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Peter Hess, Chair 2505 University Avenue, Burdine Hall 336, Mailcode C3300, Austin TX 78712-1802 • 512-471-4123

Spring 2010

GRC 360E • Sports and Globalization: From the Olympic Games to the Soccer World Cup-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38310 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
BUR 337

Course Description

After the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China, the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa will once again attract the attention of billions of people all over the world. Like the Olympic Games, the Soccer World Cup is a ritualised performance with far-reaching economic and political consequences. Commentators, spectators, players and referees combine to stage a spectacle on a global scale that is years in the making. A spectacular event of this kind offers a special opportunity to examine the phenomenon known as globalization in a number of important ways. First, we observe how some of the world's many international organizations formulate and carry out policies on a global scale. Second, we can see how national identities are shaped and performed in front of the global news media and how athletic performances can serve as evidence of national strength and viability. We watch nations’ goals and self-confidence change in response to the pressures of globalization. These competitions serve, in effect, as a stage for the economic and political ambitions of both nations and powerful individuals who want to convert favorable publicity to their own advantage. Third, we can look at the world’s elite-athlete population as a racially integrated global labor market that reflects some of the power imbalances already evident in global politics. Fourth, the course examines the global doping epidemic that has affected human athletic performance in profound ways. Athletes’ bodies have been transformed to the point where they now challenge our understanding of what a "normal" human being can do. This global demand for athletic doping drugs is, however, only one branch of a global pharmaceutical underworld that continues to thrive on the Internet. Thus sport is much more than “only a game.” While the whole world is watching, this class will use the global culture of sport to “read” and analyze the global sports industry in new and unexpected ways. This course is an introduction to the social history of sport. With the help of cultural anthropology, cultural studies, media and discourse theory, we will create a toolbox to analyze global sports organizations and their spectacles. We will use literature, movies, documentations, and news reports to show how to develop cultural and critical perspectives on various sports cultures in an age of globalization.

Grading Policy

Participation 10% Minutes / 1p paper 10% Oral presentation / 4p paper 30% 4 1p papers 20% Final 10 p essay 30%


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