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Core Course 1: Prof. Dr. Michael Minkenberg

Football and the Politics of Identity


Course description:

The course introduces students to the relationship between football and various dimensions in the construction of identities with a particular emphasis on the political quality of this relationship. Based on concepts of collective identity formation from the local to the national level and beyond, the course proceeds by asking how and to what extent football contributes to the formation of such identities and how and to what extent it merely reflects these identities. Among constitutive dimensions of collective identities, the following are of particular relevance: territorial (local and regional) identities, ethnic and racial identities, religious-cultural identities, national and post-national identities. Football takes a unique position in different settings of identity formation: Loyalties to national football teams are situated between, but not necessarily competing with, local and transnational identities; football can be at the same time inclusive (including “others” regardless of class, creed, or color) and exclusive (“othering” those who do not belong to the same football culture, yet share similar attributes of class, creed, or color); football functions as “cultural capital” (Putnam) in both its versions of “bonding” (which includes the drawing of boundaries) and “bridging” (which overcomes boundaries).These issues will be tackled in light of the Euro 2012. Hence, the interrelationship between national identity, nationalism/racism, and football takes center stage in the seminar.


Recommended reading:


  • A. King, The European Ritual. Football in the New Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003)


For participants only:

Complete Seminar Plan, Important Information, Literature, Requirements...