University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 18.12. Football and Society in Romania. Issues and Problems in Soccer Discourses (Péter László)

Start date: Dec 18, 2014 12:00 AM

End date: Dec 18, 2014 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Educa D109

Péter László MA Péter László defends his doctoral dissertation in Hungarian Studies   ”Soccerology. Football and Society in Romania. Issues and Problems in Soccer Discourses” tarkastustilaisuus. Opponent  Professor Miklós Hadas (Corvinus egyetem, Budapest) and custos Docent Anssi Halmesvirta (University of Jyväskylä).

The thesis presents the connections between football and society based on the main issues and problems debated in Romanian soccer discourses. The dissertation assumes that public talk on football is more than a simple speech on soccer as game: it is an alternative public sphere where serious questions and issues about changing social environment and institutions are raised and presented to larger audience. I presumed that football beyond being a joyful practice is a deep play, a post-modern live broadcasted rite.

The research is based on the collective definition theory of social problems developed by H. Blumer (1975) next to the adjusted cultural theory on social significance of sport elaborated by Gruneau and Whitson (1993). In order to answer the questions (How soccer and society are connected? What issues and problems are raised and debated in public discourses on Romanian football? How they can be typified?) I analysed articles published in central sport newspapers.

The research method is based on text analysis and post-structuralist discourse analysis completed with text network analysis (TNA) in order to represent the semantic networks. The first part presents the literature of football followed by the theoretical and methodological aspects in the second part. The third part is the core of the dissertation. The Romanian football field is structured according to Bourdieu’s theory (1978) along with the social history of the soccer; accounts on social relevance of football are given; the text as narrative field is described (keywords, themes, topics, problems, text networks). Finally, in the third part the structures of different ideal-typical discourses and constitutive elements are also described, following the context-text-intertext triangle.

The findings show that the discourses are highly critical toward the larger institutional and social context of the game. Their tone is negative and the approach rather social, debating social problems like corruption, racism, labour rights, leadership or masculinity–to name just a few. One of the main conclusions is that talk about football in does not only approach and discuss problems already existing in public debates; it has been able to set and frame the agenda. It raised questions that have become part of public agenda, and have had the capacity to shape the content of political debates. Moreover, football discourse is a factor consciously taken into account by the juridical and political system.

The thesis is a manuscript, and has 353 pages.

Keywords: football, social problems, deep play, media, discourse, politics, corruption, violence, popular culture, language, social change, social process