Sports and Place Identity Real Madrid and Barca both represent political

Sports and place identity real madrid and barca both

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Sports and Place Identity Real Madrid and Barca both represent political ideologies of both regions Madrid and Catalonia due to their profound connections to place identity. Pi and Pujol (1996) claims, “Barca is one of those institutions that the country has created a natural fashion for” (as cited in Fernando, 2003). He goes on to say that some Catalans may favor the Spanish team in terms of style of playing and tactics than Barca. However when it comes to Barca vs. Madrid, the game transforms to a purely political debate between pro-Madrid vs. anti-Madrid. Shobe (2008) states that this political polarization shown through “sports makes amorphous notions of community or nation seem more tangible” (Shobe, 2008, p. 330). Although Catalonia is not a country, the polarization between Spain and Catalonia is more visible through the Barca vs. Real Madrid game (“El Classico”). Farred (as cited in Dubois) claims that sports have the power to channel feelings of national belongingness and in that process sports stir up feelings of loyalty and commitment in spectators. Solis (2003) goes further to say that when it comes to el classico, the style and tactics of each team is irrelevant. The rivalry becomes something completely political. Even if a Barca fan prefers the stylistic play of Real Madrid, that is irrelevant because the game is a rivalry surrounding Catalonia’s succession from Spain. Those who believe that Catalonia deserves autonomy favor Barca in every way. This highly politicized game reflects the long historical background between the capital of Spain and Catalonia. It reflects the Catalan memories of suppression during the Franco era. Barca’s strong 10
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11 attachment to place identity is being known to the rest of the world through international tournaments and global spectatorship. With such a great focus on Catalonia, Barca is also a means to explain globalization, specifically the flow of capital and players across one football club to the other. Sports and Globalization In addition to issues relating race, politics and place identity, sports reflect the discourse of globalization. Today with the help of the Internet and media, Barca has the most supporters of any club in Europe with 57.8 million fans, which is almost double that of Real Madrid (). Milanovic (2005) claims that sport has affected globalization in a way that the rich European clubs exploit the players from the poorer countries. “Europe’s leading clubs conduct themselves increasingly as neocolonialists who do not give a damn about heritage and culture but engage in social and economic rape by robbing the developing world of its best players (Milanovic, 2005, p. 845).” He goes on to say that if greater circulation of labor is allowed, there may be an even more elite group, a world level of output, but “this might come to a cost of increased inequality, further exclusion of poor countries, and some loss of welfare due to the loss of local flavor” (Milanovic, 2005, p. 846). However, Dubois claims that soccer can have opposite effects. In the 1924 Olympics, a team from Uruguay won a gold medal defeating teams
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