Lars Rensmann is a scholar, a professor and a researcher of political science. Rensmann has specialized in research that involves the interaction between society, culture, and politics. Markovits Andrei, on the other hand, is a professor of soccer and a scholar in matters of politics and sports culture. The two authors lived in the 20th century and wrote the book about the influence of sports on politics and human culture in the 21st century. The educational backgrounds and academic credentials of Markovits and Rensmann qualify them to write the book on the subject. The reason is that the two authors have experience in researching issues of politics and comparative sports culture. They lived in an era of globalization, where people interact and exchange their culture as the world of sports get smaller with advanced technologies.
The authors profile the fan base in the football world as a strategy to support the themes and book. While this approach is essential in achieving the goals, it is no doubt that it is a form of bias that may shape the reader's attitudes towards the authors. The authors' view on the subject is that soccer has a significant impact on culture and politics. The statement that highlights the hypothesis is, "Sports shape and stabilize social and even political identities around the globe; and, we are certain, that they do so today to an unprecedented extent" (Markovits & Rensmann 3).
Ideas and Evidence that Develop a Hypothesis of the Book
The authors take the readers to an exciting scene of global football and how it has become a universal language. It is also becoming a global force that many people regardless of their cultures and nationality, can understand. While globalization has opened the modern sports industry, it is no doubt that they remain distinctly local with several regional teams and their broad fan base. Markovits and Rensmann used multiple techniques to bring their themes and hypothesis to focus. These aspects are critical since it enhances the authors to achieve their intended goals besides shaping the understanding among the readers. The authors used for pieces of evidence to support the themes in the source. The four ideas, among others, that Markovits and Rensmann focused on highlighting the significant aspects of the book are nationalities, personalities, national and ethnic traditions, and contested politics. The other essential topics are the clubs and their competitions, team personalities, and dates of sports to mention a few.
The first idea is about national and ethnic traditions, which determines how worldwide governments and the fan base approach matters of sports. This concept brings to light the relationship between politics and football in the modern world. The authors argued that the more the present-day soccer go global, the more it gets embodies on politics. It is no doubt in this perspective that this idea supports the primary subject of the book besides the authors' intentions. Sports have figures political matters and authorities from the manner worldwide governments handle their national teams and soccer clubs. The authorities use soccer as "cultural capital" that support their political campaigns, symbolic politics and governance (Markovits & Rensmann 10). This situation had prevailed since the twentieth century when dictators such as Adolf Hitler harnessed the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Hitler, in this case, used the charismatic powers of sporting events to advance spread propaganda besides other personal interests. The political class in the liberal democracies, in contrast, have genuine interests in sports. The authors, for instance, cites a situation in Britain where the Prime Minister stopped cabinet meetings after receiving news one of the national team players had got a leg injury and could not play.
The use of evidence supports the authors' assertions and the view that sports culture affect the country's politics. For instance, the culture of sports in the European countries such as Britain has established a norm that the heads of states have to attend all the country's matches that take the country to eth World cup. The situation is similar in Germany since the leadership of Angela Markel and Schroder. Markel's has maintained this culture in the country's politics by attending the European matches whenever the national soccer teams are playing at a European Championship. The authors' further cites the situation in Spain, another European Country that has well-established soccer leagues. The King of Spain together with the previous Italian prime minister has maintained this behavior of associating politics with soccer.
The Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi who is also the founder of AC Millan once used the team to enhance his presidency. Berlusconi, in this case, used the success of AC Milan to convincing the nation that he had the potential to transform the country the same way. Hence, it is apparent that the book has adequate evidence to support the authors' assertions on how politics and the sports culture intersect. However, the authors' arguments also have weaknesses that negatively impact on the underlying evidence. Markovits and Rensmann, in this regard, does not provide substantial evidence to show whether the sports culture had a positive outcome on political affairs.
The second idea is the focus on countries such as the United States, Chile, and England. The authors provide evidence on the performance of national teams in international tournaments and Olympics to show how sports shapes social profiles. When Americans played against England in 1950, they had a culture where its citizens did not care about sports. The country's newspapers according to the authors, reported Americans as people with a culture that did not care about the national team. The country's national players at that time participated and viewed soccer events as a source of income but not a hobby. However, there is a remarkable change in the culture of America and Europe as the sports industry grow. The primary factors that have shaped cultural transformations are globalization and cosmopolitanism. The previous cultural profile of the American teams in the 1950s consists of the people with the same heritage, citizenship, and racial backgrounds. With the emergence of globalization, the world's best clubs have hegemonic players with popular cultures across the globe. This aspect has shaped collective, inclusive identities as the fan base admire the cultures of the best players.
Nonetheless, the authors' approach to studying sports as forms of languages is a weakness that limits the objectivity of the themes. The fans have shown hostility because of sports globalization and threats of other cultures controlling their regional teams. While this scenario may exist at a regional level, the authors do not acknowledge that it is the case for international clubs and teams. It is sound reasoning that international clubs strive to expand their fan base without considering regional, racial and ethnic boundaries. Since Markovits is a speaker of multiple sports languages, the authors' evidence is biased in relating cultures and sports. The reality is that it is challenging for the fans to learn other people's languages or native tongues. Hence, the authors' view that sports are platforms for language exchange lacks evidence to support the underlying claims.
The third approach is extensive use of personalities, especially the stars in various sports clubs of the world. The authors argued that many people admire the culture of the best soccer stars in the world. The examples of soccer protagonists that have influenced the culture of their fans according to the authors are Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and Ronaldinho, to mention a few (Markovits & Rensmann 3). The basketball equivalents, on the other hand, are Yao Ming, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan. These personalities have attracted the attention of the world beyond the actual purview and the immediate confines. The team owners, perceive their clubs as cultural capital. Such figures also saw sports as a symbolic tool that shape the social aspects of the fan base and the society at large. While sports serves as a source of social status and pride for the orders, the authors' evidence does not show a link between sports influential personalities and impacts on other peoples' culture. Precisely, individuals emulate sports stars, but there is no evidence to support a hypothesis that their behaviors have a critical role in other cultures of the world.
The fourth idea is the use of clubs and competition in their respective leagues. In the modern world, only a few soccer and baseball clubs can sustain a typical popular culture in their niche. The authors cite clubs such as Barcelona, Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, and Arsenal FC as famous clubs that have attained a popular sports culture that impacts on the consumers and the immediate producers. This aspect is what the authors term it as "hegemonic sports culture" (Markovits & Rensmann 13). The critical features that define the culture of the fan base and the followers of such clubs are the living, watching, worrying and debating culture. The fan base has developed a culture where talk about their teams right from the media to centers where people talk passionately before the match. Hence, it is evident that the authors explore popular sports culture from the perspective of collective identity. Markovits and Rensmann have evidence that the affection for clubs, teams, and sports mark social differences. Such people establish shared languages across the borders and hence evident that soccer creates a culture of collective identity.
Authors' Principal Claims
Foer's book How Soccer Explains the World highlights the developments in football in the wake of globalization. The author used Red Star Belgrade to illustrate how the fans are getting obsessed with sports in American countries. Soccer is the most popular sport in the US which according to the author, has attracted the attention of the wealthy and the economically disadvantaged members of the present-day societies. The arguments in Foer's book and that of Markovits and Rensmann have similarities and differences in the study of sports and the world. Foer refutes the idea of Markovits and Rensmann that it is possible to study how soccer affects politics. It is no doubt that Markovits and Rensmann argued that sports shape political affairs in any country. Foer, on the other hand, agrees with a perspective that "It's horrible to make connections between politics and sports" (31). The authors are on the opposing end and their ideas about politics and soccer conflicts. Foer's view is that any attempt to politicize games is a form of business.
Markovits and Rensmann agree with Foer that the political class attempt to link the success of sports clubs in their country with the quality and success of their leadership. Foer for instance, says that Zoran Djindjic, Serbia's Prime Minister was a genuine enthusiasm of sports who used soccer as a campaign tool during elections. Since Djindjic once played football, he could shape the public opinion that he was a reformer who would reverse the damages of the former regimes on the country's sports (Foer 32). Markovits and Rensmann, on the other hand, have a similar perspective on how Silvio Berlusconi of Italy used the success of AC Milan to create an impression that she would also be successful as a Prime Minister. Hence, the two sources have similar ideas on how politicians use sports to support their ideologies.
Both sources have a similarity on the idea of fans' hostility in the wake of globalization. Hence, the authors of the two books have the same view that globalization is c...
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