By Carol A. Breckenridge
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Extra info for Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World
The fact that many of these books and pamphlets are either ghostwritten or written in association with professional writers does not detract from their force as tools for understanding cricket for many readers outside the Anglophone world. Tying the life of a star to known places, events, schools, teachers, coaches, and fellow players creates a narrative structure in which cricket becomes enlivened just as its "stars" are made graspable (for an excellent example, see Shastri and Patil 1982). 38 ARJUN APPADURAI The general force of the media experience is thus powerfully synesthetic.
Why is it not just indigenized but the very symbol of a sporting practice that seems to embody India? Why is it watched with rapt attention in stadia from Sharjah to Madras and in every media context as well? Why are the stars of cricket worshipped perhaps even more than their counterparts in the cinema? Part of the answer to these questions doubtless lies in the profound links between the idea of "play" in human life (Huizinga 1950), of organized sport in mobilizing simultaneously powerful sentiments both of nation and of humanity (MacAloon 1984,1990), and of agonistic sport in recalibrating the relationship between leisure and pleasure in modern industrial societies (Elias and Dunning 1986; Hargreaves 1982).
This communal principle was bound to become otiose as the seriousness and quality of cricket in India increased. Unlike cricket in India, English cricket was organized around a system in which the nation was the exemplary unit, and "counties," not communities, were its lower-level constituencies. In other words, territory and nationhood for England, community and cultural distinctiveness for "India" (Appadurai 1993). Thus when English teams began to tour India, the question was how to construct an "Indian" team that was a fitting opponent.
Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World by Carol A. Breckenridge