Stadiumworlds – Football, Space and the Built Environment

Lecture Series and Edited Book, 2006/2010, with Sybille Frank)

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and it is played in a great variety of places, such as the street, the yard, the lawn, the pitch – and the stadium. While most of these places are a »football space« only as long as it is played there, the football stadium is a building that »embodies« football beyond its immediate performance. The aim of Stadium Worlds was to analyse football as a cultural practice and to investigate the connection between this practice and the built environment, that is, the stadium. To achieve this, we established a double perspective: On the one hand, the stadium was treated as a magnifying glass for general economic, social and cultural developments. Building on Elias Canetti’s notion that stadia are places where architecture and the masses come together in a most intense and ambivalent way, the stadium was, on the other hand, conceptualised as a refuge for social rules of community formation, gender construction and identification that would be unacceptable outside the stadium.

By productively intertwining this double perspective, Stadium Worlds offeres a complex analysis of the interplay of football, its socio-cultural spaces and its built environment using examples from fields of architectural design, media studies, archaeology as also studies of advertising, migration, fandom, local identities, emotions, gender, and the body.

Stadium Worlds started as an interdisciplinary lecture series at the Institute for Sociology, Technical University of Darmstadt, which we held in the summer of 2006 parallel to the men’s World Cup competition. In 2010, we published its outcomes in an edited book called Stadium Worlds – Football, Space and the Built Environment (New York/London: Routledge).

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