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Soccer and Social Identity in Contemporary German Film and Media

Hicks, Gavin M (2014) Soccer and Social Identity in Contemporary German Film and Media. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation analyzes a selection of German soccer films that construct imaginations of German social identity through the populism and simplicity of soccer. These expressions of German identity do not revert to nostalgic, static social identities based on the exclusivity of national or ethnic heritage. Instead, these films frame German identity in the 21st century circumstances of transcultural exchange, cosmopolitan empathy, and pan-European social movements. I argue that examining the social theories and movements of multiculturalism, feminism, and soccer subcultures provides for a more contemporarily informed reading of the connection between soccer-related media and social identity than reverting back to historical forms of German social identity and misreading German soccer fandom as the reemergence of xenophobic nationalism.
The intersection of soccer and film produces a particular sort of social commentary. Soccer functions as a filmic narrative tool that guides social commentary to a simplified world of dualities: winners vs. losers, us vs. them, or the political right vs. the left. I describe the narrative structure of soccer, film, and social commentary with statement theory: a structuralist method of examining “statements,” which are the culmination of the filmic form, socio-cultural context, and utopic or dystopic visions of society. I argue that the filmic soccer narrative dictates social commentary into utopic or dystopic statements; statements of idealism that necessarily project a social wish or fear into the future, even if that utopia or dystopia is cinematically depicted in an imagined now. The multicultural, post-multicultural, dystopic, and post-dystopic statements are short forms of narratively and visually mediating social identity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hicks, Gavin Mgmh6@pitt.eduGMH6
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHalle, Randallrhalle@pitt.eduRHALLE
Committee MemberLyon, Johnjblyon@pitt.eduJBLYON
Committee Membervon Dirke, Sabinevondirke@pitt.eduVONDIRKE
Committee MemberMuenzer, Clarkmuenzer@pitt.eduMUENZER
Committee MemberRogers, Gaylegrogers@pitt.eduGROGERS
Date: 29 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 April 2014
Approval Date: 29 May 2014
Submission Date: 14 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 225
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Germanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Germany, soccer, fandom, multiculturalism, ultra, hooligan
Date Deposited: 29 May 2014 14:21
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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