Soccer has long been known as 'the beautiful game'. This multi-disciplinary volume explores soccer, soccer culture, and the representation of soccer in art, film, and literature, using the critical tools of aesthetics, poetics, and rhetoric.
Including international contributions from scholars of philosophy, literary and cultural studies, linguistics, art history, and the creative arts, this book begins by investigating the relationship between beauty and soccer and asks what criteria should be used to judge the sport’s aesthetic value. Covering topics as diverse as humor, national identity, style, celebrity, and social media, its chapters examine the nature of fandom, the role of language, and the significance of soccer in contemporary popular culture. It also discusses what one might call the ‘stylistics’ of soccer, analyzing how players, fans, and commentators communicate on and off the pitch, in the press, on social media, and in wider public discourse.
The Aesthetics, Poetics, and Rhetoric of Soccer makes for fascinating reading for anybody with an interest in sport, culture, literature, philosophy, linguistics, and society.
Table of Contents
Taking the Field
Introduction: Aesthetics, Poetics, Rhetoric, Soccer
[Ridvan Askin, Catherine Diederich, and Aline Bieri]
First Half: Aesthetics
1. Good Games as Athletic Beauty: Why Association Football is Rightly Called the Beautiful Game
2. Appreciating the Not-Obviously-Beautiful Game
3. "England ‘Till I Die": Soccer, National Identity, and Contemporary Art
4. The Messianic Manager in Novels by David Peace
Half Time: Poetics
5. The Man in the Dugout: Fictional Football Managers and the Politics of Resistance
6. The Importance of Trivial Oppositions in Football Fandom: The Narcissism of Minor Differences in Derby Games
[Kristof K.P. Vanhoutte]
7. Stupidity in Football
Second Half: Rhetoric
8. "Caveman stuff": Ireland’s Soccer Struggle with Identity, Style, and Success
[Michael O’Hara and Connell Vaughan]
9. The Beautiful and the Grim: British Cultural Discourses of the Eastern European Game
10. "Text Sex with Becks": Football Celebrities, Popular Press, and the Spectacle of Language
11. Multimodal Construction of Soccer-related Humor on Twitter and Instagram
[Thomas Messerli and Di Yu]
12. Multilingualism in Football Teams
[Eva Lavric and Jasmin Steiner]
Ridvan Askin is a Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Fellow in American and General Literatures at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He is the author of Narrative and Becoming (2016) and the co-editor of Literature, Ethics, Morality: American Studies Perspectives (2015) and a special issue of the journal Speculations on Aesthetics in the 21st Century (2014). His publications include essays on aesthetics, contemporary North American fiction, narrative theory, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He supports the German Bundesliga team SC Freiburg.
Catherine Diederich is a Teaching and Research Fellow in Linguistics and Language Didactics at the University of Teacher Education in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the development of pragmatic competence in the foreign language classroom. Her main research areas include cognitive semantics, intercultural pragmatics, and sensory language. She is the author of the book Sensory Adjectives in the Discourse of Food: A Frame-Semantic Approach to Sensory Language (2015) in which she explores the interrelation between language and sensory perception. Her interest in the senses and embodied cognition is also what fascinates her about language use in the soccer arena—apart from her passion for soccer since early childhood when she played in the American Youth Soccer Organization. In addition, she is interested in multilingualism in soccer team management, particularly from a didactic perspective.
Aline Bieri is a Research Assistant and Instructor for English Linguistics at the University of Basel, Switzerland. She holds an M.A. in English and Biology from the University of Basel and is currently working on her Ph.D. entitled Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in the Swiss Context: The Linguistic Challenges and Implications of Teaching a Subject such as Biology in English. She is especially interested in the interface of biology as a subject and its linguistic requirements for students and for teachers in a CLIL and non-CLIL environment as well as how this then manifests itself in the classroom discourse in a multilingual context such as that of Switzerland. Her academic research interests cover everything from sociolinguistics to cognitive linguistics (with special emphasis on first and second language acquisition and bi- and multilingualism). Other than being a passionate linguist she is also an enthusiastic soccer aficionado and lifelong supporter of the one and only Swiss soccer club FC Basel.