Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism [NOOK Book]

Overview

Soccer is the world's favorite pastime, a passion for billions around the globe. In the United States, however, the sport is a distant also-ran behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Why is America an exception? And why, despite America's leading role in popular culture, does most of the world ignore American sports in return? Offside is the first book to explain these peculiarities, taking us on a thoughtful and engaging tour of America's sports culture and connecting it with other fundamental ...

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Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism

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Overview

Soccer is the world's favorite pastime, a passion for billions around the globe. In the United States, however, the sport is a distant also-ran behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Why is America an exception? And why, despite America's leading role in popular culture, does most of the world ignore American sports in return? Offside is the first book to explain these peculiarities, taking us on a thoughtful and engaging tour of America's sports culture and connecting it with other fundamental American exceptionalisms. In so doing, it offers a comparative analysis of sports cultures in the industrial societies of North America and Europe.

The authors argue that when sports culture developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nativism and nationalism were shaping a distinctly American self-image that clashed with the non-American sport of soccer. Baseball and football crowded out the game. Then poor leadership, among other factors, prevented soccer from competing with basketball and hockey as they grew. By the 1920s, the United States was contentedly isolated from what was fast becoming an international obsession.

The book compares soccer's American history to that of the major sports that did catch on. It covers recent developments, including the hoopla surrounding the 1994 soccer World Cup in America, the creation of yet another professional soccer league, and American women's global preeminence in the sport. It concludes by considering the impact of soccer's growing popularity as a recreation, and what the future of sports culture in the country might say about U.S. exceptionalism in general.

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Editorial Reviews

Steve Dawson
This book contributes to the field of sport sociology by providing critical information about the growth and history of soccer in America. The inclusion of the historical development of major sports and the lack of sport space is crucial to the main argument. The research and sources are appropriate and well presented, and the book is clearly organized and well written.
Contemporary Sociology
Choice
The text is well referenced, historically grounded, and offers excellent insight into US soccer and its past, present, and future potential as a major sport.
Der Standard - Roman Horak
Warmly recommended to all those who want to understand and appreciate . . . popular culture in the United States.
American Journal of Sociology - John Wilson
This is the first adequate sociocultural history of the sport in the United States. . . . Sports sociologists will look to this book for soccer material and also for the author's fresh conceptualization of sports culture. Sociologists with more general interests in culture and institutional analysis might also find it useful and informative as a case study.
From the Publisher
"Warmly recommended to all those who want to understand and appreciate . . . popular culture in the United States."—Roman Horak, Der Standard (Vienna)

"The text is well referenced, historically grounded, and offers excellent insight into US soccer and its past, present, and future potential as a major sport. Highly recommended for both the general population and those interested in sports studies and sociology of sport."Choice

"This is the first adequate sociocultural history of the sport in the United States. . . . Sports sociologists will look to this book for soccer material and also for the author's fresh conceptualization of sports culture. Sociologists with more general interests in culture and institutional analysis might also find it useful and informative as a case study."—John Wilson, American Journal of Sociology

Der Standard
Warmly recommended to all those who want to understand and appreciate . . . popular culture in the United States.
— Roman Horak
Choice
The text is well referenced, historically grounded, and offers excellent insight into US soccer and its past, present, and future potential as a major sport. Highly recommended for both the general population and those interested in sports studies and sociology of sport.
American Journal of Sociology
This is the first adequate sociocultural history of the sport in the United States. . . . Sports sociologists will look to this book for soccer material and also for the author's fresh conceptualization of sports culture. Sociologists with more general interests in culture and institutional analysis might also find it useful and informative as a case study.
— John Wilson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400824182
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/2014
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Core Textbook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Andrei S. Markovits is Professor of Politics in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of numerous books, including "The German Left: Red, Green and Beyond" and "The German Predicament: Memory and Power in the New Europe". Steven L. Hellerman is a sports journalist and a doctoral candidate at Claremont University's School of Politics and Economics.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction 3
One The Argument: Sports As Culture in In ustrial Societies--American Conformities and Exceptions 7
Two The Formation of the American Sport Space: "Crow ing Out" and
Other Factors in the Relegation and Marginalization of Soccer 52
Three Soccer's Trials and Tribulations: Beginnings, Chaos, "Almosts," Obscurity, an Colleges 99
Four The Formation and Rearrangement of the American Sport Space in the Secon Half of the wentieth Century 128
Five From the North American Soccer League to Major League Soccer 162
Six The World Cup in the Unite States 201
Seven The Coverage of World Cup '98 by the American Media and the Tournament's Reception by the American Public 235
Conclusion 264
Appendixes 273
A. A Statistical Abstract on Recreational, Scholastic, and Collegiate Soccer in the United States 275
B. A Sample of Opinion from American Sports Columnists and Journalists regarding the 1994 World Cup 282
Notes 299
Bibliography 341
Index 353
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