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robertogreco : dariobrentin   1

Dario Brentin on Twitter: "This is going to be a long thread. With the successful qualification for the #WorldCup semifinal it seems that now everyone is interested in & an expert on #Cro politics, nationalism and football. Since I've been studying that n
"This is going to be a long thread. With the successful qualification for the #WorldCup semifinal it seems that now everyone is interested in & an expert on #Cro politics, nationalism and football. Since I've been studying that nexus for years, let me point out a few things /1

Nationalist gestures by players & fans, the president in a full-on checkered outfit celebrating with players, a public debate over #Subasic’s “ethnic background", a divisive media discourse & all of that while the #Cro “Golden Generation” has been playing some decent football /2

That has been the #World Cup for #Cro thus far. If you want to know more about why football is so political and so fiercely debated in Croatia (& on social media), here are a couple of thoughts, reading suggestions and potential #ff for you. /3

The close interrelationship of football and politics is not a new phenomenon in #Cro, but largely a product of the 1990s. It was Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman, who famously stated that “after war, sport is the first thing you can distinguish nations by”. /4

Through its politicisation in the 1990s, football has become a “national habitus code” or a central pillar of national identity. I wrote an article for @tandfsport's "Sport in Society" on the instrumentalization of Croatian football during the 1990s: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17430437.2013.801217 … /5

It deals with everything from the Maksimir riots, Zvonimir Boban’s kick that “started a war” (see @Balkanist's critique on that political myth: http://balkanist.net/the-maksimir-myth-25-years-since-the-symbolic-dissolution-of-socialist-yugoslavia/ …), the successful 3rd place at the World Cup 1998 & the Dinamo/Croatia Zagreb issue. /6

Another article of mine dealt with more contemporary issues of political extremism exhibited by national team fans I wrote for @NationalitiesP: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00905992.2015.1136996 … While there have been some developments since the publication, it might still be interesting to some. /7

However, the “cult of the national team” has witnessed a serious crisis over the last few years. Unhappy with a way football was "privatised" & misused, many (particularly organised) football fans started openly rebelling against the FA & the national team. /8

While a lot has been written on that issue, I would like to point out the work by @AlexHoliga, @JamesPiotr and @JurajVrdoljak who have been relentless in their reporting - and for which they’ve received a lot of (online) abuse - of everything that is wrong with #Cro football. /9

You can also check out @dr_andyhodges and mine special issue on activism, protest and “football from below” in Southeastern Europe for "Soccer&Society" if interested in an academic perspective: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fsas20/19/3 w/ text by @LTregoures, @daghanirak, a.o. /10

While a lot of fans are worried that #WorldCup success might jeopardise their struggle for a more democratic #Cro football by providing the current power holders with significant social, cultural & economic capital, for many “ordinary” fans this only plays a secondary role. /11

That’s how you explain the simultaneous existence of “anti-Modric” graffiti & crowded Croatian squares with fans celebrating the national team. I was personally always more interested in the sociology of national fandom, so am not surprised. It “smells of 1998” again. /12

Football has remained one of the most salient social fields in which (nat) identity is debated, contested and (re-)produced. For many a critique of the national team is an attack on the entire nation as such because the national team is a “sacred institution of nationness”. /13

The nationalist frenzy has taken over. Fans, who care about football more than just “four weeks every two years” are outnumbered. Difficult questions get side-lined & atmosphere of patriotism is making it more & more difficult to express critique without being “unpatriotic”. /14

Football is political. It’s a field of ideological struggle & as critical scholars, journalists, fans, etc. we have to take a stand and defend our arguments in these times. I for one, see it as @AlexHoliga: #Cro football belongs to the people & not to Kolinda, Mamic or Suker! /15"
worldcup  dariobrentin  croatia  2018  politics  football  soccer  nationalism 
july 2018 by robertogreco

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