Review: Gaming the world
For the book, “Gaming the World; How Sports are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture,”, the authors are Andrei S. Markovits and Lars Rensmann. We can say they are all the well-known professors in the field of researches of soccer. They met each other in the summer time of 2006. Before that, they have their own perspective of the sports especially about the soccer. For Markovits, he was born in 1948 in Romania. About Rensmann, he was born in Bochum in 1970 in Germany. We can easily see that there is a gap between their age even though they all born in 20th century. We know that the development of soccer has undergone the different period of time in the history. As a result, the gap between their age could affect the perspectives of their researches in soccer field and give us the distinctive viewpoints from different era.
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For Markovits, as a politics professor, he has been in this field for about 40 years. About Rensmann, we can know that he started to do the research in since 2003 especially for the political theory. As a result, we can tell both of them have the deep backgrounds of doing such researches. “Analyzing the continuities and changed that have characterized sports cultures in United states and Europe, We find complex process involving global transformations alongside persistent local and national factors.”(Markovits and Rensmann 1). Though the book, we can easily see that all the factors and points are based on the analysis by the authors.
Therefore, there are four main factors are appeared which are important to develop the thesis in this book though the analysis by Andrei S. Markovits and Lars Rensmann. They are global communications, diversity, nationalism and cultures. (Markovits and Rensmann 34). Global communication is easily to understand. In another word, global communication could be regarded as the globalization. After the third industrialization, internet as an advanced tool come to us and it closer the whole world especially changes the way of the communication all over the world. Sports, as a way of interaction, also take the direction toward the global communication. Sports, as a medium, is easily to be accepted by human. The basis of global communication is based on the human. We need the interactive activity to help people to communicate each other in order to reach the final purpose of the global communication. By the thesis of Markovits and Rensmann, sports could be regarded as a language in the human society. “We view these sports and their world akin to languages—with their own codes, grammar, dissemination, intelligibility, mastery, elegance, idiosyncrasies, practitioners, and recipients,” (Markovits and Rensmann 34). As a result, similar to the language, sports also share the same properties to convey the thing to all the races and nations and finally accepted by all the cultures.
“The universal intelligibility of each sport gives each very identity”. (Markovits and Rensmann 45) I am a person and did many sports before like basketball, soccer, table tennis and half marathon. Each program has its own meaning to me. When I play basketball, the only thing is to find the space and correct time to shoot. When I play soccer, the only thing is to cooperate with the teammates to break the line and send the ball into the net. When I run the half marathon by myself, what I was thinking is to keep the pace to run to the destination. “The tabulation of individual and collective achievements, winners and losers, rituals and symbols of each sport are the same in every country and differential one apart from another.” (Markovits and Rensmann 45). Therefore, sports used its own way to help the human society to gradually process the global communication by its specialty. Different sports also convey the different meaning to the humans by its special way of doing it. “Thus, there is nothing inherently good or bad about them.” (Markovits and Rensmann 45). Hence, that’s also what I think why the sports could be used as the global communication. The prime reason is that there’s no difference for human in it. When people can’t judge one thing good or bad, the pure thing which could bring to human is happiness and to be enjoyed.
Apart from the global communication, diversity would be another crucial factor which was developed by Markovits and Rensmann. “Winning was the mindset and mentality that emerged in this process, which could be best attained by attracting talent regardless of geographic origins or other particularistic attributes.” (Markovits and Rensmann 68). As we can see, the most crucial property in sports is the purity of itself. When we play sports, the only thing is to win. Based on this purpose, we can ignore all the other factors.
“even in such a geographically and socially mobile society like the United States, where disproportionate number of Ohio state and University of Texas players hail from their perspective states.” (Markovits and Rensmann 69). Therefore, people can easily see that the diversity will be the main trend for the sports all over the world even in such a mobile place. Sports was a thing that can separate us from the unjustified biases of the society. Like the book said, “what matters is output, results, and winning.”(Markovits and Rensmann 45). When we focus on the advances of the sports, we can pay more attention of the pure stuffs like the winning and the outputs. So, diversity could be regarded as one of the crucial part in sports today.
When the diversity becomes the main trend in the sports, the nationalism would be as important as diversity. The authors showed us many examples which appeared in the history. “West Germany’s 1954 World Cup victory, to take related example, was a crucial stepping-stone in the formation of the Federal Republic’s postwar identity and self-discovery.”. (Markovits and Rensmann 73) This process could be seen as an important step for the German history. Before that, Germany has such problem about the establishment about the sports. After the victory, we should say that the sports in Germany has a huge step toward the modern society. “a building bloc toward the ‘normalization’.” (Markovits and Rensmann 73)
Same as Germany, China also has the same development in soccer in the history. “China also offers the most dramatic example of the cultural power of globalization and the impact of global sports on the transformation of national cultures.” (Markovits and Rensmann 74). We all know that the modern soccer arrives late in the China area. Undoubtedly, the development is not successful as the western countries. Worse, China don’t have good grades in the international stages. So, after all, the nationalism will play an important role when we discussed the development of the sports globally.
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Then, the last affective element is the culture. “Sweeping away cultural traditions, they have displaced table tennis and other former hegemonic sports within a decade in terms of what millions follow rather than play.” (Markovits and Rensmann 74). We know that the table tennis would be the one of the successful sports in China. To make comparison, the soccer in China undergone dramatic developments. However, along with the open policies in China, the sports which are popular in other countries also have more and more followers in China. “sports-interested public adore global players such as Ronaldinho.” (Markovits and Rensmann 75). In another word, sports, apart from the competitions, can’t be avoidably to affect our lives. In china, it has already changed the way that people about how they should treat the different forms of sports. Like the soccer, the popularity is the same as the table tennis that has many followers. As we can see, culture will play an important role because it showed us how the nation will face the new things which come from another area.
From my perspective, I think the analysis and the theories from Markovits and Rensmann in sports are quite convincing because they can show us how the soccer developed in the different eras due to the gap between their ages. The theories are quite clear to say that the sports truly undergone such advancements all over the world. But, from what I think today, there are some limits when they finally developed the theories in the book. I think the main problem is about their backgrounds. We know that both of them were born in Europe. What they pay most attention to the sports are mainly on the United states and the Europe. However, if we say that using the soccer as a medium to analyze the situations all over the world, there could be appeared some limits in it. They both proved the theories about the situations in the both area like we mentioned before. I think that will not cover most of areas of the world since we know that Asia would be a large are that has most people in it. Unfortunately, the level of the soccer in Asia is not advanced as Europe. So, as a result, we should not focus on the soccer to analyze the situations of the developments all over the world since that will not be precise enough.
Similar to the book was written by Markovits and Rensmann, another book, “How Soccer Explains the World,” was written by Franklin Foer showed us the situations of the soccer in the different cultures and nations right now. Differently, Foer was like a leader to bring his readers to know the exact situations by going to the certain nations. As showed in the different books, one of the obvious part is about the violence in the soccer. Foer showed us a quite clear example, which is named “Ultra Bad Boys”.(Foer 7). From the book, we know a quite distinct fans club in the world. They even in charge of the club itself though their own ways. And the way to in charge of the club is easy. That’s what we called violence.
In my view, the violence and the sports have a blurred line between them. inside of the area of sports, many programs are including such behaviors inside the itself. Outside of the field, the fans will use their extreme way to support their own clubs in order to gain the victories even though that’s kind of inappropriate. However, if we give the violence another definition, that also can be regarded as an art which was generated along with the sports. Under the deadline of the violence, we can use the extreme way to support our teams even though people will be looked as crazy from the people outside of the area.
To sum up all the ideas above, from the book, “Gaming the world”, sports, as a mean of human activities, has a huge power to promote the progress of the human society. It affects the developments in the United States and the Europe. In the past, human have such social issues like the racism. However, the sports, especially the football, potentially deal with the issues by its subtle beauties and powers. It also affects the identities and the economic developments all over the world. Sports can be also regarded as a kind of belief these days. The main reason for this is that it can bring people what they want and what they think. I am a one likes many kinds of sports. Though this course, I understand many things systematically which already existed in the sports. Also, I think sports will definitely to bring our planet into another world in the future.
- Markovits, Andrei S, and Lars Rensmann. Gaming The World: How Sports Are Shaping Global Politics and Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.
- Franklin, Foer. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010.
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