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

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

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

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


Professional sports today have truly become a global force, a common language that anyone, regardless of their nationality, can understand. Yet sports also remain distinctly local, with regional teams and the fiercely loyal local fans that follow them. This book examines the twenty-first-century phenomenon of global sports, in which professional teams and their players have become agents of globalization while at the same time fostering deep-seated and antagonistic local allegiances and spawning new forms of cultural conflict and prejudice.

Andrei Markovits and Lars Rensmann take readers into the exciting global sports scene, showing how soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and hockey have given rise to a collective identity among millions of predominantly male fans in the United States, Europe, and around the rest of the world. They trace how these global--and globalizing--sports emerged from local pastimes in America, Britain, and Canada over the course of the twentieth century, and how regionalism continues to exert its divisive influence in new and potentially explosive ways. Markovits and Rensmann explore the complex interplay between the global and the local in sports today, demonstrating how sports have opened new avenues for dialogue and shared interest internationally even as they reinforce old antagonisms and create new ones.

Gaming the World reveals the pervasive influence of sports on our daily lives, making all of us citizens of an increasingly cosmopolitan world while affirming our local, regional, and national identities.


Sports matter. They hold a singular position among leisure time activities and have an unparalleled impact on the everyday lives of billions of people. We show how, why, and for whom this has been the case for well over a century on both sides of the Atlantic. Analyzing the continuities and changes that have characterized sports cultures in the United States and Europe, we find complex processes involving global transformations alongside persistent local and national factors.

This book poses the following questions: How has a continuing process that we call “postindustrialization” and “second globalization” transformed sports? More specifically, How have developments since roughly the 1970s—in the advanced industrial capitalist economies of the liberal democracies of the United States and Europe—altered key aspects of contemporary sports cultures? And, to what degree have globalized sports and their participating athletes in turn influenced postindustrial societies and identities? Which role do sports play in globalization, and to what extent are they an engine of cosmopolitan political and cultural change? At the same time, how have sports successfully maintained traditions in the continuing battles for their very identities? And how have sports reconciled

A humoristic and exaggerated example of a sports fan's dedicated life can be found in Joe
Queenan, True Believers: The Tragic Inner Life of Sports Fans (New York: Henry Holt, 2003). Of
course, in Queenan's ironic book the problem of political fanaticism among mass movements
resonates, which is the subject of Eric Hoffer's 1951 social science classic; see Eric Hoffer, The
True Believers: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
(New York: HarperCollins, 2002

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