As the 1994 World Cup Finals in the United States clearly demonstrated, football is the quintessential global game. One of the world's most popular arenas for the expression of conflict and emotion, it is virtually unparalleled as a site for cultural analysis. Players, officials, supporters and commentators all have key roles in a social drama incorporating the deeply symbolic and ritualistic. A powerful vehicle for ideals of masculinity, football also offers penetrating insights into the iconography of the body; manifestations of rivalry and conflict; discourses of knowledge; expressions of communitas and geo-social belonging; the celebration and denigration of the Other; and the inversion of power hierarchies through carnival.In bringing these themes together, this accessible and absorbing book by leading scholars of sport and leisure reveals football's differing meanings across cultures. It will be of interest to students and scholars in cultural studies, anthropology, sports sciences and, more simply, to anyone with a passion for this global game.
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