How Soccer Explains the World

by Franklin Foer

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Does How Soccer Explains the World justifiably rationalize globalization through soccer? Why or why not?

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In his book How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, Franklin Foer talks about how soccer can be used as a metaphor for globalization. Many people have actually done so, focusing on the global nature of the game, which is popular in most countries around the world and is even gaining a following in the United States. Indeed, soccer seems to be a global game, a force to join the world together, and a metaphor of how the world is becoming one society.

Yet Foer also argues that this metaphor goes only so far and is not actually all that convincing when one looks a bit more closely. In fact, most of his chapters actually focus on how soccer has brought divisions between people rather than a global culture.

Your first task for this assignment, then, is to determine which position you think is most convincing: soccer as a metaphor and tool for globalization or soccer as a source of division. As you read through Foer's chapters, you will notice that most of them focus on the divisions soccer has created between people rather than the motion toward globalization.

In the first chapter, for instance, the author focuses how soccer fans actually morphed into military execution squads during the war in the Balkans. He talks about the conflicts between Catholic and Protestant teams in Ireland in the second chapter, noting how these two sides reflect the conflicts in the larger society. Indeed, these chapters seem to focus far more on soccer as a continuation or reflection or even exacerbation of discord rather than a tool of global peace and good will.

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