Football and Society

Module code: SY3057
Module co-ordinator: John Williams

Football is a cultural universal; pretty much every country plays it and the sport offers a common language and a set of familiar reference points that enables easy communication across national boundaries. When the football World Cup is on the whole world watches and listens. Today, many women are as entranced by football as men – and the women’s game is the fastest growing of all forms of the game. Exploring football means examining who we are.

This module examines the sociological impact of the sport both in the UK and abroad. Together we will:

  • Explore the social and cultural meaning of football to those who organise, play, and watch it
  • Investigate the origins and  history of the game and its dissemination around the globe
  • Analyse football’s twenty-first century social, economic, and cultural transformation into a media-dominated, late-modern sporting product
  • Examine manifestations of fandom and of deviance in and around the game

There are a number of key questions to address here. For example:

Topics covered

  • Is football still important today for local and national identity construction? Or is the sport just another globalised cultural form, one shaped and consumed via television and through various forms of 'celebrity' culture?
  • To what extent have connections between football and specifically local traditions been ruptured by recent changes?
  • How does football in the UK and elsewhere reflect constructions of race, gender, and social class?
  • What makes a football fan -- and who are the football consumers?


  • 18 one-hour lectures
  • 8 one-hour seminars
  • 174 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay (60%)
  • Portfolio (40%)