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Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture Hardcover – June 6, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0691137513 ISBN-10: 069113751X

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Gaming the World: How Sports Are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture + Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism. + Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States (Politics History & Social Chan)
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Editorial Reviews


One of Financial Times ('s Books of the Year in Nonfiction Round-Up in the Sports list for 2010

"This book is a valuable contribution to the burgeoning study of sport in a global perspective. . . . Markovits and Rensmann's erudite analysis presents many of the key issues and offers interesting points to consider as the sports world continues to change at a remarkable pace."--John Harris, Times Higher Education

"[Gaming the World is a] very readable guide to the recent globalisation of sport by academics who understand both US and European sports. Packed with examples, from David Beckham to Kobe Bryant, the book explores the tension between sport's globalisation and the fact that most teams still arouse the greatest emotions in their local areas."--Financial Times (FT Critics Pick 2010)

"[Markovits and Rensmann] set forth a number of provocative notions growing out of the internationalization of sports stars and the globalization of soccer (the result, they smartly argue, of Britain's reach in the 19th century)."--David M. Shribman, Bloomberg

"Fascinating on matters both large--the late 19th--century dissemination of newly codified sports from two competing economic and cultural 'cores' (Britain/Europe and North America) to countries around the world--and small: the spread in recent years, from North America to Europe, of the wave, high fives and player tattoos. Best of all is their discussion of how high-end sports have managed to go global, so that Manchester United boasts fans from Beijing to Lima, while maintaining the local identities that give teams their emotional power."--Brian Bethune, Macleans

"Markovits and Rensmann provide a valuable contribution to the literature on global sport. Sports are changing at a remarkable pace, and they provide a way to communicate globally using a common language. Looking at soccer, basketball, football, baseball, and hockey, the authors illustrate the dynamics of change and highlight the influences of globalization at local and international levels."--Choice

"Gaming the World is so well researched and presented that its readers, who will likely already possess a solid base of sports knowledge, will find themselves agreeing with much that is there, nodding along with the revelation of facts and statistics as if they knew them all along. This is to the credit of the authors, as in most cases the depth of the material presented will greatly enrich the reader's understanding of the issues, while also providing a very satisfying confirmation of previously held suspicions. . . . Gaming the World, with its detailed study of how sports affect globalization and how globalization affects the culture of sports, is a broad step forward for this academic discipline as a whole."--Jonathan Lutes, IP Global

"[T]hey are fluent in the language of sport, knowledgeable guides through its history, and thoughtful thinkers about its impact."--Jeremy Schaap, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

"[A]n informative page-turner, which will be valuable for scholars of the GDR, graduate students concerned with methodology, and undergraduates studying modern German history."--Peter C. Caldwell, German History

"T]he book merits attention for overdue insights into a brassy, invigorating, and value-shaping facet of contemporary life that too many intellectuals ignore at their peril--one the masses know well enough to take to heart and mind ('the wisdom of the crowd')."--Arthur B. Shostak, European Legacy

From the Back Cover

"I am thrilled to have read this book because it discusses what I am most passionate about: sports and how their very existence, with soccer as a major contributor, have helped shape history on a global scale. As a player, fan, and ambassador of soccer, I am beyond pleased that the authors give my sport its due. Every soccer person, sports fan, and scholar of sports must read this book."--Brandi Chastain, Olympic gold and silver medalist, Women's World Cup champion

"For those of us turning to the sports page of our daily paper first, here is the book we have been waiting for. Gaming the World offers an up-to-date analysis of the capitalist dreamscape of an important leisure industry. Transformed by globalization, exposed to local and national backlash, marked by American and European exceptionalisms, and rife with symbolic politics, Andrei Markovits and Lars Rensmann argue, we are what we play--contaminated cosmopolitans in a global civilization still tethered to our local and national roots. What fun!"--Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University

"This is an exciting book full of stimulating observation and wondrous detail. It illustrates convincingly the central role of sports in our contemporary cultural complex, highlighting their globalizing and cosmopolitan potential but also their national and local reference. The authors bring home their many powerful arguments through a stunning range of evidence."--Modris Eksteins, University of Toronto

"This is a valuable, stimulating, and illuminating book that offers an ambitious, intellectually substantial, analytically sophisticated, and constantly thought-provoking consideration of an important subject. The authors convincingly link their analysis of sports to big questions about the contours, dynamics, and continuing inner tensions of modernity. They also make their subject come alive for the reader. You don't need to be a sports fan to find this book engrossing and enlightening."--Jeff Weintraub, University of Pennsylvania


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (June 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069113751X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691137513
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #926,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
I use this book in my sports and politics class.
I would recommend this book, with much enthusiasm, to sports fans AND academics alike.
Scott Cederbaum
All of these, and many more questions are answered in this book.
Andew Calvetti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Watnick on June 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sports are the object of such a rabid obsession in modern society that intense discussion of them rarely needs exceed wins and losses. Indeed, as Vince Lombardi's favorite saying went: "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

Andrei S. Markovits and Lars Rensmann don't reject the wisdom of that famous mission statement in "Gaming the World," but they push the boundaries of sports talk far beyond the information found in a box score.

Never before has the world been as globalized as it is now in the 21st Century, and never before have sports like soccer, American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey been as popular as they are now throughout the West and throughout the world. Markovits and Rensmann examine these conditions through a fusion of ideas about sports and about globalization.

They consider, for instance, how forces of globalization were able to turn to soccer from a game played by English schoolboys into a ubiquitous global language, and how "other footballs" like rugby and American football survived, flourished, and carved popularities of their own. Conversely, they examine sports as an agent of globalization and modernization -- how figures like Jackie Robinson were able to help dismantle oppressive forces in society by first deconstructing them on the playing field.

Markovits and Rensmann's appraisals, though, remain candidly honest. While the cosmopolitan soccer clubs of Europe have helped ease racial tensions, the authors aren't afraid to face the harsh reality that European soccer remains an occasional bastion of racism and violence. Likewise, they confront the fact that, while women's sports have enjoyed a massive growth in popularity (especially in the U.S.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott Cederbaum on November 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What a read! I read this book from cover to cover during my first sit down and immediately went put it on my reading list for a closer, much more detailed read. Just like Markovits's (with Hellerman) first book on sports, Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism. which thoughtfully explains why soccer is not among a major player in American hegemonic sport culture, Gaming the World hand holds the reader through an amazingly well theorized and well researched explanation as to how sports have globalized during the past 100 years, and why certain exceptionalisms still exist. For me, however, I am once again amazed with exacting detail that Markovits and Rensmann put into their research. Indeed, I had no idea that the Fab 5's (my alma mater's much maligned basketball team from the 1990s) love for baggy shorts permeated throughout and forever changed the world of soccer, or that Seven Nation Army (a song by one of my favorite bands, The White Stripes), has traveled across the Atlantic Ocean twice to become the official song of ESPN's coverage of the Premier League. These tidbits, of which there must be hundreds, make reading this book an absolute joy. Nothing like being able to impress sports fans at events and bars throughout the country with details like these.

For me, however, I was once again dazzled by the scholarly analysis that I have come to expect from both Markovits and Rensmann.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey P. Luppes on July 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The new book Gaming the World: How Sports are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture is a sophisticated and welcome look at the seemingly contradictory role played by sports in furthering the diffusion of global culture while at the same time serving as a venue for those who resist and reject this spread. The book examines how professional sports have become international phenomena and why some sports are virtually universally popular (e.g. soccer) while others (e.g. American football) remain confined to certain countries and regions.

Written by renowned social scientists, Gaming the World will appeal to sports fans and non-fans as well as to academics and non-academics alike. The book is filled with illuminating examples and persuasive arguments which make for an enjoyable read. I found the metaphor of sports as languages particularly useful and compelling. Markovits and Rensmann contend that sports are like languages in that though they oftentimes share basic characteristics, they will remain unintelligible "without a long process of acculturation and learning". As an American, I `speak' baseball fluently but its relative cricket will always remain Greek to me.

Gaming the World is highly recommended for all those who take sports seriously but it is also a must-read for those interested in the processes of globalization and what the authors call "cosmopolitanism" and "counter-cosmopolitanism". You will enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andew Calvetti on August 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sports Matter. The first sentence in this book gets right to the point. Sports are an integral part of our culture throughout the world. Sports connect politics, culture, education, and all of society together with more fluidity than anything else. While we know of the major changes within the world from the late 19th century to the early 20th century - the authors make note of the ever-changing world in which we are living today. Markovits and Rensmann do a wonderful job in helping all of us understand how different sports languages relate with one another and cross over into different cultures.

Early on, this book gives us a great quote from a manager from Liverpool FC Bill Shankly. He said, "Some people think football is a matter of life or death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more important than that!" "Gaming the World" is chock full of enjoyable tidbits and fascinating facts about sports figures across the world. Why does the President throw out the first pitch on opening day of every baseball season? Why do we stand for the 7th inning stretch? How was the "wave" introduced to baseball? All of these, and many more questions are answered in this book.

"Gaming the World" also helps us to see how sports have helped to bridge the gap in race relations in our country and around the world. While it is almost common knowledge in the United States that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in US sports in 1947, Gaming the World takes a global look at this unfortunate situation that we still deal with to this day - and more importantly, how sports has helped us to garner a better understanding from our different brothers and sisters.
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