PR 1450Introduction to Globalization Lecture 11 Globalization and Sport Chris Rumford
Winning a world cup competition or an Olympic gold medal are amongst the highest sporting achievements Such triumphs help make sportsmen and women famous all over the world But what are the global dimensions of sport, and what is the relationship between world cups and the Olympic games and globalization?
Some sports have strong claims to be global e.g. football But what about less high-profile sports, or sports which are played only in certain parts of the world?
On 28 October 2007 the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants played at Wembley. This was the first competitive, regular-season NFL game to be played outside the US.
Cricket may be included in the 2020 Olympic Games. In December 2007 the International Olympic Committee provisionally recognized the sport. Cricket last appeared in Olympics in the Paris Games of 1900.
Read the article ‘New world order’ by Brian Oliver which deals with the global dimension of many sports http://observer.guardian.co.uk/sport/story/0,,2212905,00.html
We have already encountered some key features of the globalization of sport; • local or national sports can reach an international or global audience • most sports have a world governing body which standardizes rules and allows teams from different parts of the world to play each other • sport exists in a globally competitive environment: financial security requires globalization • sporting finances may be driven by audiences on the other side of the world But this is only part of the story … there are also other important dimensions to the globalization of sport
Sport is a central element of global popular culture and as Andrews and Grainger (2007: 478) point out, the Olympic Movement (202) and FIFA (204) have more members than the UN (191)
Cricket and the Taliban Cricket is popular in Afghanistan, and has the backing of the Taliban. Read the article ‘Afghans unite in passion for cricket’ by Tom Coghlan www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/23/wafghan123.xml
In 2001 the Taliban sought ICC (International Cricket Council) recognition for cricket in Afghanistan Afghanistan is now an affiliate member of the ICC In 2006 its national team completed a first tour of England
For the Taliban, cricket is seen as a sport that is compatible with both its interpretation of Islam and its aspirations for international diplomatic recognition Cricket was a port of entry into the wider world of international relations (Rumford, 2007)
Cricket satisfied the Taliban’s strict interpretation of the Islamic dress code Mullah Omar decreed that, unlike athletics, football or swimming, playing cricket did not require any part of the body to be revealed to the public
Sport and global consciousness World Cups promote the ‘compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole’ (Robertson 2002: 8) During a World Cup the world becomes a single space of competition within which competitors aim for their team to be the world’s best
But, sport is often seen as a vehicle for nationalism (reinforcing national identification) The biggest championships are competed for by national teams, or are organized in such a way that individuals represent their nation-states ‘global spectacles like the Olympic Games and various World Cups have also thrived on nationalist sentiment’ (Scholte 2000: 163).
But does this not mean that globalization promotes nationalism rather than a global identity? The two are in fact closely related For sport to become a global phenomenon it has to also become embedded in national contexts
As we saw last term sport is in any case developing in a ‘post-national’ direction; • Premiership clubs have fielded teams containing 11 ‘foreign’ players • the European Super League provides non-national focus • foreign ownership of leading clubs is increasing • teams like Chelsea and Manchester United have become global brands
‘Idealistic internationalism’ The modern Olympics were envisioned as international events • staged in a different country every four years • bringing together athletes from many countries • celebrating cultural differences • asserting the formal equality of nations Thereby proving a context for ‘ideological contest and national self-elevation’ (Lechner and Boli, 2005, p.5)
In the view of its founder Baron de Coubertin, the Olympic movement would act as a ‘secular religion capable of binding humanity as a whole’ A balance was struck between national sentiment and ‘pan-human unity’ (Lechner and Boli, 2005, p.3)
Concluding points • Sport is a core component of global popular culture – and as such has the ability to connect people in new ways • The institutionalization of sport is an important element of global governance • Sport is an important vehicle for the global development of national identity • Sport of a major vehicle for capitalist accumulation and comodification • Through sport we conceive the world as a single place
References • Andrews, D. and Grainger, A. 2007: ‘Sport and globalization’ in G. Ritzer (ed) The Blackwell Companion to Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell • Lechner, F. and Boli, J. 2005: World Culture: Origins and Consequences Oxford: Blackwell • Robertson, R 1992: Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture London: Sage • Rumford, C. 2007: ‘More than a game: globalization and the postwesternization of world cricket’ in R. Giulianotti and R. Robertson (ed) Globalization and Sport. Oxford: Blackwell. • Scholte, J. A. 2000: Globalization: a Critical Introduction Houndmills: Palgrave (esp. Chapter 5)