Bhabha and Soccer pt. II

It merits focusing another blog post with regard to Homi Bhabha’s argument, due to its high prevalence to my topic. Bhabha does not liken the location of culture to be here, nor there; he illustrates this claim through a depiction of a metaphoric staircase, and designates culture to be somewhere “in-between.” There are no ‘pure’ cultures; due to colonialism as well as our increased interconnectedness, interdependence, and migratory nature today (recall Appadurai’s “ethnoscape”), cultures have donned new facets and are continually changing. In relation to soccer, players assume new citizenship, the rules change, and plays take elements from different styles around the world. By joining other countries’ teams, the player becomes a face for the large immigrant population throughout the world, too. Although various national teams have their distinctive components, the players have the options of playing in various international teams outside their home countries. For example, Ibrahimovic originates from Bosnia, plays for the Swedish national team (recently winning the Swedish “Player of the Year” award this past year), and plays for Paris St. Germain, a French club team.  Before, he played for Inter Milan (in Italy), Barca (in Spain), Ajax (in Holland) amongst other club teams around Europe. He is thus an exemplar for the transnational element that is the essence of soccer
today.

I found Bhabha’s two articles to be very interesting in regards to the writer’s immense ability to fully flush out key concepts of hybridity and the state of being in-between. A point of great interest to me is the designation of nationality; is it purely legality? I raise this question due to the immense multicultural aspect of national soccer teams today; whether one is in support of it or not is irrelevant to the fact that the teams’ players originate from a multitude of countries today. Yet there are a plethora of countries that assert themselves as nationalists. For example, while France is extremely proud to be ethnically French, it is undeniable that many French soccer stars originate from Algeria, Mali, Senegal, and so on. If these countries would like to continue to be both, then a redefinition of a French citizen is imperative.

 

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