Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reflection (Week #1)

Last Thursday's discussion of Foer's How Soccer Explains the World definitely incited many profound questions. Is the United States an example of a fully globalized state? Is Foer's work an analysis of nationalism vs. globalization, or is it simply about football. How does Foer's love for football affect his arguments about how football successfully shows how globalization has spread throughout the world?

I believe many of Foer's arguments center around the benefits of globalization. In most of his case studies he argues that globalization in fact strengthens nationalism and positively influences the world's citizens to rise up against corruption. For example, Foer compares Iran's “football revolution” to the United States' war for independence. Not only does he reference the Tea Party, but he also forecasts an Iranian revolution with stark similarities to that of the United States'. Foer states that “when they revolt, they might fleetingly plead for American help” but mostly they will “rise up in the name of their nation”, a relationship similar to the US-French alliance during the American Revolution (223). These parallels between the social and political change Foer claims football insights and the history of the United States proves Foer's positive view of nationalism and globalization stimulated by football.

In the final chapter, Foer suggests that the United States has a relative lack of nationalism. He cites an international football game in Washington, DC, where Nationals fans showed significantly less national pride comparatively. Although I agree that we show very little nationalism at our international sporting events, I do not believe it is a result of a chronically apathetic population. I believe that our relative indifference at international sporting events stems from our separation into individual states. I think that as a society we put our energy into national level sporting events at which we can support our state, which is why we have numerous popular sports that are played almost entirely within the United States (American football, baseball, etc.). For this reason, our population pays very little attention to national teams at international competitions, such as the Fifa World Cup and the Americas Cup.

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