Nationalism and sport
As Benedict Anderson noted, national communities have to be actively created through the imagination. The members of a national community need to recognise their special and exclusive bond to each other. Anderson cited the importance of print capitalism to the emergence of national communities in the nineteenth century. His argument is compelling but there are other important rituals which are critical to the creation of national solidarities. Sport is one of these. Through the sporting spectacle, not only can national communities be recognised but the transformation of these solidarities can also be traced. In the current era, under the pressure of globalisation, the nation is undergoing profound change. Through the analysis of football – and particularly the recent European Championships in Portugal – this chapter examines the gradual emergence of a re-negotiated national identity in England. Although focussing on a specific empirical example, this chapter is intended to illuminate processes which are occurring more widely.
© SAGE Publications 2006.
In: Delanty, G. and Kumar, K. (eds.) 'The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism', Sage, 2006