Thursday, August 1, 2013

Final Paper - Sports and Racism: A Comparative Study of Discrimination in Spanish and German Football

Below is my final research paper. It is composed of research done while studying in Germany and Spain, and in short, analyzes racism in soccer in these two countries and the effect that recent economic struggle has had on it. 

Sports and Racism: A Comparative Study of Discrimination in Spanish and German Football

1.      Abstract
The Eurozone Crisis has prompted various types of protest within the European community. One of the most widespread and innovative is the use of artistic media. The papers in the Art and Performance group explore how new trends in art were born and how they have influenced the youth affected by the crisis. Specifically, the papers will discuss these themes within music, graffiti art, film and soccer. These trends have been shaped and developed by the history of Germany and Spain. Our research explores how artists and athletes are expressing their views through their work, how it is being interpreted by the general public and how it is affecting sentiments within communities. The focus will be on immigration, unemployment, and the recent economic crisis and how these factors have created tension within youth culture in the United States, Spain and Germany. The relationship between art, globalization and integration will be discussed. This project was conducted in the cities of Berlin, Leon, and Madrid: three cities rich with history, but also with modern movements catalyzed by the need for social change.
This paper specifically will have a slightly different focus from the others in the Arts and Performance group.This study looks at how fans are expressing their opinions on race and immigration at soccer games and how the athletes and the governing bodies of soccer are reacting to the fans’ behavior.
2.      Question
How has the recent economic crisis affected both the amount and severity of anti-immigrant and racist displays in German and Spanish soccer?
3.      Background
Sports are embedded in culture, and when culture is affected by economic and political crises, the role of sports changes as well. Sports are popular throughout all classes of society and have the power to both create rivalries between people of different regions and make complete strangers friends. When trying to narrow down the subject of my research from the broad theme of social activism in sports, it became apparent that racism is still a massive issue in the world of soccer. Since the days of Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, race has been a controversial aspect of sports. Although today it plays a much more subtle role (for instance, there are no segregated leagues), it is still very much a matter of concern. This past year Kevin-Prince Boateng, a Ghanaian international player on AC Milan, walked off the field in the middle of a match because he refused to tolerate severe racial abuse from a section of fans. He later claimed he would do this anytime he felt that there was inadequate disciplinary action taken, and several other players, including Mario Baotelli, echoed this opinion (“Boateng Makes…”). Race-related incidents have been happening at an alarming frequency in the past few years, and in order to begin to understand why, we must first look at several important social theories.
The most relevant theoretical concept to racism in sports is called Critical Race Theory, or CRT. A brief definition of CRT is that it is a framework “from which to explore and examine the racism in society that privileges whiteness as it disadvantages others because of their ‘blackness’” (Hylton 6). What CRT boils down to is the concept that racism must be viewed as a bigger picture rather than just a string of isolated incidents. CRT states that to understand the reasoning behind specific incidents, it is vital to look at the issues causing racism and how prejudice is embedded in society. “Centering of ‘race’ and racism in our analyses of sport should engage a thoughtful consideration of racial processes that explore and examine further, past and present processes and practices in sport that are neither inevitable nor accidental. Rather, they can be seen as part of a cycle of activity…” (8). Critical Race Theory moves from single-issue debates to a much more comprehensive theoretical approach that covers bigger issues of race. Thus, it is relevant to understand a few other race related concepts. Racism is born out of fear of both the other and the unknown. In times of economic crisis and political malaise, people are unhappy with the current government and there is an increase of extreme beliefs. A rise in popularity of more radical political parties and opinions usually correlates to stronger anti-immigrant sentiment (Bruckner).
Another important thing to know about the history of racism in soccer specifically is the rise of soccer “hooligans” in the tail end of the twentieth century. These were extremely loyal and passionate fans who were primarily found in Northern and Eastern Europe. They were known for their love of their teams, public violence and alcohol consumption. The primary difference between German and Spanish hooligans was the reason behind their violence. The German hooligans were known as neo-Nazis and nationalists, while the Spanish hooligans were spurred on by a hatred of those with opposing political beliefs (“Another Sorry…”). All hooligans were, for the most part, very outwardly racist and caused a lot of public damage, so FIFA (the main institution in world soccer) had to take action. On July 7th, 2001 the Extraordinary Congress of FIFA met at the FIFA Conference against racism in Buenos Aires. They created what was at the time the largest anti-discrimination initiative in the history of the sport and which was the beginning of the modern fight against racism in soccer. Some examples of the many new policies were for referees to be more vigilant in regards to racial abuse from fans, players and coaches, for coaches to be stricter against racist players, and for everyone in the world soccer community to “combat effectively and conclusively all manifestations of racism within the game” (“Extraordinary FIFA…”). However, these guidelines were all relatively vague and it was very difficult to punish players or organizations that didn’t adhere to them. The years following saw a few promising revisions and additions to the act, but all forms of punishment have remained relatively ineffective.
4.      Research Methods
While doing my research there were two primary ways in which I collected information. The first was through reading secondary sources directly related to my topic. There has been past research on racism in soccer, and these previous studies gave me context and helped me understand some of the bigger issues at play. Because there had already been information gathered about racism in sports, I was able to see the effects that the recent Eurozone crisis has had on sports and discrimination. This was also extremely important for me when doing research on recent public displays of racism at soccer games in Germany and Spain. For example, through reading online, I was granted access to stories about incidents in parts of the country we did not travel to, such as Dortmund and their struggles with neo-Nazis.
Interviews and meetings were the second part of my research process. What I was unable to find on the internet, and what is impossible to capture in any article are all the stories which people have from their own experiences. Almost anyone whom I met or approached on the street could speak, at least very briefly, about their opinions and experiences on my topic and this is definitely one of the strengths of this type of research. This system of gathering information was most effective for me in Germany, where most of the population spoke English at least to some degree. This is not to say that it was ineffective in Spain, but unfortunately the general population (or at least the people I approached in Leon) spoke worse English than people in Germany. I was one of the few people on our trip who spoke almost no Spanish and this was clearly problematic. I had a few formal interviews and these were perhaps the most helpful. When I was able to talk with the subjects at length it became more of a discourse than an interview. For example in Germany as a group we visited the soccer club Türkiyemspor. They are a low-level German soccer team and have a reputation of being mostly Turkish immigrants. They face a great deal of adversity, especially when they travel to Eastern Germany, and when I was able to talk with a representative one on one afterwards, he gave me a great deal of information about the club’s struggles. These were extremely relevant to my topic and something that I would not have been able to read about on the internet. An example of a less organized interview happened in Spain, when we were asked to talk to three random people who met certain characteristics. I asked a younger teen (around age 16) who was practicing shooting on a goal in a park about his experiences with racism, and this was also very informational in a different way. He was able to give me his ideas about my topic and gave what he surmised was the opinion of most kids in the region. I also ascertained a lot of information from our guest lecturers. They were all very well educated and, even though some talks were much more helpful to me than others, most gave me things to research and look into.
            My interviews and secondary research come together to paint a picture about what is happening in European soccer. They combine to create an, albeit small and incomplete, narrative about how the recent global crisis has influenced discrimination in Spanish and German soccer. The problem with doing a paper solely based upon interviews and secondary sources is that my research fails to tell the whole story. Being here for only five weeks is not enough time to fully answer my question, and thus more research is needed to adequately represent the situation. The problems with my research lie in the sample I took. One of the issues with my sample is that it is very small, and thus potentially not entirely representative. I was only able to talk to a handful of people, and these people could have very different opinions and stories than others. The other problem with the sample lies in the selection. While in Germany we were only in one city and while in Spain we only visited two. There might be regions of the countries with different opinions that are not represented in my research. I also only talked with people who spoke English, people who had the time to talk to me, and people who looked approachable. This again might exclude a number of people and means that my sample is not necessarily indicative of the population as a whole.
5.      Findings
It was apparent from the first few days in Berlin that neo-Nazism and fascism was a rising issue in Germany. Even in my initial conversations about my (at the time still vague) project with professors at Humbolt University, it was evident that nationalist sentiments were gaining popularity and being expressed at soccer games. This point was again clear when we took a tour of the Bundestag and Reichstag, two of the main meeting places of the German government. When there, we were able to see the agenda of the next day’s session and one of the main things they were scheduled to talk about was the banning of the NPD, or the National Democratic Party of Germany. The NPD is on the far right of the political spectrum, and has been “widely accused of being racist, anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner; it's said to want to overthrow the German constitution” (Bleiker). Since the Eurozone crisis the NPD had gathered enough votes in certain eastern and northern regions to gain seats in local parliaments. The reasons behind banning the party are that their doctrine goes against the German constitution and that followers of the party are responsible for around a thousand anti-immigrant and racist acts of violence and abuse in the past year alone (Bleiker), many of which occurred at or following soccer games.
One club soccer team who has seen an increase in racism since the beginning of the recent global recession is Borrusia Dortmund. They have been one of the most successful club teams of late, which is shown by their appearance in the finals of the most prestigious European club tournament. Despite their successes on the field, they are dealing with a huge problem: the amount of anti-immigrant attacks and abuse from their neo-Nazi fans. Dortmund has long been an attractive destination for a great number of immigrants, but recently the city has become the hub of neo-Nazism in West Germany. Some far-right extremists have recruited some of the club’s most passionate fans to sympathize with them, and this has led to an increase in violent attacks and behavior at matches. The club has a zero-tolerance policy for violent and hurtful public displays of racism, and at each game they use social workers to defuse any tensions and kick out those who instigate abuse. This was moderately effective until recently, when two workers were badly beaten in separate incidents (“Dortmund Deals…”). One of the men was Thilo Danielsmeyer, the head of The Dortmund Fan Project. The goal of this group is to promote tolerance while chastising xenophobic actions. Lately, more youth members who are unemployed have left the group and began to sympathize with the message of the NPD and other such parties. This trend of young people sympathizing with extremists is to be expected when there is higher youth unemployment. The recently unemployed youth have expressed their frustrations through racism and rioting, where in one incident alone, over 180 arrests were made and eleven people (including eight police officers) were severely injured. The unhappy youth are being supported and urged on by the older generation who were responsible for the rise of soccer hooliganism (“Dortmund Deals…). Many people from this older generation of hooligans are banned from attending all higher level German football competitions. However, they still make their presence and opinions known at lower level games, and this was clearly evident in my conversations with the members of the soccer club Türkiyemspor.
 Türkiyemspor is a soccer organization based in Berlin that is currently playing in the Capital League, one of the lower levels of German club soccer. The organization is close to thirty years old, and has strong roots and connections to Turkey. The founding members were all Turkish migrants, and even though today the team is far from exclusively Turkish, they have a reputation of being an immigrant based club. This has been one of the strongest aspects of the club’s identity and they have been known as a “motor of integration” for both immigrants and women ("Türkiyemspor”). Türkiyemspor is the only migrant based club to have both a women’s’ team and a girls’ team. They are located in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin, which is known for being a primarily Turkish area, and have been a symbol of successful migration in West Berlin ("Türkiyemspor”). However, when we met with a representative from the team (who will be referred to as “Alex”), it was apparent that the club has fallen on hard times and that very little is being done to aid them.
Alex informed us about the struggle that migrant teams in lower level leagues are going through in Berlin, saying that teams such as Türkiyemspor are given no help from the league or the city. This has led to extremely poor infrastructure for these teams and many of the clubs do not have their own fields. They are forced to practice on public spaces while primarily German teams are given their own pitches. This means that teams such as Türkiyemspor are forced to travel to other parts of the city and country to play matches, which has led to many stories of racial discrimination. Alex could have recounted thousands of stories of how the team and its players were persecuted, but he instead told some of the most egregious displays of anti-immigrant sentiments he encountered. In 2010 the club travelled east to play a game which around thirty or forty people who called themselves the “NSboiz” (which they claim stands for “New Society” but is much more likely a reference to National Socialism) attended. These people were all wearing shirts that displayed the name of a very racist song by a band whose singer is a known and currently incarcerated neo-Nazi. They spent the game singing the song and chanting for the team to leave and go back to where they came from. Another time, they were playing a game in eastern Germany and there was a large banner in the stands that read “we will eat brats instead of doner”, which is clearly nationalist and anti-Turk as doner is a traditional Turkish fast food.  On another occasion, a player on Türkiyemspor was fouled, and instead of issuing a penalty the referee told the player to get up and called him a “lazy Turk”. This is particularly alarming and disheartening because the referees are usually the ones expected to stop and control abuse and discrimination. These are just some of the bigger examples they experienced; there were countless times in which smaller incidents of discrimination happened, such as someone throwing rocks at players and at their bus. Alex said that the club can usually tell which games will be trouble, and they can invite a neutral observer from the league who can testify to the abuse and hand out fines. For the most part these fines are ineffective and don’t amount to anything more than a slap on the wrist for clubs. Alex stated that the number of incidents and outwards acts of hostility have definitely gone up in the past few years. This is interesting to see that, even though Germany has been doing remarkably since the Eurozone crisis, the unemployed youth are still making their extreme and racist opinons heard publically. Alex believes that this is not a problem particular to eastern Germany, instead, claiming that racism and discrimination are global issues that only manifest in soccer because it is a microcosm of the world we live in (“Struggles of…”).
I also met and talked with Pauline who is a member of Türkiyemspor’s girls’ youth team. She is seventeen years old and has only played soccer for around six years, but she was still able to tell me stories of discrimination that both she and other youth teams faced. Pauline said that all the members of her team are frequently referred to as “Aisha”, which is one of the most common Turkish names. Another incident she informed me of occurred after the U19 men’s team won an important game in hostile territory. When they were showering after the game, the water shut off abruptly in their locker room while the same did not happen for the home team (Pauline). Even though it was supposedly a mistake, it was clearly intentional and a sad example of how discrimination has permeated the youth level soccer in Germany. She said that, according to older people on the team, this has only become a serious problem recently. This is again surprising because of Germany’s financial successes, and is indicative of the effect that the Eurozone crisis has had on racism and prejudice in soccer.
My experience in Spain told a different story. While doing searches on the internet for Spanish discrimination and racism the results were different than when I was searching for Germany. There were a few headlines and stories of racial abuse in Spain, such as Samuel Eto’o (a famous Cameroonian international player) who almost walked off the pitch due to abuse from fans in Zaragoza (Hughes). However, that incident was in 2006, and since then there have been very few published stories of racial or anti-immigrant abuse from fans. I expected that upon getting to Spain and actually talking with people, I would uncover a hidden narrative of discrimination that is just not talked about publically or given media attention. This was not the case. All of the people whom I talked with said that the general sentiment among Spaniards is that racism is not an issue, and no one was concerned about it. A clear example of this was when a Spanish teenager whom I talked to in a park said that “No, I have not seen racism, it does not really happen here” (Anonymous Teenager). Another example of such testimony is from Isaac Asare, a Ghanaian football player, who has played professionally in Spain for the last few years and is currently playing for Spanish club team Rayo Vallecano. When he was asked about his experiences with racism in Spain during an interview, he responded “Racism? I haven’t experienced it” (Asante). This is surprising considering Spain’s youth unemployment is dangerously high (over 50% as of this year), and one would expect this to lead to a rise in violence and anti-immigrant displays.
Personally, I have deep connections to both the United States (where I grew up) and Poland (where my family is) and I could not help but compare my results to these countries. Soccer is much less popular in the United States, but nonetheless race still is an issue in American sports culture. In American football, a white wide receiver recently came under fire for using the n-word to describe his teammate’s brother (Corbett). But as a whole, America appears to be like Spain in that there is no long standing narrative of abuse from fans or other players. Poland, on the other hand, is known for being one of the primary offenders of racism in soccer. They have a long standing history of hooligans, and they drew flack in 2012 for racist displays from fans during a very important international tournament in their country, the Euro Cup (Karon). In this regard they are very much like Germany, which is to be expected as the problem of racism is very much embedded in northern and eastern European sports culture.
6.      Conclusion
My research suggests that the recent European economic struggle has increased the amount of discrimination and anti-immigrant displays in German soccer. From talking with representatives from Türkiyemspor’s club and youth teams, it is clear that racism is prevalent in all levels of competition and that there has been little done by organizations and the league to minimize it. According to Critical Race Theory, this is to be expected: “racism occurs at every level of sport ranging from innocuous exclusions at local clubs to discrimination in sports policy and practice and racist behavior in the stands” (Hylton 10). It was also disheartening to hear how little the league was doing to lessen racism and punish those who instigate public displays of racism. The soccer leagues in Germany dole out small fines which are little more than slaps on the wrist and do little to actually discipline clubs or players. This too can be explained by CRT: “When institutions like sport become complicit in institutionalized racist acts, it no longer takes the eorts of rogue actors or right-wing organizations when racism is intentionally or unwittingly perpetuated” (Hylton 3). Despite these explanations, it was still surprising to see that this was true in Germany, where youth unemployment is phenomenally low.
What is almost equally surprising is that the same conclusion cannot be researched about Spain. Since the Eurozone crisis, there has been a lack of a surge in racism and discrimination in Spanish soccer, and as a whole the amount of anti-immigrants displays do not appear to have been increased by the recent economic downturn. This is peculiar and not something that I was not expecting to find. With Spain’s youth unemployment shockingly high, one would assume that this would lead to an increase in extremism in soccer. Racism in soccer appeared to be a global issue, or at least one common to all major European soccer countries (e.g. France, England, Poland, Italy). This begs the question: why is Spain different? Is it the case that they are the outlier, that they are the shining example of a more tolerant sports culture? Perhaps, but I believe there are other elements at play. Finding a reason behind the lack of racism in Spanish soccer would be the primary focus of my future research. It is very likely that there are several contributing factors, and my research has led me to a few preliminary theories that would merit future exploration.
One possible explanation is that Spanish people might not necessarily view something as racist, even though it is clearly is. An example of this happened in 2008 when a group of fans covered themselves in black paint and shouted racist slogans at a British-African Formula One driver during a race. They claimed that it was just meant to distract the driver, and was in no way meant to be racist. Some claim that this is a much more common and larger problem, and as a whole “The Spanish don't want to recognize this behavior as racist, but that is exactly what it is” (Hamilos). When it comes to analyzing the number of race based crimes in Spain, there are conflicting reports. The government claims that the total number is very small and “lower than in the UK, France, or Germany” but other independent agencies claim “that there are 4,000 hate crimes each year in Spain” (Hamilos). Critical Race Theorists would explain this by saying that the fact that Spanish people do not see discriminatory actions as racist is indicative of a deeper cultural problem which shows the level of prejudice is embedded deep in society and is closely tied to its past. One possible explanation is that under Franco there were relatively few immigrants to Spain, which has led to an entire generation of people who are not familiar with how to interact with people of other races.
Another possible reason behind this contrast is the changing role of globalization and difference in immigrant culture in Spain and Germany. During the early 2000’s, while Spain’s economy was booming and there was an abundance of jobs, immigrants were flocking to Spain. Now the opposite is true. “Not only are immigrants returning home; many Spaniards are also leaving to look for work abroad” (Ortiz). One of the primary places immigrants are going is Germany, where there are many citizens who are losing business and jobs to these immigrants. This, coupled with a lack of proper immigrant integration could help explain why there are more anti-immigrant outbursts in Germany. The opposite is true for Spain: the lack of recent immigrants has led to fewer public acts of nationalism. With regards to Spanish soccer, there are also much fewer immigrant players than in most countries. Many club teams such as Barcelona and Atelitc Bilbao pride themselves on growing talent from their Spanish youth programs, and rarely spend a lot of money on foreign talent. Spain’s national team is composed of strictly people who are of solely Spanish descent, while Germany has many people who are, for example, half German and half Turkish (Karon). The recent change in flow of immigration coupled with a lack of foreign-born players in the Spanish soccer system might contribute to the lack of nationalist displays of violence at soccer games.
A last potential factor (one that is worthy of its own paper) could be that Spain has a stronger national identity and a stronger social capital than Germany. Mariann Vaczi argues that after the transition to a post-Franco democratic system, the Spanish national team struggled to unite as one and win on an international stage. The plight of the national team was attributed to “a lack of patriotism on part of players from ethno-regional peripheries” (Vaczi). Sociologist Ramón Llopis Goig cites the era after Franco as the “de-nationalization” of soccer in Spain. He argues this happened because of the “strengthening of national identities through local clubs” (Vaczi). Franco’s dictatorship left Spain fractured, and with a lack of support for the central government, it makes sense that people would be more tied to their regional teams than the national team as a whole. Despite their economic failures, the recent sustained national success of Spanish soccer (winning the last two World Cups and the most recent Euro Cup) is believed to represent how Spain has advanced to become politically and socially united. In theory, this strengthened national identity coupled with a presumed higher social capital (in short, a way of measuring the togetherness and strength of networks in a community) could be what has led to fewer violent displays at soccer games.
Looking into which, if any, of these elements are responsible for the difference in number of anti-immigrant incidents would be a fascinating topic of future research. With that said, the problem of racism still looms over the immediate future of soccer, and without an organized affront to tackle the issue, it will haunt the beautiful game for years to come. Recently there have been pieces of legislation and punishment that are much more effective in combatting racism. UEFA (Union of European Football Associations, another major governing body of soccer) President Michel Platini says that new legislation will allow referees who are made aware of racial abuse to give warnings and even stop the game. He says that the first time this happens, they close the stand in which the abuse is coming from for the rest of the game and remove those who are sitting there from the stadium. If it happens again, there is a 50,000 Euro fine to the club and the entire stadium can be closed indefinitely (Platini). FIFA’s Anti-Racism Task Force chairman, Jeffery Webb, claims that teams who are second offenders for racial abuse are at risk for point deductions, expulsions, or even relegation (Webb). This is very drastic and could really affect a team, such as Italy’s Roma, who are annually major contenders for the league championship and rumored to be eligible for this punishment. Although these punishments are a promising beginning, I believe that in order for racist and anti-immigrant displays to be truly minimized in soccer, even harsher penalties must be enacted. For instance, clubs need to be fined more heavily for having racist fans. After talking with people from Türkiyemspor, it was clear that even fines of 50,000 euros do not really affect a profitable soccer club. I believe that more outreach needs to be done towards youth affected by this economic trouble. In addition, stricter punishments, such as temporary or even lifelong bans, must be doled out more frequently to fans that instigate abuse during games.
7.      References and Bibliography
Anonymous Teenager. Personal interview. 11 July 2013.
"Another Sorry Outbreak of the English Disease." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 17 June 2004. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
Asante, Angela. "I Haven't Experienced Racism in Spain - Nana Asare." Ghanaweb.com. Ghana Web HomePage, 9 Apr. 2013. Web. 24 July 2013.
Bleiker, Carla. "Another Attempt to Ban the Far-right NPD | Germany | DW.DE | 25.04.2013." Dw.de. Deutsche Welle, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 June 2013.
"Boateng Makes Racism Walkout Vow." CNN. Cable News Network, 04 Jan. 2013. Web. 23 July 2013.
Bruckner, Markus, and Hans Peter Gruner. "Economic Growth and the Rise of Political Extremism: Theory and Evidence." University of Mannheim Press (2010): 1-29.
Corbett, Jim. "Riley Cooper Still Earning Eagles' Teammates Trust after Slur." Usatoday.com. USA Today, 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
"Dortmund Deals with Surge in Neo-Nazi Fan Violence." Sportsillustrated.com. Cable News Network, 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 24 July 2013.
"Extraordinary FIFA Congress Ratifies Resolution Against Racism." FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale De Football, 7 July 2001. Web. 23 July 2013.
"FIFA Against Racism: A Decade of Milestones." FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale De Football, 2011. Web. 23 July 2013.
"Germany: When East and West Became One." FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale De Football Association, 22 Nov. 2010. Web. 23 July 2013.
Hamilos, Paul. "Racism, What Racism? Asks Spain." Guardian.co.ul. The Guardian, 8 Feb. 2008. Web. 20 July 2013.
Hughes, Rob. "Racist Spanish Fans Push Eto'o to the Edge." Nytimes.com. New York Times, 26 Feb. 2006. Web. 24 July 2013.
Humlebaek, Carston, and Paloma A. Fernandez. "Collective Memory and National Identity in the Spanish Democracy: The Legacies of Francoism and the Civil War." History and Memory 14 (2002): 121-64. Project Muse. Web. 24 July 2013.
Hylton, Kevin. "Race and Sport: Critical Theory." The Social Issues Collection (2008): 1-19.Routledge. Web. 12 July 2013. 
Karon, Tony. "Euro 2012: Racist Abuse of Dutch Players in Poland." World.time.com. Time Magazine, 08 June 2012. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
Karon, Tony. "Is Spain’s Soccer Following Its Economy Down the Toilet? Don’t Be Daft!" Sports.time.com. Time Magazine, 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 July 2013.
Nyari, Cristian. "The Rise of German Soccer." Nytimes.com. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 23 July 2013.
Ortiz, Fiona. "Spain's Population Falls as Immigrants Flee Crisis." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 22 Apr. 2013. Web. 27 July 2013.
Pauline. Personal interview. 6 July 2013.
Platini, Michel. “Platini outlines UEFA’s racism reforms”. Interviewed by Pedro Pinto. CNN. Cable News Network, 12 June, 2013. Web. 28 June 2013.
Sinnott, John. "For Italy's 'ultras,' Nothing Black and White about Football and Racism." CNN. Cable News Network, 10 June 2013. Web. 23 July 2013.
"Struggles of Türkiyemspor." (Last Name Not Given), Alex. Personal interview. 4 July 2013.
Tremlett, Giles. Ghosts of Spain: Travels through a Country's Hidden past. London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print.
"Türkiyemspor." Türkiyemspor.info. Türkiyemspor Berlin, n.d. Web. 24 July 2013.
Vaczi, Mariann. ""The Spanish Fury": A Political Geography of Soccer in Spain." International Review for the Sociology of Sport (2013): 2-16. SAGE Publications. Web. 22 July 2013.
Webb, Jeffery. “FIFA Pass Racism Reforms”. Interviewed by Pedro Pinto. CNN. Cable News Network, 13, June 2013. Web, 28 June 2013.
8.      Cultural Sensitivity
The main surprise I had while doing this research was not finding a lot of racism in Spanish soccer while finding a great deal of it in German soccer. I was genuinely expecting not to find as much anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany because of their recent economic successes, and was expecting to find more cases of extremism in Spain because of their high youth unemployment (and assumedly high nationalist sentiment). Initially I was a little disappointed by the lack of racism in Spain, but after thinking about the implications of this, I was more curious as to the reason why than upset over a lack of results. After thinking more about my results, I realized the significance of the fact that I was expecting to find racism in Spain and surprised not to find much. This is a testament to the state of racism in soccer today and my own biases that I had going into my project. Another thing which surprised me was how much my research had to do with the themes of the other groups. For example, although my paper was in the “arts and performance” group, I easily could have gone in a slightly different direction and been a part of the identity group. In fact, as all the members of my group solidified what we were focusing on specifically, I realized that my topic did not have that much in common with my colleagues’. This was a bit of a struggle, as I could not ask my group how they were proceeding with every aspect of the project. This struggle was more of a welcome challenged than a roadblock, and instead the primary struggle I had while doing research was the language barrier. I am unable to speak Spanish past “hola” and this was very problematic when trying to interview and communicate with people who did not speak English well.  
This project was of personal interest to me because I am a huge fan of soccer and played it for the majority of my life. I was enthused to be able research the beautiful game and one of the most controversial issues surrounding it. Soccer is without a doubt the most popular sport around the world and it has a universal appeal and connecting power. My findings suggest that racism in soccer is an issue that requires a great deal of effort in order to be fixed. Because of soccer’s international importance, the global community should be aware of exactly how large problem racism is. From this project, I learned how outgoing and productive I can be when I am actually passionate about a research topic. I also learned the benefits of working in a group even if each member is working on their own individual project. Having a group to talk to, get support from, and bounce ideas off of was an invaluable resource for this project. All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and it was fascinating to learn about the different research topics that everyone studied while on this trip. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Berlin Reflection

Being in Spain for the past few days has given me perspective on how to view my time in Germany. I thoroughly enjoyed me time in Berlin, but while there I was a little conflicted. As great as the city was, it was very similar to home. Because of the extensive bombings of the city, it was completely rebuilt and Kreuzberg, the area we were staying in, seemed like a little older, more compact version of the Fremont or Ballard neighborhoods in Seattle. There were definitely noticeable differences: the food was delicious and one could hardly walk a block without crossing a donner kebab stand or a currywurst vendor. The parks there were a little kids dream, and were all fully equipped with toys and ways for kids to relax, such as ping pong tables. The metro punctuated the main part of the city and especially the neighborhood we were in, which was very nice for us to get around to the larger metropolitan area. The cites around the city were amazing, from the old Cathedral in the center of town, to the massive and sprawling flea market that had literally anything and everything you can think of, to the huge, central park-esque tiergarten that was located just next to the impressive Brandenburg Gate. However while in Berlin you could not help but notice that there was a deeper story to the city. There were parts of the wall for sale in most souvenir shops and the remaining erect parts of the wall cut through the heart of the city. There were also museums such as the Palace of Tears that really tell the tale of a divided city and the heartbreak which the barrier brought. But beyond that there was a deeper story, that of the second world war. In the heart of the city there lies a massive and disorienting moment to the Jews slain in the holocaust, and adjacent to that there is a monument to the fallen LGBT people who were prosecuted in the war. The Topography of Terror was a free museum I went to on my own that was extremely moving and showed how the Nazis systematically took power and kept their opposition and those who they viewed as inferior away. Now that I am in Spain I really appreciate certain things about Berlin that at the time I didn't view as remarkable. As a whole, the German populous speaks much better English, and communicating in Spain has been hard as I speak little Spanish. I also appreciate Germany"s culture of both getting up early and staying out late. The climate there was much more agreeable to me, and the metro system there was great, and in Madrid it was confusing and in Leon it is not helpful for us to use it at all as it can not penetrate the narrow streets of the old town. That is not to say that I am unhappy here in Spain; I love the cities and have even grown to like the dry, 100 degree heat, but my time in Germany was inherently a positive one and one that I will fondly remember for the rest of my life.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sachsenhausen Reflection

Today was a particularly moving and emotional day. We went to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which was about an hour outside of Berlin. There we went on a tour of the camp, and we learned about the history of the facility and of the war in general. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of information about the camp and the living condition of different people staying there. The triangular facility was surrounded by thick walls topped with barbed wire and guard outposts. It was really haunting to see the barracks and know that they forced 400 people into the tiny rooms in order to try and break their spirits. Perhaps most awe-inspiring was the site where over 10,000 people were brutally executed. This was such a grave and historically relevant place, and it was shocking to see how little actually remained there other than a patch of rocks. After our tour and after the train ride back into the city I went to the holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin. The purpose of the memorial was to make people feel lost and disoriented, and it did this successfully. It was hard to feel anything other than trapped and confused while walking through the maze of pillars, and the slanted walkways and subtle hills contributed to giving a dizzying feeling. Going to this memorial definitely helped give an interesting end to a memorable and significant day.

Bundestag and Reichstag Reflection

On Tuesday evening we went to the Bundestang and Reichstag, the two main buildings in the German government. It was really interesting to be in the building where most of the major recent German political decisions have been made. There was a point in which we were directly outside of Merkel's office, and it felt weird being close to the place where the German Chancellor spends a great deal of time. This was comparable to being next to the oval office in the White House, which is something that seems hard to do. While there I was comparing touring the German buildings to the touring the buildings of congress in the United States, which is something I have never done but I have meant to. The interior of the building was very new and modern, despite maintaining the old exterior. This exterior had bullet holes in it from when the Soviets stormed and captured the building at the close of the second world war. This was relevant to me because in a video game I played as a child, Call of Duty World at War, I virtually stormed the Reichstag, and never connected that event to actually being in the building until I saw the bullet holes. The glass spiral at the top of the building was also particularly cool, because from it we were able to see the entire city and see that we were really in the heart of it all.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Palace of Tears Reflection

 Today I visited the Palace of Tears, which is the name given to the major check point between East and West Berlin. I knew that it was the sight of many tearful goodbyes. but the awful extremity of this was only made clear after being on the hallowed ground. There were many moving testimonials that told the stories of families and loved ones who were separated by the wall. It was really interesting to hear about how Westerners were forced to smuggle things such as food and magazines over the wall in order to help out the East Berliners. There were times, including a six year period of closure, in which access to the other side of the wall was made completely impossible. This was particularly moving for me because the museum had pictures of the teary reunions that were exacerbated by the wall. The museum now commemorates what used to be the Palace of Tears by showing through pictures, videos, and text how hard it was for those who had reason to cross the border.  It was interesting because it solidified the idea that the East Berliners were trapped in more, than that the two sides were separated. This was made apparent through the testimonials that were on display. Many people were reprimanded and even shot and killed for trying to escape the East. However it seemed as if the exodus was only sided, and few people wanted to go from West to East except to visit family. Being there today was a very emotional and eye opening experience.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Final Project Proposal

Below is my project proposal for the research I will be doing while abroad. The abstract was written collaboratively by the Arts/Performance Group (the others members are CynthiaLynn, and Stephanie) and the rest were written by me and are specific to my topic. 

Project Proposal
1.      Abstract
The Eurozone Crisis has prompted various types of protest within the European community. One of the most widespread and innovative is the use of artistic mediums. Our group is interested in looking at different art forms and how they are embedded in social activism. We want to explore how the new trends in art were born and how they have influenced youth affected by the crisis. Specifically, we want to look into the issues of immigration and unemployment and how this has created tension within youth culture in the United States, Spain and Germany. We are interested in exploring how people are expressing their views through their art and the effect that it is having on others. We are not only interested in learning about the messages that artists are trying to send with their work, but also how it is being interpreted by others and the results because of this. This project will be conducted in the cities of Berlin, Leon, and Madrid, three cities rich with history, but also with modern movements catalyzed by the need for social change. Our methodology will consist of observations and interviews, which include visiting art galleries, watching (and possibly taking part in) street performances, viewing films and soccer games as well as conducting interviews. Overall, the questions our group will address are: How is performance embedded in social activism? How is social activism grounded in culture? What types of culture are used in social activism? How has art been used as a form of social activism for or by youth affected by the Eurozone crisis?
2.      Background
Sports are embedded in culture, and when culture is affected by economic and political crisis, the role of sports changes as well. Sports are popular throughout all castes of society and have the power to both create rivalries between people of different regions and make complete strangers friends. In both Germany and Spain, there is no doubt that the most important and relevant sport is soccer. This is not necessarily true in the United States, but professional soccer is a rapidly growing sport on cusp of becoming one of the most popular in the country. It sees more and more stars coming from Europe and elsewhere around the world to play in Major League Soccer (MLS).
The conclusion of this past season’s Champions League (a competition in which the best club team in the world is determined) had an attendance of over 86,500 people (Champions League Final). The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the major governing body in soccer, estimated that 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world population, tuned in to watch the 2010 World Cup that was played in South Africa (Almost Half the World…). Soccer (or football, as it is known throughout the world) is irrefutably of major global importance as well as an integral part of global culture. Because of the global popularity of the sport, researching this topic is extremely relevant as well as a personal topic of interest.
Soccer and sports in general play a major role in my life. I played soccer as a young child until middle school when I quit because of disagreements with the coaching staff. I started playing the sport again my senior year of high school and even play on extremely uncompetitive intramural team in college. I am one of many, many people who both follow the professional soccer leagues around the world as well as domestically. The major European leagues, namely the German Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, and Italy’s Serie A, are the most competitive and entertaining around the world. I actively root for the Itlaian team Internazionale and the local Seattle team, the Seattle Sounders. There was also a period where I spent an unhealthy amount of time playing and wrapped up in the FIFA Soccer video games. Soccer is a big part of my life, and when I’m extremely excited and interested to do research on the sport and how it’s changed in recent years.
One thing that has been considered but not fully appreciated is the effect which sports can have on unemployment during times of economic and political strife. There have been several notable studies done on this subject. In 2011, Charlotte Cabane did a study in which her main goal was to analyze the effects of leisure sport participation on unemployment duration. She says that the normal returns of participating in sports are health, education, higher wages and general labor market outcomes, and claims that usually left behind when considering the effects of sports is how to aids shortening the duration of unemployment (Cabane 2). Her hypothesis is that “sporty people experience shorter unemployment spells than non-sporty people (6).” This is a fascinating idea, and one that is extremely relevant to the current economic climate because there has been significant unemployment throughout the world. Also important to note is that the group of people this study is analyzing are from Germany, which is one of the countries I will be looking at in my study. This results of the study “lead to the conclusion that practicing sport weekly during unemployment is significantly correlated to the probability of exit from unemployment (23).” This is interesting and clearly shows the relevance of the subject of sports to the theme of our trip, which is analyzing “Social and Artistic Representations of Youth Un-employment in the Eurozone: Germany and Spain as Case Studies.”
There are also other examples of the connection between sports and the economy. For example, in England, there is an established Sports Council, who is tasked with several things. Under their central document, the Sport for All Charter, they are required to encourage mass participation in sport. They are required to “create enough interesting things for people to do which they can afford to get to (Rigg 62).” The government had an agency that was establishing sporting events for their citizens to participate in because they knew that if there were no sports that the citizens would be less productive and the “inevitable result will be boredom, inertia, and frustrations: a dangerous mixture…(62).” This is further evidence of the connection between sports and government and the economy. The British government recognized that having a population that was not sporty was volatile and unhealthy. Another interesting connection between sports and the economy was the effect that the recent economic downturn had on Olympic athletes. A short YouTube documentary which I watched talked about the struggles of certain Greek Olympic athletes. As the economy took a massive turn for the worse in Greece, they had to sell most of their Olympic training facilities to try to help balance the budget. With the privatization of many gyms and places that athletes trained, they can no longer get the support from the government they needed to be the best athletes they can be, and this greatly affected the competitiveness of Greek Athletes.
Sports are very clearly tied to how society functions, and knowing more about this connection is very helpful globally, especially in political and economic strife. At times like this, tensions between people of different political as well social ideologies rises and shows of activism increase in sports. Expression of individual beliefs through sports is not extremely well documented through research, and this is what I would like to focus on while abroad. I also would like to look at the role government plays in supporting organized sports and look at how this ties into individual activism. This is a big topic and I can’t possibly do a comprehensive study on this over the few weeks I have abroad, however I can do preliminary research and easily do a comparison between the two countries.
3.      Question
How does social activism play a role in sports, namely how does it enforce both individual and group opinions on issues such as politics, immigration and cultural beliefs? What role does government play in promoting and structuring involvement in sports from the youth level and beyond?
4.      Cultural Sensitivity
There is definitely a cultural difference between Americans and Europeans when it comes to sports and other issues. For example one small difference when it comes to our respective views on sports is the names we call the sport. Americans call it soccer, while in Europe they call it football (or futbol). This is something I need to be conscious of while interviewing and talking with other people. I am also aware of the importance that futbol plays in the countries we are visiting. For me it is just a game I like to casually observe and play, but it is more important in Europe. For example in the town I always stay in while I visit my family in Poland, there are two main futbol teams and the rivalry between them is fiercer than any I’ve encountered in the United States. There are constant fights between people who root for different sides, and the city is painted with graffiti propaganda for each team. The intensity and passion that many of the people who I will likely talk to have for their teams is something I need to be cautious of.
5.      Daily Schedule
Although I would love to spend most of time attending soccer games, unfortunately most of the local teams will be in their offseason and not playing games frequently. My primary form of research will be discussions with people and interviews. One invaluable resource that I will use is to speak with people at local soccer clubs about their experiences with the game and with my research question. Another possible course of actions is to and talk with young people who I see either wearing soccer jerseys or playing the game, however these sources might be more unreliable and less willing to talk. To look further into the relationship of sports and government, I will be doing some research both online and in the library looking at examples from past and current administrations. Lastly I would like to interview students at the university about their relationship with sports and the role it plays in their lives.
6.      References
"Almost Half the World Tuned in at Home to Watch 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa." Fédération Internationale De Football Association. N.p., 11 July 2011. Web.
Cabane, Charlotte. "Unemployment Duration and Sport Particpation: Evidence from Germany." Documents De Travail Du Centre D'Economie De La Sorbonne 49 (2011): 1-24. Web.
"Champions League Final Full-Time Report." UEFA Champions League. Uninon of European Football Associations, 25 May 2013. Web.

Rigg, Malcom. "Sport, Unemployment and the Community." Policy Studies. 4th ed. Vol. 6. 62-69. 2007. Web.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Project Proposal Draft

This is the rough draft of my project proposal. Sorry if this is still a little too rough, I had to go to the emergency room this weekend and that interrupted my plans to research my subject more and write this. 

Project Proposal
1.      Abstract
The Eurozone Crisis has prompted various types of protest within the European community. One of the most widespread and innovative is the use of artistic mediums. Our group is interested in looking at different art forms and how they are embedded in social activism. We want to explore how the new trends in art were born and how they have influenced youth affected by the crisis. Specifically, we want to look into the issues of immigration and unemployment and how this has created tension within youth culture in the United States, Spain and Germany. We are interested in exploring how people are expressing their views through their art and the effect that it is having on others. We are not only interested in learning about the messages that artists are trying to send with their work, but also how it is being interpreted by others and the results because of this. This project will be conducted in the cities of Berlin, Leon, and Madrid, three cities rich with history, but also with modern movements catalyzed by the need for social change. Our methodology will consist of observations and interviews, which include visiting art galleries, watching (and possibly taking part in) street performances, viewing films and soccer games as well as conducting interviews. Overall, the questions our group will address are: How is performance embedded in social activism? How is social activism grounded in culture? What types of culture are used in social activism? How has art been used as a form of social activism for or by youth affected by the Eurozone crisis?
2.      Background
Sports are embedded in culture, and when the culture is affected by economic and political crisis, the role of sports changes as well. Sports are widely popular throughout all castes of society and they can cause rivalries between people of different regions or make complete strangers friends. In both Germany and Spain, there is no doubt that the most important and relevant sport is that of soccer. In the United States professional soccer is a rapidly growing sport on cusp of becoming one of the most popular in the country. It sees more and more stars coming from Europe and elsewhere around the world to play in Major League Soccer (MLS).
For me personally, soccer and sports in general play a major role in my life. I played soccer as a young child up until middle school when I quit because of disagreements with the coaching staff (I didn’t like my coach and felt he didn’t play me enough). I started playing the sport again my senior year of high school and even play on extremely uncompetitive intramural team in college. I am one of many, many people who both follow the professional soccer leagues around the world as well as domestically. The major European leagues, namely the German Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, and Italy’s Serie A, are the most competitive and entertaining around the world. I actively root for the Itlaian team Internazionale and the local, Seattle based team, the Seattle Sounders. There was also a period where I spent an unhealthy amount of time playing and wrapped up in the FIFA Soccer video games. Soccer is a big part of my life, and when I’m extremely excited and interested to do research on the sport and how it’s changed in recent years.
The conclusion of this past season’s Champions League (a league in which the best club team in the world is found through a tournament) had an attendance of over 86,500 people (Champions League Final). The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the major governing body in soccer, estimated that 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world population, tuned in to watch the 2010 World Cup that was played in South Africa (Almost Half the World). There is little doubt that soccer (or football, as those not in America call it) is of major global importance and that it is an integral and irrefutable part of global culture. Because of the global interest in the sport, researching this topic is very important to
One thing that has been considered but not fully appreciated is the effect which sports can have during times of economic and political strife. There have been several notable studies done on this subject, and each has very interesting results. In 2011, Charlotte Cabane did a study in which her main goal was to analyze the effect of leisure sport participation on unemployment duration. She says that the normal returns of participating in sports are health, education, higher wages and general labor market outcomes, and claims that usually left behind when considering the effects of sports is how to aids shortening the duration of unemployment (Cabane 2). Her hypothesis is that “sporty people experience shorter unemployment spells than non-sporty people (6).” This is a fascinating idea, and one that is extremely relevant to the current economic climate because there has been significant unemployment throughout the world. Also important to note is that the group of people this study is analyzing are German citizens, one of the countries I will be looking at in my study. This results of the study “lead to the conclusion that practicing sport weekly during unemployment is significantly correlated to the probability of exit from unemployment (23).” This is interesting and clearly shows the relevance of the subject of sports to the theme of our trip, which is analyzing “Social and Artistic Representations of Youth Un-employment in the Eurozone: Germany and Spain as Case Studies.”
There are also other examples of the connection between sports and the economy. For example, in the United Kingdom, there is an established Sports Council, who is tasked with several things. Under their central document, the Sport for All Charter, they are required to encourage mass participation in sport. They are required to “create enough interesting things for people to do which they can afford to get to (Rigg 62).” The government had an agency that was establishing sporting events for their citizens to participate in because they knew that if there were no sports that the citizens would be less productive and the “inevitable result will be boredom, inertia, and frustrations: a dangerous mixture…(62).” This is further evidence of the connection between sports and government and the economy. Another connection which I though was interesting was the effect that the recent economic downturn had on Olympic athletes. A short YouTube documentary which I watched talked about the struggles of certain Greek Olympic athletes. As the economy took a massive turn for the worse in Greece, they had to sell most of their Olympic training facilities to try to help balance the budget. With the privatization of many gyms and places that athletes trained, they can no longer get the support from the government they needed to be the best athletes they can be, and this greatly affected the competitiveness of Greek Athletes.
Learning about all of this has solidified my interest in doing research in sports and performance in our target countries. Knowing more about this topic is very helpful globally because sports and unemployment as well as political and economic strife are all tied together. I have struggled with coming up with one question to really look into, but as I did more research and as I do more research in the future I will undoubtedly narrow down my results even further.
3.      Question
Because there are so many ways in which sports and society are intertwined, I am casting a wide net with my initial research questions. How does the role of sports change during times of economic and political turmoil? How does social activism play a role in performance and sports, namely how does it enforce both individual and group opinions on issues such as politics, immigration and cultural beliefs? What role does government play in promoting and structuring youth involvement in sports?
4.      Cultural Sensitivity
There is definitely a cultural difference between Americans and Europeans when it comes to sports and other issues. For example one small difference when it comes to our respective views on sports is the names we call the sport. Americans call it soccer, while in Europe they call it football (or futbol). This is something I need to be conscious of while interviewing and talking with other people. I am also aware of the importance that futbol plays in the countries we are visiting. For me it is just a game I like to casually observe and play, but it is more important in Europe. For example in the town I always stay in while I visit my family in Poland, there are two main futbol teams and the rivalry between them is fiercer than any I’ve encountered in the United States. There are constant fights between people who root for different sides, and the city is painted with graffiti propaganda for each team. The intensity and passion that many of the people who I will likely talk to have for their teams is something I need to be cautious of.
5.      Daily Schedule
Although I would love to spend most of time attending soccer games, unfortunately most of the local teams will be in their offseason and not playing games frequently. I will have to speak with people at local soccer clubs and fan centers, as well as talk to people who I see either wearing soccer jerseys or playing the game. Lastly I would like to interview students about their relationship with sports and the role it plays in their lives.
6.      References
"Almost Half the World Tuned in at Home to Watch 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa." Fédération Internationale De Football Association. N.p., 11 July 2011. Web.
Cabane, Charlotte. "Unemployment Duration and Sport Particpation: Evidence from Germany." Documents De Travail Du Centre D'Economie De La Sorbonne 49 (2011): 1-24. Web.
"Champions League Final Full-Time Report." UEFA Champions League. Uninon of European Football Associations, 25 May 2013. Web.

Rigg, Malcom. "Sport, Unemployment and the Community." Policy Studies. 4th ed. Vol. 6. 62-69. 2007. Web.