Historical Social Research

31.1 - Football History

HSR Vol. 31 (2006) No. 1: Special Issue: Football History

Christiane Eisenberg & Pierre Lanfranchi (Hrsg.): Football History: International Perspectives

Most researchers who turned to football history from the 1990s onwards were social historians, but a minority also came from neighbouring disciplines like sociology, anthropology and politics. The questions they were asking were firstly, who played football, when and why? What were the degrees of success and failure, the consequences and by-products? What were the specific developments in individual countries? And finally, following the trends towards cultural history at the time, how did sport contribute to the development of a “national identity”? At the centre of their interest was, however, the development of football in the individual nations.

The essays in this volume build on research to date. They are also a conscious attempt to set new accents in two particular ways. First the authors regard the international, global dimension of football as a constitutive element of the game. For this reason they have deliberately devoted their attention to analysing its transnational relationships. The second accent adopted by all the authors in this volume is both an inevitable and a fruitful by-product of international and transnational perspectives. Local, regional and national developments in football history have been observed “from above”. Looking at the subject from a distance has enabled the authors to cast light on their findings in a way which would have been impossible by using more conventional approaches.