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Paul Dietschy

Modern sport was born at the same time as modern mobility. Sport became one of the biggest promotional tools, first through cycle competitions, then car races. First intended for the wealthy, motor sports soon invited the middle classes to enter into a culture of freedom and social advancement which accompanied new forms of mobility. However, the links between sport and mobility are not restricted to motor sport or publicity. Indeed modern sport is a child of modern mobility, and just as the spread of new forms of mobility played a fundamental role in the passage from rural to urban societies, the transport revolution accelerated the decline of the traditional games and made possible the invention of contemporary sport and of global sports culture and space.

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Parallel Myths, Popular Maps

The Europe of Soccer

Paul Dietschy, David Ranc, and Albrecht Sonntag

Although history textbooks are highly revealing sources of what is considered worthy of being included in collective memory, they only tell half the story. The study of the non-official “parallel pantheons” of popular culture also contribute significantly to understanding patterns of perception and self-perception as well as mental representations of “Europe.” For more than a century, soccer, Europe's most widely shared social practice, has contributed to shaping perceptions of what can be encompassed under the term “Europe.” This article focuses on the “popular maps” of Europe that soccer has drawn over the last half-century and hints at the myths of cultural commonality that underpin them. It appears that while soccer represents a somewhat ambiguous metaphor for contemporary Europe, it can also supply interesting insights into the emergence of horizontal bonds between Europeans.