Sport and Politics: A study of the relationship between International Politics

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Ekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to understand and demonstrate the narrow ties between sport and International Relations. My purpose is to examine how Football especially is mixed with International Relations in many levels. The theoretical framework deals with the nationalism theories. Nationalism theories have been relevant only for the last two decades. Nationalism has been developed in the two last centuries with the industrialisation. It can be considered as a political doctrine or ideology. The definition of Nationalism is not obvious because there are no founding theorist or text on it. This process of nationalism induced nations to existence or self-determination. But extreme nationalism can be a danger. Nationals symbols have been created like language, food and drink, clothing, commemorative holidays, military heroes, flags, colours, and anthems. Sport should not be forgotten in this Nationalism ideology. A qualitative study of all the books have been studied carefully. The thesis is based on a long historical approach that permitted to demonstrate the links between sport and International Relations. Pierre de Coubertin wanted Olympics to bring peace and without political means, but the situation changed rapidly everything and government policies were really influenced by sports. Not only totalitarian states but also democratic ones have been using sport for their propaganda to promote national strength. It has been like a trigger mechanism, everyone has understood how to use sport for diplomatic relations and it is a safer and harmless way than a war. Then a study of national identity construction will be the second goal. Governments are now involved in sport to promote the prestige of a group. The other reason is to encourage a sense of identity, belonging and unity. Sport as a diplomatic tool can be considered like a public diplomacy to influence opinion. Football passion is shared by every citizen and helps us to understand the complexity of the world with its conflicting nations. In all this complicated situation, the Nordic nationalism is a fascinating new direction of peace and tolerance. For example, the Danes showed a festive way to support national teams that we can call a ‘sporting nationalism’.

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