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Praying and Playing: Football, Religion and Social Identities

10 hour course by Leif Stenberg (AKU - ISMC)

  • Schedule: 4-8 July (14:00-16:00). Venue: Blanquerna
  • Format: Hybrid

Recent years have witnessed the increased presence of religious football leagues, football in cities/countries with more than one religion or ethnicity, and the increased presence of Christianity and Islam in international football culture. Academic treatments of football tend to focus on the political and the social, largely bypassing religion. If and when religion and football are discussed, the tendency is to regard football simply as a religion. While many acknowledge that football is like a religion, the latter term—and its relation to the former—is rarely unpacked. This course examines how football, like religion, represents the intersection of political, ideological, and social factors. An academic interest in football—from a global perspective—reveals some of the tensions and ambiguities of the modern nation-state. Issues that will be examined during the course include how football clubs and fans navigate xenophobic, nationalist, and racist attitudes, as modern players increasingly make their religious identifications clear, both on the pitch and off it;how footballers and football authorities manage expressions of religiosity and religious affiliation; and how does religion and football inform modern debates about identity, pluralism, and religious and ethnic integration in the modern world.

⬇️  Reading List (PDF available soon)