Back to Sample Page » APA Format Sample
Since its first appearance in the Webster dictionary in 1961, the term "globalization" has very quickly made its way into the standard vocabulary. As Anthony Giddens puts it, it almost appears that the word "has come from nowhere to be everywhere”. (Giddens, 2019) But nevertheless, its importance and relevance in today's society is undisputed, which can be seen by its constant usage in relation to various developments and trends in the world. But because the term "globalization" has entered our world so suddenly and with such an immense impact on our lives, opposition against globalization and its implications cannot be seen as surprising. However, much of this opposition results out of misconceptions about the process of globalization, because the meaning and concept of "globalization" is not, yet, clearly defined. For example, globalization is part of the process which makes the world grow steadily together, but it is also the reason for it.
The definition of "globalization" is as complex and ambiguous as the process of globalization itself. This is also the reason why "sustainable explanations, precise evaluations and effective policies" for globalization are so difficult to find. But nevertheless, "the impossibility of a definitive definition does not reduce the need for rigorous conceptualization”, hence all the approaches addressed in this dissertation have to be treated as subject to alternation and revision. From the sociological point-of-view, Anthony Giddens argues that "globalization can...be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa."(Giddens, 2019)
This is particularly true when talking of a globalized communications network, which supports and enhances this "intensification" of social relations. A good example of how the world has socially grown together is the terrorist attack of September 11th in New York. When the WTO Twin Towers collapsed, not only the local New York and national American community was affected, but also the entire Western hemisphere, which felt the impact of this attack economically, politically and socially. To some extent, it can be even said that since September 11th, the process of "social globalization" has even more accelerated.
Another short definition is provided by Business Journal, "Globalization is a tendency towards a worldwide investment environment, and the integration of national capital markets." (http://www.businessjournalism.org/bg/g/). The same scenario is evaluated by Kellner in these words, "Globalization is one of the most hotly debated issues of the present era. For some, it is a cover concept for global capitalism and imperialism, and is accordingly condemned as another form of the imposition of the logic of capital and the market on ever more regions of the world and spheres of life. For others, it is the continuation of modernization and a force of progress, increased wealth, freedom, democracy, and happiness. Its defenders present globalization as beneficial, generating fresh economic opportunities, political democratization, cultural diversity, and the opening to an exciting new world. Its critics see globalization as harmful, bringing about increased domination and control by the wealthier overdeveloped nations over the poor underdeveloped countries". (http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/papers/theoryglob.htm)
Nationalism and affect are two potent forces in the sports culture of any nation. In terms of the potential elevation of soccer into the American sport space, these represent both opportunity and danger, especially in their conflation. In terms of affect, a successful professional team in any modern sport must gain the allegiance of a fan base, specifically, the home crowd. If it succeeds in this realm and demonstrates excellence on the field of play, it may then possibly—as in the case of some of the more successful franchises throughout the history of team sports, such as the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, and Manchester United—proceed to gain the affect of legions of fans outside of the home market and reap the profits thereof. This points to an American first: the modern organization and appeal of professional team sports that goes back to the founding of the first openly professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings and, subsequently, the establishment of the National League. Well over a century later, fans of the successful Yankees and Cowboys—as well as those for the perennially disappointing Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers—do not care about the geographic origin of the players who perform for their teams; what matters is that they perform well for the team the fans consider their own. Thus, it matters little that many a New York Yankee now hails from the Dominican Republic and Panama, or that one-third of the rosters of the three New York–area hockey clubs has a European background. The fans' affect for or disapproval of these top-level professional teams remains independent of the players' ethnic or geographic origins. While the players' composition on teams has become global, the fans' affection for them has remained local.
But once again, history matters. This globalization has no detriment in terms of the fans' feelings for and interest in the team and the game as long as both have enjoyed hegemonic cultural presence throughout the twentieth century. Thus, it matters little, if at all, that the pedigreed London club Chelsea fielded teams in recent years without one English player on its side. Nor has it been to the detriment of Arsenal, Chelsea's North London rival that a majority of its players hail from outside the British Isles. Chelsea, Arsenal, CF Barcelona, AC Milan are the soccer equivalents of the New York Yankees and the established clubs of the NHL. But they are the distinct opposites of the new teams in MLS who are yet to find their identities in their respective local communities in a game that has been burdened by the stigma of being foreign, indeed downright un-American. In MLS's case, the plethora of foreigners on the league's respective teams might yet again work to the disadvantage of soccer's cultural acceptance in the United States.
The phenomena about the cultural representation of hegemonic sports in the United States have their counterparts in other cultures and countries with the parallel representation of their own hegemonic sports. Be it cricket in the West Indies, India, and Pakistan, or soccer in Argentina, Austria, or Romania, these team sports have attained a cultural representation over the years that renders them social forces in their countries well beyond the actual playing fields on which they occur as a mere physical activity.
To use an example from the world of soccer: What we mean by hegemonic sports culture is not so much that Brazil has sent a team to every one of the sixteen World Cups thus far contested, but that the team's departure from the Rio de Janeiro airport has been televised, that its practice sessions are broadcast live back to Brazil, and that over one thousand journalists cover the team's every move on and off the field for a country of 140 million self-professed soccer coaches. Similar situations of sports culture in the guise of “following” pertain to virtually all countries in the world during the quadrennially held World Cup, except the United States, of course, where equivalent passions emerge around baseball's World Series, football's playoffs and Super bowl, and the championship games in basketball.
Lending additional support to our argument that team sports exercise much greater emotional power and collective cohesion than individual sports is that such unprecedented celebrations occurred in a country where soccer had allegedly enjoyed much less public enthusiasm and cultural hegemony than in neighboring Germany, Italy, Spain, and England. The sport may differ, but the phenomenon does not. With their shared belief system, common sentiment, mutually intelligible rules and norms, sports—particularly team sports—create a culture that varies by country and society in its empirical manifestations but appears compellingly similar in its analytic construct. And here we see some fascinating features common to all industrial societies. It is to a discussion of these that we now turn before embarking on a presentation of the “exceptions” informing the American experience.
Modern sports as culture are inextricably tied to the development of mass societies. Sport in its organized form of regulated leisure and, subsequently, of commodified culture, has proceeded hand in hand with such major components of “modernization” as urbanization, industrialization, education, and the perpetually expanding participation of a steadily growing number of citizens in the public spheres of politics, production, and consumption. Modern sports everywhere became inextricably linked to the most fundamental aspects of modernization. There exists an inextricable link between societal modernization and modern sports the way both came to be understood throughout the twentieth century.
The creation and— perhaps more important—dissemination of modern sports as culture are thus part and parcel of a public life defined by the interaction between modernization's two most important social agents: the bourgeoisie and the working class. Modern sports have also become a major forum as well as a replica of the contradictions of modern life. Concretely, modern sports are totally achievement oriented, hence egalitarian, yet at the same time also inherently unequal, thus elitist. They are liberal and decidedly not collectivist in one essential way: Their equality of opportunity is accompanied by a singularity of results. All can participate and start, but only one emerges as winner. Vince Lombardi's famous dictum that “winning is not everything, but the only thing” comes closer to being a superb characterization of the essential quality of modern sports than he likely cared to realize.
Everywhere, the gradual weakening of working class culture and the concomitant lessening of traditional communities centered on the old ball park, the home pitch, the team pub, or the neighborhood bar is associated with a loss of authenticity and a commercialization that any true fan of the respective sport decries. Even though all mass sports had become subject to the logic of capitalism sooner or later in the course of the twentieth century, commodification on a grand scale, which began characterizing sports in both the United States and Europe, was met with much disdain by the true fan on both sides of the Atlantic. Megaplexes, corporate skyboxes, pay-per-view television, and the ubiquitous presence of multinational corporations as sponsors, the globalization of markets all seemed to undermine the old working-class roots that characterized the milieus of these sports without eradicating them completely.
The New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, the Montreal Canadians, the Dallas Cowboys, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax Amsterdam, Manchester United, and Arsenal London have crucial tie-ins with entities such as Nike, Opel, Umbro, Molson, Sharpe, Continental, and other multinational corporations. Their logos might have attained global identification and might indeed have generated a following far from the respective teams' actual activities. At least until Michael Jordan's retirement, the Chicago Bulls had a coterie of ardent and knowledgeable fans in Europe, just as AC Milan, Bayern Munich, or any of the prominent European soccer clubs have their modest American followings. Yankee caps and Cowboy jerseys are as readily available in Paris and Rome as European soccer shirts are in any larger American city. And still, this globalization is merely another layer that exists in addition to—not instead of—the teams' local roots and parochial milieus. In no way does globalization displace local attachments. (Sugden, 2018)
Indeed, it does not even come close to the intensity of emotions and enthusiasm garnered by the traditional identities that will continue to receive pride of place for years to come. The Yankees will become better known on a global level in the course of the next decades, but true love for them will not reach much beyond New York, thereby rendering the situation not all that different from the one that existed one hundred years ago. The same pertains to Real Madrid and Boca Juniors Buenos Aires. Knowledge of these teams will become global; true affection for them, however, will remain local. Hegemonic sports have yet another commonality, concerning class: Their players have disproportionately hailed from the lower strata of their respective societies. So, just as a statistically significant number of Brazilian soccer stars have emerged from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo, the inner core of many American cities furnishes a good number of the country's talent in the Big Three, basketball in particular. Stars of all hegemonic sports emanate from the poor and underprivileged segments of their societies, both urban and rural: This is as true of Italian, Austrian, and English soccer players as it is of West Indian cricketers, Canadian hockey players, Caribbean baseball players, and American football players. The reason is obvious: Hegemonic sports have historically offered the poor but talented one of the very few venues of unimpeded upward mobility and genuine societal recognition usually denied them by most other institutions of modern capitalism.
Central to our argument is the assessment that America's dominant sports culture—though exhibiting many structural parallels with that of other countries with comparable levels of industrialization and modernization—developed sufficient differences and indigenous peculiarities to create a sport space that can be justifiably labeled singularly American. (Featherstone, 2015) Thus, in sports, too, the United States is similar yet sufficiently different from comparable modern democracies to warrant the analytical, if not normative, categorization of an exception. America's sports exceptionalism, we submit, remains inextricably linked to the other exceptionalisms that have rendered American politics, American social relations, and American culture so similar yet at the same time so different from other comparable phenomena, particularly in Europe, the United States' most important progenitor.
America's sports exceptionalism is also rooted in America's powerful bourgeois order. As argued previously in this chapter, modern sports everywhere in the industrial world are embedded in the development of mass societies. (Riesman, 1951) The creation and—perhaps more important—dissemination of modern sports is thus part of the bourgeois mode of life. While most modern sports were actually invented by members of society's higher stations, they soon became the purview of the bourgeoisie and the masses if they gained any significance beyond that of polo or croquet. (Spalding, 2001) It was the bourgeoisie's commodification of sports—especially those that were to comprise each country's dominant sports culture—that led to the complex structure and ubiquity of contemporary sports in all advanced industrial societies. Not surprisingly, it was the two most bourgeoisified societies of the nineteenth century, Great Britain and the United States, that founded organized professional team sports played and enjoyed by the masses in their own countries and—in the case of Britain's inventions, primarily soccer—everywhere in the world.
The dissemination of the respective national sports correlated positively with the two countries' global positions. Great Britain was still the leading imperial power and as such the main opinion leader and cultural “hegemon” of the time. People all over the world emulated British ways, especially those related to recreation, relaxation, and sports. (Riess, 1980) The United States, on the other hand, was still by and large an isolated new world that fascinated the European and global public.
Yet, despite America's economic might and prowess by the end of the nineteenth century, its concrete political and cultural presence remained marginal in world affairs at the time. To be sure, this isolation was in part self-imposed by America's self-identification as on the one hand related to Europe, and on the other hand distinctly non-European, perhaps even anti-European. As such, American ambivalence toward things British and European and the attempt to create a cultural niche in line with—yet independent of—British and European culture constitutes an integral part of American exceptionalism. (Radar, 1994) Hence, both football and baseball developed into American sports par excellence within the framework of this ambivalent and largely one-sided dialogue that America conducted with Britain about its ways. Both sports evolved out of largely pre-industrial British team games. Both tried to define their respective identities by claiming to be American originals, by underlining their indigenous “Americanness” and by establishing themselves as distinctly non-European.
The cognizable Americanization— nonetheless available in all of the Big Three sports—was particularly marked in baseball. Through entire bourgeoisification, all three American team sports were modified to a new, commercialized industrial set up in a new world. (Scherer, 2010) Till then, soccer, Britain's own mass sport, had been fruitfully exported throughout the world, America's sport space was before now engaged by former British imports now transformed into genuine American sports plus an aboriginal American invention that was to verify immensely popular in the overcrowded quarters and indoor activities of America's recently arrived immigrant’s families.
It was solely due to the potential reach and riches of television that a number of American cities became prime markets for new NHL clubs. In 1967—the NHL's fiftieth anniversary—the league expanded its product coast to coast by signing a $3.5 million contract with CBS for Game of the Week coverage and by placing new teams in six cities. Overall, the NHL added twelve new teams to the Solid Six in a span of seven years, while its lengthy playoff schedule now extended well into late May, often even early June. Professional hockey had truly become an American national game that—in terms of sheer geographic presence and reach, though not in stability, popularity, or revenues—rivaled the Big Three. But just like in the case of the Big Three, success for hockey also entailed new challenges, in this case, on both the global and the national fronts. On the global front, the best of the NHL finally had an opportunity to set the record straight once and for all as to who were the real world champions and the best hockey players, the NHL professional stars or the Soviet state “amateurs” who had dominated the Olympics and the yearly international world championships of hockey since the mid-1950s, events barely noticed by the average North American sports fan. (Burk, 2018)
The National Football League (NFL) made its debut in 1920. Though there was little about this league to render it national in the true sense of that word—its four charter teams were all remnants of a loosely affiliated regional league in Ohio— the founding of this organization furnished the nucleus of an institution that was to begin the massive dissemination of football away from the country's colleges and into the working classes and mass culture. (Baker, 1981) This downward dissemination of the game provided entertainment to spectators and fans outside the realm of the collegiate world, sometimes as a direct outgrowth of machinations on the part of corporate management to co-opt the loyalty and attention of their employees away from union activity. Several of the early NFL teams were directly sponsored by firms in the midst of labor disputes and strikes, particularly the Green Bay Packers, the Decatur Bears, the Dayton Triangles, the Rochester Jeffersons, and the Columbus Panhandles. In each case, strikes and labor strife at the sponsoring company—and in the town in which its team was based—markedly declined. (Staudohar, 2016) The new league was pressed for the financial resources to keep teams in business; hence factory-sponsored teams had a critical role for the viability of the nascent NFL. For the sponsor, the team was simply a way to buy off labor unrest.
The meeting of these two worlds that of nominally amateur middleclass collegiate football with its explicitly professional, industrial, and working-class counterpart—was fraught with conflict, rivalries, and repeated attempts to draw clear boundaries. (Ted, 2017) Since amateurism was such an essential ingredient of the bourgeois perception of college athletics—the student-athlete syndrome— the American public disapproved of players who joined professional clubs while still active on college rosters. The owners of the new NFL attempted to address this issue by proclaiming a rule that forbade the use by a professional team of any player whose class had not yet graduated. The worlds of college and professional football—though related—would remain institutionally separate to this day. (Rosenbaum, 2011)
Largely due to the college game's preeminence in the eyes of the American public, both in the game's overall legitimacy and in its superior quality at the college level at the time, the NFL encountered difficulties in the routinization of its institution. Its teams though present in such major markets as Chicago and New York featured such ephemeral floating franchises as Pottsville, Pennsylvania; and Duluth, Minnesota. In order to stay afloat, NFL teams continued their barnstorming, playing teams not in the league and whose existence was precarious at best. This constant “exiting” from the league by its teams rendered loyalty to it and voice within it very difficult, impeding the NFL's successful institutionalization.