The Rules of the Game—Nationalism, Globalisation and Football in Spain: Barça and Bilbao in a Comparative Perspective

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Abstract

This paper discusses the triangular relation between nationalism, globalisation and football in Spain. The aim of the work is to compare the way two Spanish football clubs—the Catalan FC Barcelona (known as “Barça”) and the Basque Athletic Bilbao—respond to the challenges posed by the game's globalisation, and through this comparison learn about the nexus between nationalism and globalisation. The main claim is that the differences between the two clubs’ behaviour can be attributed to varying characteristics of Basque and Catalan nationalism. Focusing on different path dependency, the development of a civic Catalan nationalism is contrasted with the growth of Basque nationalism as essentially ethnic. These characteristics emerged and crystallised primarily during the regions’ industrialisation, and the nationalist response to this advent of modernism would later shape the response to post-modern globalisation. The diametrically opposed ways in which the two football clubs react to the game's globalisation reflect the significant differences between the two national movements’ core values. This illustrates the importance of path dependency as a factor that produces diverse responses to globalisation—the results of which are not predetermined.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-268
Number of pages24
JournalGlobal Society
Volume23
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

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