Nation, State and Football: The Korean Case

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The two states that were created with the split of the Korean nation have been vying with each other over legitimacy and supremacy for most part of their postcolonial history. This essay explores the relations between the two nationalisms and football – a game that is highly popular at, and particularly appreciated by, each of the sister-adversaries. As demonstrated, on the one hand Korean football remains a popular political tool for displaying and bolstering particular nationalist and patriotic agendas, while on the other hand it serves at times as an arena for bringing, or perhaps symbolically keeping, the two Koreas together through a nationalist display of a one-ethnic Korea. Thus Korean football encapsulates the tragedy of a divided nation which has unclear prospects for unification; yet at the same time it helps keep alive the hope for a smoother rapprochement in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


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