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English, Sport

Nationalism and Sports Essay


Nationalism and sports twisted in a way that both provides a symbolic competition among different nations. The national conflicts are mostly reflected through the sports matches. Sometimes sports also use as a vibrant tool of diplomacy. However, contrary to the basic rules of games, which carried out to please the participants, the involvement of political motives in the sports are the matter of routine activity. The influence of political and nationalistic ideologies in sports is present throughout the history of games. The same is happening in the current postmodern world. For example, the English newspaper of UK the Guardian has written about the winning of Iceland football team euro in two thousand sixteen that what is the fantasy of the adventure, which has captured the nation and it is turning into a nationwide romance. This shows how sports have brought people from one country together and provide the platform for joy, love and pride. With this example of the football match, we have an idea that how identities of nations form from the individuals, nationals, and global interactions. Events like Olympics and world cups provided a blunt picture of national race, characters and strict competitions. The postmodern era of power has also influenced sports in various ways and change the simple concept of games that was just to entertain and enjoy.


Generating the national ethos or pride from the sports is a standard tool among the member of various nations. People in general also get pride when their team win over the players of other countries. The waving the flag and listening to the national anthems are essential activities in the present day sports activity. It is a critical tool in convening an indirect message to the confronted nation. Using the actions of fans at ceremonies after the conclusion of the match policymakers try to influence the people of other countries. The free version of sports activities has developed a sense of fear among political analysts that the ground for the match might become the stage of political debate (Bairner, 2001). Regardless of the bright dresses and showings of individuals in sports events with their background symbols, there is the close link between nationalism and the sports. Like in the history of Ireland Gaelic sports are significantly taken up in an over nationalistic tone. Those people have banned from sports activity if the individual seen by the authorities as playing with the association football, rugby, cricket or game that belongs to the origin of British. Contrary to the rugby and soccer, the fascist nationals of the Italian state have developed their game and named as volata. The step was taken against the replacement of favourite games that were of British origin. The citizens of Italian link their newly grown match with the historical perspective and games played before for cultural safety.

In Scotland, the derby firm, which was featuring the Celtic, has linked the game historically with the Catholic community and rangers lined with the Protestant population. They also have seen trends along with religious and political lines. The policy of the Spanish team of football in the picking of Basque players was highly linked with the nationalism of Basque. Similarly, the FC Barcelona is promoting their youth in a series of Catalan players such as Carlos and Xavi. The club is widely seen as the de facto representatives of Catalonia. The same case happens in Canada where old and successful players of hockey team the Montreal Canadians are always symbolising as francophone. The period of seventy-five to nineteen ninety-five political influence of games was enormous between the Nordiques and Quebec City. Different units and group still influence the ideas of players playing from different teams. Political and religious thoughts are incorporated along with the enjoyment that the participant of any match have, providing ways to the strong relation of nationalism and sports.

The concept of the nationalism commonly used to grasp the ideologies and the collective experiences of the nation. The phenomena of the national identity also reflect the same, which is also propounded by the various theorist. The categorisation where we provide detail about different symbols, as assigned to them, are the requirements mostly associated with the concept of the ideology of nations. The sports base national narratives are commonly produced through the conversation, imposition and incentives of the precipitate mechanism. The general discourse on the nationalism reveals that how sports take on the ritual forms might influence the national feelings and the sentiments (Bairner, 2008). Games are now in the modern society became a central symbol of the nationalistic views, and it is activating the identity stories about the members of the state. The national pride coming from sports is one way to look at the outcomes of such processes. Being proud of the success of our athletes, we are mostly convinced that we are best at football in an attractive way, is a feeling of all about banal nationalism.

Those individuals with their strong national sentiment also proud of the success of their athletes. Sports nationalism might depend on the factor of affection with the sports. Despite not showing their strong feeling for the nation, some are the people, which feel national proud on their players. Smith and Calhoun pointed out that nationalism is placed under the thick layers of culture and among this relationship between religion and the conscious national patriotism can be very close. Religion is close in connection with nationalistic ideas, as it was linked to the ritual practices, places and the people with the flavour of the nation. The comparative research concluded that culture has primary relation with cognition of individual. Educated class of the society have the better understanding of the otherness. They can quickly adjust to the cosmopolitan atmosphere with the image that they are part of the larger social group. People with the higher education are lesser proud of their nationalistic sports than those people who have less knowledge. Material resources also influence the ideology of nationalism because people with high finances feel secured than that of those having minor investments. However, people with increased income should be less nationalistic than others who have low income. In the same way, gender also plays the significant role about the relation of sports and political ideology.

The result of gender involvement in sports nationalism is because males are more prone to the sports and playing, while females are less interested in games. Similarly, older or mature people are more nationalistic than the younger generation. Older people have experience sports and other events like politics and wars while young class have public attitude due to interaction and education. However, direct participation in the sports events and related physical activity might increase the sports nationalism for every age of the person. There are several national characteristics, which overwhelm the concept of sports nationalism. Some of these characteristics have distinguished the national experience, which fosters them towards nationalism. National prosperity, democratic values and political and cultural phenomena are the structural factors leading to the sports nationalism. Income of the individual, education and cultural globalisation of country also featured the nationalistic ideas (Wong, 2008). The meaning of cultural internationalisation included the information availed by people, expansion of views, more cosmopolitan citizens with education.

The contexts like east and west also influence the nationalism of sports. The concept of geographically divide is unnecessarily chanted by few who try to change the thoughts of majority people. Differences in industrial, modern industrial and specific sports traditions and various types of cultures also affect the sports nationalism. Studies conducted with the question on multiple citizens that how you feel about the winning of your team at Olympics. Majority of the respondent frequently replied, as they are prideful on the achievement of their team, they will remain proud until the next match between players of their state with the other. The countries of western Europe are less in sports nationalism than United States, New Zealand, and Australia as their level of nationalistic sports ideas is high than other nations of the world. The states of Eastern Europe are above the average ideas of sports patriotism. For example, Czech Republic is lesser in sports nationalism than that of Poland, which has increased the number of patriotic nationalist living over there. Developing states like dominion republic, Philippine and South Africa are sports nationalist countries (Nauright, 2004). Regarding the Asian states, Israel and Japan are below the average while South Korea remains the sport nationalist country. Certain are the factors, which contributed to the sociology of the sports.

The sociologists of the sports understood the phenomena of patriotism with the case-oriented and historical context and failed to note the individual characteristics. It also opens to the interplay among individual and the collective factors. The essential of sports along with other issues like political or nationalist issues indicates the common phenomena. Two question of sports sociologist can shed the lights on the issues that why games are popular in some countries and not in the other states. The answer to these questions is discussed above along with the nature, type, culture and collective approach of the respective countries. Patriotism consists of the positive and negative characteristics.

There are specific pros and cons of nationalism, which influence the people inside and outside of any state. Diversity and separation in today’s culture are so intense that it is difficult to believe that we came from one point in time within the place. Humans created their idea of the cultural divide, which is causing numerous issues around the world. Excessive pride of one country on its values posed a very adverse effect on the people of another state. Nowadays nationalism gains to the height of popularity and the results are before us. Nationalism has created a competition among different countries, which could lead to the war. In this, nuclearise world these ideas are not suitable as the small mistake by one nation could result in the vanishing millions of people (Persson, 2014). We have experienced World War I, which was based on the nationalistic ideas. European people had a lot of pride, over the honesty they believed was not there in the world. These thoughts convince them that other nations might be plotting and threatening their region. More substantial amount of the people were affected by the war along with those statements that enhance nationalism in their countries. How can nationalistic power overwhelm the people to go to such an extent that killed eight million people along with around thirty-seven million causalities? Nazism was a movement consisted of primarily nationalistic ideas wherein Hitler pride and the love for Germany upraise people to move for the control of other nations. An educator, Carton Hayes define nationalism as the pure state of mind with the modern emotional fusion of the old phenomena the patriotism.

The increased amount of the nationalistic views may result in damaging the broader human community of this mortal world. Pride in the people of any state is essential, but excessive pride is poison for all. History reveals that divide and confrontation happened all around when approaches like the immense pride of individual states reach its height. African American confrontation is widely discussed in the literature, and it shows that how African have faced severe healings, which are now stuck in their mind against the civilised western states. In the same way, colonial countries colonised by the British are having the profoundly negative feeling after they got independence from the rule of the west (Billings, 2011). The more significant international role, cultural revival, national pride, personal and societal fulfilment, and political influence are the positives of nationalism. They also include the prosperity in economics over other weaker nations. A sense of reliable and robust state also sustain the value and sovereignty of the country for those possessed with the ideas of nationalism. Attention and importance in the world can also maintain by nationalistic approaches as the state of North Korea is doing with other countries especially the United States. If we claim that English nationalism is positive, other states will ultimately react, because their views of nationalism are also excellent. So again, a kind of confrontation will create among the nations.


To sum up the discussion, it is essential to understand the collaboration between sports and nationalism. To combine both, it will become a political ideology. Games will not remain as just enjoying, entertaining or beautiful event for the people instead of a stage for the conversion of political and nationalistic ideologies. History until the present time has revealed all the negatives about the nationalism in the shape of wars, blood and mass killing of super creatures of the world. In the positives of national pride, there is always the presence of negativity. The vibrant concept of equality for the humans besides their creed, race and culture must spread and gain the value all across the world. The only option left for the postmodern nuclearized world to save the diminishing human costs.


Bairner, A., 2001. Sport, nationalism, and globalisation: European and North American perspectives. Suny Press.

Bairner, A., 2008. Sport, nationalism and globalisation: Relevance, impact, consequences. Hitotsubashi journal of arts and sciences49(1), pp.43-53.

Billings, A.C., Angelini, J.R. and Wu, D., 2011. Nationalistic notions of the superpowers: Comparative analyses of the American and Chinese telecasts in the 2008 Beijing Olympiad. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media55(2), pp.251-266.

Nauright, J., 2004. Global games: culture, political economy and sport in the globalised world of the 21st century. Third World Quarterly25(7), pp.1325-1336.

Persson, E. and Petersson, B., 2014. Political mythmaking and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi: Olympism and the Russian great power myth. East European Politics30(2), pp.192-209.

Wong, L.L. and Trumper, R., 2002. Global celebrity athletes and nationalism: Fútbol, hockey, and the representation of the nation. Journal of Sport and Social Issues26(2), pp.168-194.



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