Call for Book Chapter Proposals: World Cup! History, Politics, and Art of the Beautiful Game
Vernon Press invites book chapter proposals to be included in a forthcoming scholarly volume on “World Cup! History, Politics, and Art of the Beautiful Game”, edited by Daniel Noemi Voionmaa.
Soccer functions as a mirror and mask of a society, as Argentine anthropologist Eduardo Archetti wrote. National and local identities are defined, often problematically, by the way their teams play: Gilberto Freyre, for example, wrote that Brazilians transformed a “British and Apollonian” game into a “Dionysian dance.” The game produces a plethora of economic and cultural artifacts: from jerseys and player cards to poems, tv shows, novels, poems, chronicles and films. In social and political terms, it has been called an ‘opiate of the masses’ and considered a realm of political resistance: players and coaches become heroes, villains, (fallen) idols, stars and politicians; loved and revered, hated and loathed.
In 2026, Canada, Mexico, and the US will host the Men’s Soccer World Cup. This event is probably the one that attracts more people worldwide, and it is watched by billions around the globe. As it is well known, the conjunction of business, politics, and sports is surrounded by controversy (as the last World Cup in Qatar shows). However, there is still a remarkable and rather surprising scarcity of academic scholarship dealing with those issues surrounding the World Cups; in particular, the study of literary and artistic representations of the World Cup is almost inexistent. This is even more striking if we think of the relevance that the World Cups have for both the host countries and the countries of the participating squads. For the host country, the World Cup is a unique opportunity to show to the world who they are –not only as a touristic strategy, but also with a wider and deeper perspective that attempts to provide, at times, a radical different view of the nation (as it was the debated case of Qatar). In most cases, this is unmistakably linked to the discussion about national identity (another contentious topic, that has been vastly studied by the social sciences in other contexts). Works of art and literature have played a fundamental critical role in that discussion; but, again remarkably, there is almost no research linking the artistic and literary artifacts produced for and about the World Cups.
Taking these basic ideas as our starting point, we invite submissions that discuss the Soccer “World Cups” as a historical, political, and aesthetic unit of analysis. How do World Cups shape a certain sense of national identity; how it is used for political purposes (as a state machine as well as resistance); what kind of artistic production surrounds them and what are their intended and non-intended meanings (from songs to advertisements to posters and poems, etc.); how are class, race, and gender relevant (or not) in all these processes.
Comparative analyses between World Cups, and studies of one World Cup are welcome. Some of the possible themes are: