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Solimine, "If you build it...: A "different story" of the re-emergence of baseball in China, the people who play it, and why," 2006

USC thesis in Cultural Anthropology.
August 21, 2009

Kaitlin Solimine, M.A

Abstract (Summary)

In 2004 an estimated 156,000 people played baseball in China (Washburn, "In Search of Baseball's Yao Ming")---up from 10,000 in 2001 (Coffey, "Fine China: Nation of a Billion Takes Best Swing at Baseball"). This paper addresses this growing popularity, as framed by globalization. Using historical sources and modern-day ethnographic research, the work examines why baseball is experiencing a revival in China and whether or not baseball's rise is the result of a more homogenized world or if baseball in China speaks to a unique set of social, political and economic mores---a "different story" than that in other nations. The narrative reinforces the hypothesis that globalization does not imply homogenization; in fact, there are significant local redefinitions that occur when an otherwise foreign sport is imported abroad.

Advisor: Cooper, Eugene