History and Government Faculty Publications


Civic Integration or Ethnic Segregation? Models of Ethnic and Civic Nationalism in Club Football

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Soccer & Society

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This essay evaluates the ways that soccer has been used by various actors in the promotion of both ethnic and civic forms of nationalism throughout the world. By focusing on domestic soccer, this paper further investigates the phenomenon of nationalism in the world and provides broader theoretical and practical answers to the questions of integration and ethnic identity. This essay starts by examining the issue of ethnicity in historic and contemporary football, provides a review of the academic literature on ethnic and civic nationalism and then discusses the role of ethnic and civic models of identity within club football. Most notable is a discussion of five categories, which best explain why ethnic nationalism persists, and why it was initially mobilized. The essay then moves to a discussion of why most soccer clubs in the world have made the transition to a more civic form of nationalism. Finally, conclusions are drawn on the issue of ethnic nationalism in domestic football.


Soccer, sports, nationalism, ethnic, civic, integration, football, soccer clubs