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Gaming the World:
How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture
Andrei S. Markovits & Lars Rensmann

One of Financial Times ('s Books of the Year in Nonfiction Round-Up in the Sports list for 2010

Paperback | 2013 | $26.95 | £21.95 | ISBN: 9780691162034
360 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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Andrei S. Markovits
Interview with

(U. of Michigan)

Lars Rensmann
Interview with

(NH Public Radio)

Professional sports today have truly become a global force, a common language that anyone, regardless of their nationality, can understand. Yet sports also remain distinctly local, with regional teams and the fiercely loyal local fans that follow them. This book examines the twenty-first-century phenomenon of global sports, in which professional teams and their players have become agents of globalization while at the same time fostering deep-seated and antagonistic local allegiances and spawning new forms of cultural conflict and prejudice.

Andrei Markovits and Lars Rensmann take readers into the exciting global sports scene, showing how soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and hockey have given rise to a collective identity among millions of predominantly male fans in the United States, Europe, and around the rest of the world. They trace how these global--and globalizing--sports emerged from local pastimes in America, Britain, and Canada over the course of the twentieth century, and how regionalism continues to exert its divisive influence in new and potentially explosive ways. Markovits and Rensmann explore the complex interplay between the global and the local in sports today, demonstrating how sports have opened new avenues for dialogue and shared interest internationally even as they reinforce old antagonisms and create new ones.

Gaming the World reveals the pervasive influence of sports on our daily lives, making all of us citizens of an increasingly cosmopolitan world while affirming our local, regional, and national identities.


"This book is a valuable contribution to the burgeoning study of sport in a global perspective. . . . Markovits and Rensmann's erudite analysis presents many of the key issues and offers interesting points to consider as the sports world continues to change at a remarkable pace."--John Harris, Times Higher Education

"[Gaming the World is a] very readable guide to the recent globalisation of sport by academics who understand both US and European sports. Packed with examples, from David Beckham to Kobe Bryant, the book explores the tension between sport's globalisation and the fact that most teams still arouse the greatest emotions in their local areas."--Financial Times (FT Critics Pick 2010)

"[Markovits and Rensmann] set forth a number of provocative notions growing out of the internationalization of sports stars and the globalization of soccer (the result, they smartly argue, of Britain's reach in the 19th century)."--David M. Shribman, Bloomberg

"Fascinating on matters both large--the late 19th--century dissemination of newly codified sports from two competing economic and cultural 'cores' (Britain/Europe and North America) to countries around the world--and small: the spread in recent years, from North America to Europe, of the wave, high fives and player tattoos. Best of all is their discussion of how high-end sports have managed to go global, so that Manchester United boasts fans from Beijing to Lima, while maintaining the local identities that give teams their emotional power."--Brian Bethune, Macleans

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Table of Contents:

Preface and Acknowledgments ix
Chapter 1: Introduction: Going Global--Sports, Politics, and Identities 1
Chapter 2: The Emergence of Global Arenas: Mapping the Globalization of Sports Cultures between Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Localism 43
Chapter 3: The Transatlantic Transfer of Sports and their Cultures: Institutionalization and Diffusion 107
Chapter 4: A Silent "Feminization" of Global Sports Cultures? Women as Soccer Players in Europe and America 157
Chapter 5: A Counter-Cosmopolitan Backlash? The Politics of Exclusion, Racism, and Violence in European and American Sports Cultures 207
Chapter 6: The Limits of Globalization: Local Identity and College Sports' Uniquely American Symbiosis of Academics and Athletics 271
Conclusion 316
List of Acronyms 327
Index 331

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