazzi's international playing career (1988-2003) mirrors rugby's broader evolution in a globalized sporting landscape either side of the game's official professionalization in 1995. His itinerary provided a template for the French game's developing openness both to imported talent and to more socially inclusive structures of player recruitment. Benazzi's extraordinary visibility, in this most traditional of team games, as a North African and a Muslim, notably as captain of the French XV, was central to the player's portrayal both on and off the pitch. This discursive process is observed through close reading of the three biographies / autobiographies highlighted here, which together draw attention to Benazzi's embodiment of transnational hybridity, as the principal legacy of his multiply narrated sporting life.






Dossier thématique