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Offside : Soccer and American Exceptionalism - Andrei S. Markovits


Soccer and American Exceptionalism

Paperback Published: 22nd April 2001
ISBN: 9780691074474
Number Of Pages: 367

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Soccer is the world's favorite pastime, a passion for billions around the globe. In the United States, however, the sport is a distant also-ran behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Why is America an exception? And why, despite America's leading role in popular culture, does most of the world ignore American sports in return? "Offside" is the first book to explain these peculiarities, taking us on a thoughtful and engaging tour of America's sports culture and connecting it with other fundamental American exceptionalisms. In so doing, it offers a comparative analysis of sports cultures in the industrial societies of North America and Europe.

The authors argue that when sports culture developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nativism and nationalism were shaping a distinctly American self-image that clashed with the non-American sport of soccer. Baseball and football crowded out the game. Then poor leadership, among other factors, prevented soccer from competing with basketball and hockey as they grew. By the 1920s, the United States was contentedly isolated from what was fast becoming an international obsession.

The book compares soccer's American history to that of the major sports that did catch on. It covers recent developments, including the hoopla surrounding the 1994 soccer World Cup in America, the creation of yet another professional soccer league, and American women's global preeminence in the sport. It concludes by considering the impact of soccer's growing popularity as a recreation, and what the future of sports culture in the country might say about U.S. exceptionalism in general.

Industry Reviews

"Warmly recommended to all those who want to understand and appreciate ... popular culture in the United States."--Roman Horak, Der Standard (Vienna) "The text is well referenced, historically grounded, and offers excellent insight into US soccer and its past, present, and future potential as a major sport. Highly recommended for both the general population and those interested in sports studies and sociology of sport."--Choice "This is the first adequate sociocultural history of the sport in the United States... Sports sociologists will look to this book for soccer material and also for the author's fresh conceptualization of sports culture. Sociologists with more general interests in culture and institutional analysis might also find it useful and informative as a case study."--John Wilson, American Journal of Sociology

Prefacep. vii
Introductionp. 3
The Argument: Sports As Culture in Industrial Societies--American Conformities and Exceptionsp. 7
The Formation of the American Sport Space: "Crowding Out" and Other Factors in the Relegation and Marginalization of Soccerp. 52
Soccer's Trials and Tribulations: Beginnings, Chaos, "Almosts," Obscurity, and Collegesp. 99
The Formation and Rearrangement of the American Sport Space in the Second Half of the Twentieth Centuryp. 128
From the North American Soccer League to Major League Soccerp. 162
The World Cup in the United Statesp. 201
The Coverage of World Cup '98 by the American Media and the Tournament's Reception by the American Publicp. 235
Conclusionp. 264
Appendixesp. 273
A Statistical Abstract on Recreational, Scholastic, and Collegiate Soccer in the United Statesp. 275
A Sample of Opinion from American Sports Columnists and Journalists regarding the 1994 World Cupp. 282
Notesp. 299
Bibliographyp. 341
Indexp. 353
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691074474
ISBN-10: 069107447X
Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 367
Published: 22nd April 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 2.08
Weight (kg): 0.56