Ideology Poster 2Ideology in Motion
On the Relationship of Sports and Politics

Graduate Student conference
at the University of British Columbia | Vancouver
Thea Koerner House (Graduate Student Centre)

Vancouver, 4-5 December, 2009

Throughout history, sports have mobilized the masses. From antiquity to modernity and beyond, competitive physical engagement has continued to captivate the hearts and minds of individuals as well as entire nations. In all this time, sports and sporting events have served a wide variety of political purposes, ranging from a supposed symbol for peace (as in the case of the Olympic Games) to a staging ground for rivalries on a local, regional, national and international level. While, in such cases, the connection between sports and politics may be relatively obvious, it is not always merely the question of success and defeat, of supremacy and inferiority, which is at stake in sportive contexts. Rather, sports can be seen as a mirror of an array of social and cultural ideologies: Categories such as honour, courage and honesty (for instance, in recent doping scandals) are as fundamental factors in the discourses informing and surrounding sports as constructions of gender, race and class; body images and the fetishization of athletes have proven as central to the political impact of sports as, for instance, their ever-growing economic relevance. The question, thus, is not whether or not there exists a direct relationship between sports and politics, but how this relationship manifests itself in different contexts. Just in time for both the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the Soccer World Cup in South Africa, this conference seeks to investigate this question and discuss how the thrall of organized physical competition and its relationship to politics can be explained from a variety of different perspectives.

Keynote Address:

“Global Players, Local Cultures: Sports and Cosmopolitanism in Europe and North America.”

Dr. Andrei S. Markovits
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor
of Comparative Politics and German Studies
(University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

The entire event is free and open to the public
Please register in advance