Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture

By Andrei S. Markovits; Lars Rensmann | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
A COUNTER-COSMOPOLITAN BACKLASH?

THE POLITICS DF EXCLUSION, RACISM,
AND VIOLENCE IN EURDPEAN AND AMERICAN
SPORTS CULTURES

Alas, just like in most realms of human activity, so too in sports does tolerance of diversity and inclusiveness meet with resistance by forces that could best be characterized by what Kwame Anthony Appiah has so aptly termed, “counter-cosmopolitanism.”1 Newcomers, challengers, immigrants, and “alien” languages are often met with ridicule, as well as harsh, hostile, even violent reactions by the natives. Since cultural changes always imply some threat to existing identities, they are inevitably fraught with tensions and defensive responses. Nowhere is this clearer than in the world of sports, since adversity, opposition, competition, contest and thus conflict are the most essential markers of all sport identities. Without them, sport does not exist.


Cultural Resilience: Hostility against Newcomers
and Global Players

One of the characteristics of any entrenched sports culture consists in its initial suspicion of and hostility toward any newcomers from within the sport itself, as well as by a rival sport. In both cases, the established sport perceives the intra- or inter-sport challenger as inferior in any number of

1 Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007), pp. 137–53.

-207-

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