Football and Society

Module code: SY3057

As the world's most popular sport, football plays a significant role in global society. Its stars are global celebrities who earn millions from their clubs and endorsements. The major clubs are global brands worth billions and can afford to spend more and more every transfer window, and the money made from merchandising, sponsorship, video games and media rights is enormous. It transcends borders, race and religion to unite us all, particularly during major international events like the World Cup.

Yet, at the same time, it divides us. Clubs and national teams represent so much more than the name on the shirt. They represent cultural, political and even racial identities. Its fiercest rivalries stem from seismic issues as varied as social class (such as Boca-River); regional pride and nationalism (like Real Madrid-Barcelona); cross-town division (such as the Derby della Capitale in Rome); religion, culture and national identity (like the Old Firm in Scotland) or power struggles between different arms of the state (such as Serbia's Eternal derby).

Football plays a complex role in today's society, and you'll explore this in-depth during this module. You'll look at the key debates about the social and cultural origins of sport and its ‘meaning’ in late-modern life. You'll examine the ever-growing role of the media, especially television, in the production, mediation and consumption of football and other sports in late-modernity. You'll explore the role of football in relation to the expression of national, racialised and gendered forms of identity and identification, the importance of fandom and a sense of ‘place’ in modern life. You'll also develop your research skills when collecting data and analysing sport and its issues.

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