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Soccer, the most popular mass spectator sport in the world, has always remained a marker of identities of various sorts. Behind the façade of its obvious entertainment aspect, it has proved to be a perpetuating reflector of nationalism, ethnicity, community or communal identity, and cultural specificity. Naturally therefore, the game is a complex representative of minorities’ status especially in countries where minorities play a crucial role in political, social, cultural or economic life. The question is also important since in many nations success in sports like soccer has been used as an instrument for assimilation or to promote an alternative brand of nationalism. Thus, Jewish teams in pre-Second World War Europe were set up to promote the idea of a muscular Jewish identity. Similarly, in apartheid South Africa, soccer became the game of the black majority since it was excluded from the two principal games of the country – rugby and cricket. In India, on the other hand, the Muslim minorities under colonial rule appropriated soccer to assert their community-identity. The book examines why in certain countries, minorities chose to take up the sport while in others they backed away from participating in the game or, alternatively, set up their own leagues and practised self-exclusion. The book examines European countries like the Netherlands, England and France, the USA, Africa, Australia and the larger countries of Asia – particularly India. This book was previously published as a special issue of Soccer and Society.
Football, in many ways, is a visual endeavour. From the visual experience within the stadium itself to worldwide media representations, from advertisements to football art and artefacts: football is much about seeing and being seen, about watching, making visual and being visualised. The FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa has turned into a perfect example of the visual dimensions of football. Stadiums have been built and marketed as tourist attractions, mass media and internet platforms are advertising South African cities and venues, logos and emblems are displayed and celebrated, exhibitions are organised in museums world-wide. This book explores the social, cultural and political role of football in Africa by focusing on the issue of its visibility and invisibility. The contributions consider the history and present of football in different parts of Africa. They examine historical and recent pictures and images of football and football players, as well as places and spaces of their production and perception. They analyse the visual dimensions expressed in sports infrastructure, football media-scapes, and in expressive and material arts. This book thus contributes to the growing interest in football in Africa by exploring a new field of research into sports. This book was previously published as a special issue of Soccer and Society.
The mention of sport mega-events conjures up images and memories of London 2012 or anticipation of FIFA 2014, the 2016 Rio Olympics and beyond. Indeed, the expanding annual calendar of sport mega-events, both in terms of the bidding process and the actual hosting of the event means that there is rarely time for considered reflection. This is particularly true within the context of neo-liberalism and an obsession with creating world class sporting cities that are propelled by state-private promotional discourses that often silence oppositional voices.This edited collection focuses on Rugby World Cup 2011 in order to examine the contested terrain of one particular sport mega-event with respect to its economic, political and cultural impact both locally and globally. As an event, the 2011 Rugby World Cup was unique in many ways but perhaps the most notable are the nations remote geographic location and at just over four million people its small population. This anthology addresses how the Rugby World Cup has changed since its inception in 1987 including a major shift in the globalisation of the game, professionalization, player migration and television and sponsorship rights. The core of the anthology explores how the event impacted on various segments of New Zealand society: from the state to regions and individual citizens. Collectively the implications are relevant for all who are interested in sport mega-events whether it is from a political, economic, scholarly or policy perspective.This book was published a sa special issue of Sport and Society.
This book focuses on the processes of documenting the Beijing Olympics – ranging from the visual (television and film) to radio and the written word – and the meanings generated by such representations. What were the ‘key’ stories and how were they chosen? What was dramatised? Who were the heroes? Which ‘clashes’ were highlighted and how? What sorts of stories did the notion of ‘human interest’ generate? Did politics take a backseat or was the topic highlighted repeatedly? Thus, the focus was not on the success or failure of this event, but on the ways in which the Olympics Games, as international and historic events, are memorialised by observers. The key question that this book addresses is: How far would the Olympic coverage fall into the patterns of representation that have come to dominate Olympic reporting and what would China, as a discursive subject, bring to these patterns? This book was previously published as a special issue of Sport in Society.
An in-depth analysis of the intricate relationships among sport, culture, politics, identity and regional cooperation in South Asia In South Asia, sport has long been a site—albeit ignored by social scientists—which articulates the complexities and diversities of the everyday life of the nations. This book highlights the importance of sport in colonial and postcolonial times in India and South Asia as an essential cultural experience, a political tool, a social instrument and a commercial force. It reveals how sport has become politically, socially, culturally and emotionally significant, particularly, football in India and cricket in South Asia. Sport, Culture and Nation would be useful to historians, political scientists, sociologists and to scholars of South Asian studies as well as culture and leisure studies.

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