Soccer has the unique ability to represent and strengthen different cultural identities and ideologies throughout the world. Perhaps nowhere can this be seen more prominently than in Spain, which has surged to the forefront of the world’s most popular sport. The national team has won the last two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, while the two preeminent club teams in Spain, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, have reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Even before the sport became a global phenomenon, soccer had established a strong connection with Spanish identity and culture.
In Soccer in Spain: Politics, Literature, and Film, Timothy J. Ashton examines the sport’s association with Spanish culture and society. In this volume, Ashton demonstrates how Spain’s soccer clubs reflected the politics of the region they represented and continue to reflect them today. The author also explores the often-tenuous relationship between the intellectual classes and the soccer community in Spain. Although some of the country’s most highly-praised literary figures had a passion for soccerwhich was often reflected in their workmany intellectuals deemed the topic unsuitable for critical study. Ashton also discusses how soccer films faced a similar rebuff from Spanish intellectuals, though the popularity of these films has grown in recent years.
As soccer continues to be one of the modern world’s most significant representations of globalization, its importance as a cultural touchpoint cannot be ignored. For anyone wanting to learn more about the relationship between soccer, politics, and popular culture, this volume offers critical insights. Soccer in Spain is a valuable read for students and scholars of Spanish political history, literature, film, and sport.
About the Author
Timothy J. Ashton is assistant professor of Spanish literatures and cultures at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
Table of Contents
I Tackling Spain's National Identity Crisis 1
1 Background to Spain's State of Autonomies 3
2 Tensions Flair: Spanish Soccer during the Pre-Civil War Period (1900-1936) 9
3 The Struggle to Survive: Spanish Soccer during the Civil War (1936-1939) 21
4 The Opiate of the Masses: Spanish Soccer during the Franco Regime (1939-1975) 25
5 Hoping to Bury the Hatchet: Spanish Soccer during the Transition (1975-2000) 39
6 A New Day Dawns: Spanish Soccer Moves into the Twenty-First Century 53
II The Phenomenon of Spanish "Kick-Lit" 61
7 The Ball Begins to Roll: The Early Years of Spain's "Kick-Lit" Phenomenon 73
8 David Trueba's Knowing How to Lose 85
9 Soccer Stories 95
10 Soccer Stories 2 123
III The Phenomenon of Spanish "Kick-Flicks" 165
11 The Early Years: Blonde Dart 171
12 The Goalkeeper 183
13 Days of Soccer 189
14 The World's Longest Penalty Kick 195
About the Author 219