Whose game is this? An overview at the role of football in the construction of national identity


  • Ivan Đorđević The Institute of Ethnography SASA, Belgrade, Serbia




football, national identity, media discourse, Western Europe


In this paper I will consider the ways in which national identity is constructed through football, by analyzing different case studies foremost in the countries of Western Europe which are, in public narratives, signified as “developed”. I will attempt to point out the fact that, despite the weakening of the prerogative of the nation-state, the identity which refers to such a state is still strong, and that football is one of those cultural elements though which such identification is encouraged and supported. On the other hand, through analyzing the “nation building” through football project in countries which, supposedly represent the ideal for a transitional country like Serbia, in both the economic and political sense, it is my intent to point out that the ideology of nationalism and its instrumentalization in the media, such as that given in the examples, is by no means locally specific nor connected to so-called “insufficiently modernized societies”, where this term, in itself has the ideological weight in context – that we could thus refer to certain societies as “enough” or “completely” modernized. On the contrary, these models, more or less, function the same way everywhere, only they are historically determined, and greatly dependent on momentary power relations, or that which the dominant discourse in continual hegemonic struggles defines as the desirable image of “nation”, “economy” or anything else.


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How to Cite

Đorđević, Ivan. 2014. “Whose Game Is This? An Overview at the Role of Football in the Construction of National Identity”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 9 (1):83-103. https://doi.org/10.21301/EAP.v9i1.5.