Football has always played a pivotal role in sociology and politics. Whether as a barometer of the public mood or as a populist tool for politicians to exploit, football is a fascinating field of study, and a new book sheds light on the sport’s cultural impact.
Football provides a powerful platform for politicians and pressure groups alike, arguably more than any sport. This is something I covered as a student in the 1990s, writing a thesis on the political relevance of Real Madrid versus FC Barcelona.
That’s why Studying Football, edited by Ellis Cashmore and Kevin Dixon, is such an important read. The book is a collection of expert essays covering subjects as varied as soccer violence, race and gender, fandom and identity, globalisation and corruption.
Studying Football is a wonderful dip-in/dip-out reference book, and certainly puts in perspective the global influence of the game and the characteristics it can take in different countries.
The role of the media is covered extensively as a means for delivering the sport to the masses. The status of players as role models and their evolving status as celebrities is also a major focus point in the book.
For those interested in the deeper machinations of sport, its wider reach and influence off the pitch, Studying Football is a really interesting read. At £26.99, it’s quite pricey but the calibre of the writers and their insights more than validates the cost.