A NATION OFFSIDE: AN ANALYSIS OF THE DISPARITY AMONG EAST AND WEST GERMAN SOCCER TEAMS AND PLAYERS FOLLOWING UNIFICATION
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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Support of a soccer club has become a cultural cornerstone for a significant portion of European society, yet a major portion of the German population has been denied this opportunity to root for a home team or even a local player. The cultural significance of soccer in the region may also have helped fuel societal divisions that extend beyond the boundaries of the soccer pitch, such that the absence of representation may have played at least a small role in the unhappiness with the current political and cultural environment in the former GDR. If those in the East feel that their identity was compromised after unification, and it seems likely that on the soccer pitch it was, it may have played some part in the return of identity politics and the populist nationalist sentiments there. As the security situation in Europe today continues to become more concerning, the lessons of 1789, 1848, and 1932 warrant the resolution of any issue that could even be loosely connected to the explosion of nationalism—and other divisive particularisms—in the region.
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