Glimpsing the alternative: An anthropological exploration of the GAA as an alternative organisation

Noel Connors

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


    We are told ‘There Is No Alternative’. Yet in my life I cannot see the object of my business school education, the black hole from which we cannot seem to escape - the hard-nosed, ruthlessly commercial, amoral joint stock company. Perhaps that is because I am a GAA person, surrounded by an institution since birth that has inhabited my way of thinking about organised life. My thesis sets out to explore the organisation that I am a part of, tethered too, fêted in; and to reconcile this with what I have learned in the business school. As a process I undertook storytelling interviews with club leaders, hired-hand professional experts and the organisations Presidents and leaders to enrich, denaturalise, substantiate my own deeply held convictions about the organisation. This process of journeying into my own organisation was inspired by a phenomenological ontology and an epistemology of social constructionism, which aspires to give an uninterrupted voice to the participants understanding of their time and experiences. It is from this lived experience of organisation life that I build out an understanding of the unique crags of being in the GAA. This sets the scene for a discussion, a show down of sorts, between those from within the business school calling and scouring the earth for alternative ways of organising. This work aspires to contribute to that discourse with a report from strangers in a strange country of another way of doing things, one with a unique approach to kith, kin, blood, care, harmony, leadership and conflict. In this way, I build up a vision of another way of doing things, one that is hopefully of normative and inspiration use to those seeking alternatives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Griffin, Ray, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


    • GAA, Gaelic Games, Gaelic Athletic Association


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