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.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Financial Times (FT.com)'s Books of the Year in Nonfiction Round-Up in the Sports list for 2010
Andrei S. Markovits is the Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies at the University of Michigan. His books include Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America and Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism (both Princeton). Lars Rensmann is DAAD Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan
"I am thrilled to have read this book because it discusses what I am most passionate about: sports and how their very existence, with soccer as a major contributor, have helped shape history on a global scale. As a player, fan, and ambassador of soccer, I am beyond pleased that the authors give my sport its due. Every soccer person, sports fan, and scholar of sports must read this book."—Brandi Chastain, Olympic gold and silver medalist, Women's World Cup champion
"For those of us turning to the sports page of our daily paper first, here is the book we have been waiting for. Gaming the World offers an up-to-date analysis of the capitalist dreamscape of an important leisure industry. Transformed by globalization, exposed to local and national backlash, marked by American and European exceptionalisms, and rife with symbolic politics, Andrei Markovits and Lars Rensmann argue, we are what we play—contaminated cosmopolitans in a global civilization still tethered to our local and national roots. What fun!"—Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University
"This is an exciting book full of stimulating observation and wondrous detail. It illustrates convincingly the central role of sports in our contemporary cultural complex, highlighting their globalizing and cosmopolitan potential but also their national and local reference. The authors bring home their many powerful arguments through a stunning range of evidence."—Modris Eksteins, University of Toronto
"This is a valuable, stimulating, and illuminating book that offers an ambitious, intellectually substantial, analytically sophisticated, and constantly thought-provoking consideration of an important subject. The authors convincingly link their analysis of sports to big questions about the contours, dynamics, and continuing inner tensions of modernity. They also make their subject come alive for the reader. You don't need to be a sports fan to find this book engrossing and enlightening."—Jeff Weintraub, University of Pennsylvania