Whitening Italian sport: The construction of ‘Italianness’ in national sporting fields, in “International Review for the Sociology of Sport”, pp. 1–16


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This article examines the ways in which narrow understandings of race and Italianness are reproduced by those who govern and administer sport at elite levels of competition.

By shedding light on how citizenship discourses establish who can and cannot represent the nation, I specifically focus upon the belongings and identities of Black, foreign-origin and mixed-heritage Italian women athletes.

By doing so, this article elucidates the complex ways in which racially minoritized sportswomen fight for recognition within the Italian ‘imagined community’. This article suggests that despite their commitment to, and pride in, representing the nation, their struggles have not proved sufficient to re-define Italianness: that is, to make it more open and inclusive of non-white citizens.



citizenship, Italy, nation, race, the politics of belonging, whiteness