A Field of Autocratic Temptation: European Soccer and its Actors

Lecture | March 13 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Timm Beichelt, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)

 Institute of European Studies

While soccer officials often insist that sports and politics belong to different spheres, the opposite seems to be true. With frames like “success”, “unlimited competition”, and “team loyalty”, soccer heavily influences the pre-political sphere in European states. In the field of soccer, basic dispositions with regard to the legitimacy of an economized life and the definition of local or national communities are formed. The lecture will focus on examples mainly from Germany to identify the political meaning of soccer. The main argument is that political practices within the field of soccer serve as a breeding ground not for full-fledged authoritarianism, but for an understanding of politics in which ruthlessness has become a standard and where democratic norms like transparency and control of public organizations are put aside.