9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Religious, National and European Identities Building II, C4.07

Sports, Identities and Governance. Football and nationalist attitudes within the Basque Country and Catalonia

Football is (undoubtedly) the most important and followed sport in Spain. The regional and nationalist cleavages are also much important in the Iberic country than in other European societies. It is also well-known (among the literature ), how Sports have been used to build political and national identities.
Therefore, the proposed research will seek to analyse the football added and attributed values from the social and political sub-State dimension in Spain. Thus, it will mainly focus in the cases whose nationalist cleavage impact is higher: the Basque and the Catalan. Functions attached, societal meanings, associated aims, or the mere wills about the regional governance, football represents within both Spanish "Autonomous Communities", will be dealt with.
The quasi federalised Spanish State allows regional (Autonomous Communities) football selections. Many of them, and not only the Basque and the Catalan, have already played friendly matches against national teams. Nationalist wishes (defended by the main Non State Wide Parties) would allow both Autonomous Communities teams to become part in official competitions.
The most relevant Catalan and Basque football teams had always been forced to deal (formally or informally) with the National/Political issue cleavage. In spite of (until now) none of them has refused to compete within the Spanish Championship, some of them have exhibited clear nationalist and political attitudes: a) Athletic de Bilbao only accepts Basque players; b)Real Sociedad (San Sebastián) only enrols non Spanish football players (Basque or foreigners); c) Barcelona Football Club represents the Catalan´s identity faced to Madrid d) Espanyol represents an integrative, Catalan but also Spanish, identity within Barcelona.
Thus, the interaction between football and the regional and national cleavage (while national identities building) in the Basque Country and Catalonia, will be substantiated. Following a qualitative analysis method approach (surveys records), some questions will be dealt with: How far football conducts or strengths nationalist identities? How does the National/Regional cleavage influence football teams social and political attitudes? Does the centre-periphery issue variable influence football teams supporter´s choices? Would it be once possible or predictable to transpose any of the above mentioned attitudes to other European societies?