Soccer as a Political Stage

Hundreds of millions of people watch World Cup soccer around the world, making it not just a game, but an international arena. “Every soccer game is an amazing story….It’s of such importance in the world today, and it tells us so much about different societies and about the larger society in which we live”, says Laurent Dubois, author of Soccer Empire, in this Duke University Office Hours interview. The soccer field can be a place to express opinions and identity, inspire national support, and make a statement–and depending on which teams are playing, political tensions can unfold dramatically. The sport is so important to fans in Argentina that the government now ensures its citizens the “right to football”, broadcasting games free on television.

Dubois shows how each World Cup soccer game is linked to larger political and economic systems, focusing in particular on the sport’s deep connections with the French empire in North Africa and the Caribbean. In this video from Duke University, he explains how in Algeria, soccer became a way to make a statement against French colonialism. More about the history and politics of soccer on Dubois’s blog, Soccer Politics.

6 thoughts on “Soccer as a Political Stage

  1. Soccer is not only political game, I personally find it as the most interesting game. Americans don’t like soccer since as I said it’s political, and there is a lot of media company involvement. Since soccer is 90 minutes and has only one 10 minute break, TV stations hate this game. There is no big chance of making Advertising dollars!

  2. Soccer is a political game, and soccer is more than just that. To many people including me, soccer is our life. And that is the main reason, why soccer has a deep influence in almost every country.

  3. Soccer is unquestionably a political game, and not just on the national level. Just look at Barcelona v. Real Madrid as a sectional conflict and Rangers v. Celtic as a religious conflict.

  4. Very interesting video. It is a shame soccer is not as popular in the United States as it in Europe and other nations around the world. While Algeria used soccer as a way to cement their country’s independence, The FIFA World Cup, like the Olympic Games, is a great way for the world to come together and celebrate sport.

  5. Great video by Duke University.

    Soccer was and always be a political game, because it is so popular and attracts a huge amount of people.

    There is a brilliant article titled “Was Obama Really at a Soccer Game?”. And it’s a great example how politics can manipulate voters through sport.

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