Nationalism and Soccer
This is a 20 page paper discussing soccer as a national identity as portrayed by soccer fans in different countries in addition to national pride and political perspectives. Soccer, referred to as football on an international basis, has become one of the most prominent symbols of nationalism within recent years. Whether soccer teams are representing local clubs, national clubs or are competing on an international stage, fans of the clubs are strictly devoted to their teams and identify with them on a national level. Sack and Seljan (2000) write that “a sport such as soccer provides opportunities for thousands of spectators to collectively affirm their commitments to beliefs, values, and myths than underlie their cultural identity”. In addition to the collective of fans at a soccer match, the presence of national flags, symbols, clothing and colors further unite (or divide in some cases) people who previously were strangers in a common bond of fraternity and national identity. Because of this powerful collective feel, it is not surprising then that often soccer matches and tournaments are used as political forums as well. Politically, soccer matches can be used to unite populations under a single cause or divide nations which may have historical differences. Nevertheless, soccer is overall a positive uniting force in a world in which people may often become isolated in their work or home environments. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and countries all over the world have used soccer as a way to unite, promote, and celebrate their nationalism.
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