Monday, May 20, 2013

Goldblatt on the FIFA World Cup in Global History and Culture

David Goldblatt, the author of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer, recently gave a keynote address at the FIFA World Cup Conference in Zurich. He talk was titled, "The FIFA World Cup and its Impact on Global History and Culture” (here in PDF, courtesy Peter Alegi's course, History of Soccer).

Here is how Goldblatt describes his focus:
Such is the global reach and cultural significance of football that the history of the World Cup provides an increasingly powerful lens for examining the course of globalization and global history over the last one hundred and twenty years. At the same time the history of the tournament allows us to see the dynamic of politics in individual nations and the construction of their national identities – all have been encoded in the ways in which the tournament has been staged, played, reported, celebrated and cursed.

To see the relationship between the World Cup and globalization more clearly, we need to divide our narrative into four eras: first, the prehistory of the tournament particularly football’s relationship with the Olympic movement and the Olympic games; second, the short inter war era of the World Cup between 1930 and 1938 played alongside a fragmenting global order; third, the World Cups of the long post war boom and the slow regulated globalisation that accompanied the Cold War; and finally, since 1982, the World Cups of the most recent era of globalization characterised by new geographies of global power and the unprecedented scale, size and significance of global financial and media networks.
Read the full lecture here in PDF.


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