Soccer is a vital part of the Middle East’s cultural and political fabric, most recently demonstrated by the way the recent successes of the Iraqi national team suggested possibilities of unity and solidarity. This edited collection explores the multifaceted connections between soccer and society in the Middle East. It examines the broader social significance of soccer and its importance to individual lives, how the game acts as a source of both conflict and unity and how it relates to religious belief.
The chapters in this volume include an analysis of the role of ‘African’ identity in the Egyptian and Moroccan bids to host the 2010 World Cup, the relationship between FIFA and Palestinian statehood and a case-study examination of the UltrAslan, an organisation of Galatasaray fans, that challenges Turkish fandom’s violent and nationalistic reputation. The themes of this book are also addressed through the perspective of individual accounts and literary selections.
This collection offers a crucial insight into the hope that soccer can provide, how it captures the imagination and embodies the values and dreams of its followers in the complex, dynamic and politically fraught societies of the Middle East.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Soccer & Society.