Historical Social Research

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Jutta Braun: Football History: A German Perspective on Current Research Fields [Abstract]

In the last 25 years, German football has experienced several turning points. First, the collapse of communism in 1989 rendered necessary a complete reorganisation of the sport and football landscape in eastern Germany. Second, in parallel with the award in the year 2000 of the right to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup in the Federal Republic of Germany, a significant upturn took place in academic research on football. The reappraisal of the National Socialist era, in particular, has experienced a noticeable upswing since the year 2000. The present article focuses on several key thematic areas that shape current research and will shape research in the future. They include, first, the question of the character of the Vereine (here: football clubs) under the conditions of a communist dictatorship, and second, an increased interest in the biographical component of the history of the development of football. At the same time, it is clear that by now the question of a memory culture in football is no longer limited to national perspectives such as the reappraisal of the “Miracle of Bern.” Rather, the dynamic development of European football renders possible the emergence of European realms of shared memory. At the same time, a boom in public engagement with football history can be observed in Germany and elsewhere. This holds true for both the social commemoration of footballers who were victims of war and tyranny and for popular cultural publications. In recent years, therefore, there has not only been an increase in the “museumisation” but also in the media marketing of football history. Thus, football history itself has become a market that is served by various stakeholders, such as clubs, companies, and the media.

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