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Soccer and Nationalism. The Social Function of Sports. Many sociologist have attempted to explain the appeal and popularity of sports in modern societies. Here are some of their thoughts:

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Soccer and nationalism

Soccer and Nationalism

The social function of sports
The Social Function of Sports

  • Many sociologist have attempted to explain the appeal and popularity of sports in modern societies.

  • Here are some of their thoughts:

  • According to SutJhally "sports have taken over the function in advanced capitalist societies that Marx believed religion fulfilled in the nineteenth century - 'an opiate of the masses''‘

  • According to Norbert Elias the reasons for increasing enjoyment in excitements and tensions engendered by physical contests lie in the fact that people in contemporary, "advanced" societies have to be able to maintain a fairly even and stable control over their more spontaneous and emotional impulses

The social function of sports1
The Social Function of Sports

  • For the ancient Greeks, the significance of sports was a result of their beliefs on the value and the beauty of the human body.

  • adoration of trained body and physical strength

  • conviction that physical health and skill prove man's capacity for responsible positions in society.

Sports and nationalism
Sports and Nationalism

  • In the context of sports and in particular of a soccer game, nationalism and chauvinism often become “acceptable” forms of expression.

  • But sports do not always divide people, they often unite both citizens of the same country and citizens of a continent.

  • According to a statement by Charles Grant, director of the London-based Center for European Reform: "The European elections didn't bring people together but football did."

Soccer and globalization
Soccer and Globalization

  • Author Franklin Foer in his book "How Soccer Explains the World."

  • "During the nineties, Basque teams, under the stewardship of Welsh coaches, stocked up on Dutch and Turkish players. . . . Everywhere you looked, it suddenly seemed, national borders and national identities had been swept into the dustbin of soccer history."

  • Still he also admitted that this"failed to diminish the game's local cultures, local blood feuds and even local corruption."

When soccer unites
When Soccer Unites

  • In 2004 Greece won the European championship in Lesbon defeating Portugal with 0-1

  • Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis of Greece watched the gamein the Estádio de Luz. "These boys," he said, "taught us a lesson as to what Greeks can do when we are united and have self-confidence, dynamism and method.“

  • Rehhagel, the German coach of the Greek team, also noted that it was amazing that soccer had managed to unite Greeks around the world, something that politics had failed to achieve.

When soccer unites1
When Soccer Unites

  • In Leiria the night before the game, João Silva, a 22-year-old shop assistant, said: "These people in our town squares are not soccer fans. Most of them have never been to the stadium. They are celebrating nationalism, which is something new for Portugal. Up to now, we didn't feel it, I suppose we are a fatalistic nation, accepting that Spain is bigger and that we accept what is given to us."

When soccer unites2
When Soccer Unites

  • "The greatest day in Greek history," Paul Raissis a Greek-Australian stockbroker said "Better than Troy, better than Alexander conquering the world. We've conquered it again.“

  • A slogan on the side of the bus that carried the triumphant Greek soccer team declared: "Ancient Greece had 12 gods, modern Greece has 11."

Greek sexuality
Greek Sexuality

  • In her book, The Empty Cradle of Democracy: Sex, Abortion and Nationalism in Greece, sociologist Alexandra Halkia argues that Greeks consider their sexuality as a Zorba-like idiosyncrasy, and an expression of their “freedom” from social constraints.

Hooligans and soccer
Hooligans and Soccer

  • In Greek major league games, it is not uncommon for gangs of fans, often organized and patronized by football club presidents to get involved in riots and fights in and out of stadiums and in city centers.

  • The chants of the Greek hooligans are a full of sexual references with which fans celebrate their own and their team’s masculinity, while at the same time asserting the femininity or homosexuality of their opponents.

  • “E-tsiga-maei o Pi-re-as!” (That’s how Pi-rae-us [email protected]!).

When soccer divides
When Soccer Divides

  • In September 2004 the Greek national team lost to Albania.

  • Hundreds of Albanian immigrants came out the streets of Greece to celebrate their team’s victory.

  • Greek soccer hooligans, however, abetted by ultra-rightists, attacked Albanians in several cities, injuring many people and killing one person.

When soccer divides1
When Soccer Divides

  • Before the soccer match between Greece and Albania in Tirana, mass media in Greece made an effort to provoke racism.

  • Images of crazy Albanians ready to kill all Greeks appeared in the TV news.

  • Before and during the game there were also several acts of provocation from Albanian nationalists in Tirana.