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Soccer Diplomacy

International Relations and Football since 1914

Although the game of soccer is known by many names around the world—football, fútbol, Fußball, voetbal—the sport is a universal language. Throughout the past century, governments have used soccer to further their diplomatic aims through a range of actions including boycotts, carefully orchestrated displays at matches, and more. In turn, soccer organizations have leveraged their power over membership and tournament decisions to play a role in international relations.

In Soccer Diplomacy, an international group of experts analyzes the relationship between soccer and diplomacy. Together, they investigate topics such as the use of soccer as a tool of nation-state–based diplomacy, soccer as a non-state actor, and the relationship between soccer and diplomatic actors in subnational, national, and transnational contexts. They also examine the sport as a conduit for representation, communication, and negotiation.

Drawing on a wealth of historical examples, the contributors demonstrate that governments must frequently address soccer as part of their diplomatic affairs. They argue that this single sport—more than the Olympics, other regional multisport competitions, or even any other sport—reveals much about international relations, how states attempt to influence foreign views, and regional power dynamics.

About the Authors

Heather L. Dichter is associate professor of sport management and sport history at De Montfort University and a member of DMU's International Centre for Sports History and Culture. She is the coeditor of Olympic Reform Ten Years Later.

Reviews

"Soccer is about much more than athleticism and entertainment; it is a powerful part of modern world politics. Soccer Diplomacy connects the most popular global sport with the main vectors of global diplomacy, including cultural promotion, economic development, strategic alliances, and military rivalries. The authors show the variation of uses for the sport by leaders, activists, and promoters. Readers will understand the links between sports and diplomacy in exciting new ways."—Jeremi Suri, author of The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office

"Soccer Diplomacy provides instructive historical and contemporary case studies on soccer's use by both state and non-state actors to achieve diplomatic ends. It challenges the popular axiom that 'sport and politics don't mix,' and asks readers to consider the place of seemingly innocuous sporting and cultural activities within a broader strategic framework."—Matthew McDowell, author of A Cultural History of Association Football in Scotland, 1865-1902

"This interdisciplinary collection sheds new light on the role of elite men's soccer in international relations. Covering thirteen countries in six continents over more than a century, Soccer Diplomacy deepens our understanding of the sport's soft power and its capacity to shape important regional power dynamics."—Peter Alegi, professor of history at Michigan State University and author of Laduma!: Soccer, Politics and Society in South Africa, from its Origins to 2010

9780813179513 : soccer-diplomacy-dichter-beck-bolsmann
Hardback
286 Pages
$60.00 USD
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Electronic book text
286 Pages
$60.00 USD
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Electronic book text
286 Pages
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