Populism in Sport, Leisure, and Popular Culture 9780367356385, 9780429340840

his book examines and establishes the sociological relevance of the concept of populism and illuminates the ideological

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Populism in Sport, Leisure, and Popular Culture
 9780367356385, 9780429340840

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of contributors
PART 1: Themes, concepts, theories
1. Populism, sport, leisure, and popular culture: Setting the scene
2. Whither “the people?”: Populism, ideology, and the contested politics of sport
3. Populist elements of SINGO discourse and practice: Unravelling the undercurrents of the popular cultural event
4. Neuro-liberalism: Enterprise, gender, and the marketing of the self
5. The radical populist pitch of the 2009–2011 U2360° Tour
PART 2: National contexts and settings
6. Blame Games: Sport, populism, and crisis politics in Greece
7. From fascism to five stars: Sport, populism, and the figure of the leader in Italy
8. Sport, music, and populism in Brazil
9. Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian cultural politics, and the Rio 2016 Olympics: Left in Lula’s wake
10. Populism and sports in Latin America: Old and new ways of narrating the nation
11. Populism and political motives for hosting the FIFA World Cup: Comparing England 1966 and Russia 2018
PART 3: Trump times
12. Blue collar billionaire: Trumpism, populism, and uber-sport
13. A tale of two Twitterstorms: The NFL, Donald Trump, and digital populism
14. The Gaga and the global: American double articulation at Super Bowl LI
15. Art of t he deal: Donald Trump, the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup, and the geopolitics of football aspiration
16. Afterword: A sociological future for populism?

Citation preview

“Populism in Sport, Leisure, and Popular Culture’s thorough accounting of past theorizations of populism and sport coupled with its insightful analyses of the ways contemporary populists all across the globe are using sport to engender mass support and sow dehumanizing divisions makes this book vital reading for all those interested in making sense of the dangerous politics facing us today.” Kyle W. Kusz, Department of English, University of Rhode Island, USA “Sport mega-events are ideal vehicles for politicians’ populist agendas. This volume provides insightful analyses of sport/populism links, male politicians’ personality cults and ‘man of the people’ rhetoric. Trump, Johnson, Lula, and Berlusconi are pertinent examples. If there were any doubts that sport is political, this book should put that myth to rest.” Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, Professor Emerita, University of Toronto, Canada “Historically uneasy about popular culture, sociology can ill afford to discount its populist uses and abuses. This critically incisive, international collection, influenced by Stuart Hall’s path-breaking analysis, ranges freely across the terrain of popular pleasure. In drawing the sociological eye to Trumpian politics, the book makes a particularly persuasive case for a deeper sociological engagement with populist rhetoric and power.” David Rowe, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Research, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia “Offering timely and pertinent engagement with populism and sport, this collection confronts populism’s perils, exposing the power of individuals as both bearers and breakers of democratic decision-making protocols. Questions of human rights and social justice and the potential for populist movements to enact change against inequalities, make this essential reading for anyone seeking sense-making strategies amidst turbulent political landscapes.” Beccy Watson, Reader, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Populism in Sport, Leisure, and Popular Culture

This book examines and establishes the sociological relevance of the concept of populism and illuminates the ideological use of sport, leisure, and popular culture in socio-political populist strategies and dynamics. The first part of the book – Themes, Concepts, Theories – sets the scene by reviewing and evaluating populist themes, concepts, and theories and exploring their cultural-historical roots in and application to cultural forms such as megasports events, reality television programmes, and music festivals. The second part – National Contexts and Settings – examines populist elements of events and regimes in selected cases in South America and Europe: Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Italy, and England. In the third part – Trump Times – the place of sport in the populist ideology and practices of US President Donald Trump is critically examined in analyses of Trump’s authoritarian populism, his Twitter discourse, Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl, and populist strategy on the international stage. The book concludes with a discussion of the strong case for a fuller sociological engagement with the populist dimensions of sport, leisure, and popular cultural forms. Written in a clear and accessible style, this volume will be of interest to sociologists and social scientists beyond those specialising in popular culture and cultural politics of sport and leisure, as the topic of populism and its connection to popular cultural forms and practices has come increasingly into prominence in the contemporary world. Bryan C. Clift is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department for Health at the University of Bath, UK, where he is the Director of the Centre for Qualitative Research. Alan Tomlinson is Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton, UK, and has written widely on sport, leisure, and popular culture in their sociological and historical contexts.

Sociological Futures Series Editors: Eileen Green, Professor Emerita, Teesside University, UK John Horne, Professor of Sport Science, Waseda University, Japan Caroline Oliver, Associate Professor of Sociology, UCL Institute of Education, UK Louise Ryan, Professor of Sociology, London Metropolitan University, and Vice Chair of the BSA

Sociological Futures aims to be a flagship for new and innovative theories, methods and approaches to sociological issues and debates, and ‘the social’ in the 21st century. This series of monographs and edited collections was inspired by vibrant wealth of BSA symposia on a wide variety of sociological themes. Edited by a team of experienced sociological researchers, and supported by the BSA, it covers a wide range of topics related to sociology and sociological research and features contemporary work that is theoretically and methodologically innovative, has local or global reach, as well as work that engages or reengages with classic debates in sociology bringing new perspectives to important and relevant topics. The BSA is the professional association for sociologists and sociological research in the United Kingdom, with its extensive network of members, study groups and forums, and its dynamic programme of events. The Association engages with topics ranging from auto/biography to youth, climate change to violence against women, alcohol to sport, and Bourdieu to Weber. This book series represents the fruits of sociological enquiry, reaching a global audience, and offering a publication outlet for sociologists at all career and publishing stages, from the well-established to emerging sociologists, BSA or non-BSA members, from all parts of the world. What is Food? Researching a Topic with Many Meanings Edited by Ulla Gustafsson, Rebecca O’Connell, Alizon Draper and Andrea Tonner Social Research and Disability Developing Inclusive Research Spaces for Disabled Researchers Edited by Ciaran Burke and Bronagh Byrne Populism in Sport, Leisure, and Popular Culture Edited by Bryan C. Clift and Alan Tomlinson For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/ Sociological-Futures/book-series/SOCFUT

Populism in Sport, Leisure, and Popular Culture

Edited by Bryan C. Clift and Alan Tomlinson

First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Bryan C. Clift and Alan Tomlinson; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Bryan C. Clift and Alan Tomlinson to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-35638-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-34084-0 (ebk) Typeset in Goudy by Taylor & Francis Books


List of figures List of contributors Acknowledgements

ix x xiv


Themes, concepts, theories 1 Populism, sport, leisure, and popular culture: Setting the scene

1 3


2 Whither “the people?”: Populism, ideology, and the contested politics of sport



3 Populist elements of SINGO discourse and practice: Unravelling the undercurrents of the popular cultural event



4 Neuro-liberalism: Enterprise, gender, and the marketing of the self



5 The radical populist pitch of the 2009–2011 U2360° Tour




National contexts and settings 6 Blame Games: Sport, populism, and crisis politics in Greece JACOB J. BUSTAD

87 89

viii Contents

7 From fascism to five stars: Sport, populism, and the figure of the leader in Italy



8 Sport, music, and populism in Brazil



9 Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian cultural politics, and the Rio 2016 Olympics: Left in Lula’s wake



10 Populism and sports in Latin America: Old and new ways of narrating the nation



11 Populism and political motives for hosting the FIFA World Cup: Comparing England 1966 and Russia 2018




Trump times


12 Blue collar billionaire: Trumpism, populism, and uber-sport



13 A tale of two Twitterstorms: The NFL, Donald Trump, and digital populism



14 The Gaga and the global: American double articulation at Super Bowl LI



15 Art of the deal: Donald Trump, the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup, and the geopolitics of football aspiration



16 Afterword: A sociological future for populism?






7.1 7.2 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 13.10

106 109 205 206 206 207 210 212 213 213 214 214


Pablo Alabarces studied for his PhD at the University of Brighton (UK). He is Professor in Popular Culture at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), in its Faculty of Social Sciences; he is also Principal Researcher at CONICET and currently Fellow at the Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Universidad de Guadalajara, México. Among his books are Fútbol y Patria (2002), Héroes, machos y patriotas (2014, National Prize for Sociological Essay), and Historia del Fútbol en América Latina (2018). David L. Andrews is Professor of Physical Cultural Studies in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. His research critically examines the cultural politics of popular sport culture, which provides the focus for his latest book Making Sport Great Again: The Uber-Sport Assemblage, Neoliberalism, and the Trump Conjuncture (Palgrave, 2019). In addition, he recently co-edited (with Joshua Newman and Holly Thorpe) Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body: Materialisms, Technologies, Ecologies (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Adam S. Beissel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sport Leadership and Management at Miami University, Oxford, OH, USA. His scholarship and teaching interrogates the cultural and political economies of global sport. He is currently working on a research project examining the political economy of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup joint hosted by the USA, Mexico, and Canada. Jules Boykoff is the author of four books on the Olympics, most recently NOlympians: Inside the Fight Against Capitalist Mega-Sports in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Beyond (Fernwood, 2020) and Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics (Verso, 2016). His work has appeared in journals such as the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Sociology of Sport Journal, and the International Journal of the History of Sport. He teaches political science at Pacific University, USA.



Jacob J. Bustad, PhD is Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Towson University, MD, USA. His primary research interests are in the fields of sport management, physical cultural studies, the sociology of sport and urban studies. Specifically, he is interested in sport and globalisation and sport and physical activity within urban environments. Ben Carrington is Associate Professor, University of Southern California, USA where he teaches sociology and journalism studies at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He studies a broad range of topics and areas generally concerned with mapping the circulation and reproduction of power within contemporary societies. More specifically, he is interested in how ideologies of race shape – and are themselves shaped by – cultural forms, practices and identities, and how popular culture is often a key site of both cultural resistance and domination. His work examines the mass media, music and sport as a way to understand key sociological dimensions of everyday life such as personal and communal identity and nationalistic identification and disidentification. Bryan C. Clift is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department for Health at the University of Bath (UK) where he is the Director of the Centre for Qualitative Research. His research is oriented around sport and physical activity in relation to issues of contemporary urbanism, popular cultural practices and representations, and qualitative inquiry. His work has recently been published in Body & Society, Sociology of Sport Journal, Qualitative Inquiry, and Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies. Additionally, he recently co-edited (with Julie Gore, Sheree Bekker, Ioannins Costas Batlle, Stefanie Gustafsson, and Jenny Hatchard) Temporality in Qualitative Inquiry: Theories, Methods, and Practices (Routledge, 2021). Alex G. Gillett is Senior Lecturer at the York Management School, University of York, UK. Much of his work has focused on organisational networks, relationships, and interaction across sectors. He has a keen interest in management history, and is a founding committee member of the Management and Business History Special Interest Group of the British Academy of Management. Richard Gruneau is Emeritus Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. He has written extensively in the areas of leisure, sport, and popular cultures; political economy; critical social theory; Canadian studies; and historical sociology. His recent books include Sport and Modernity (Polity Press, 2017) and Mega Events and Globalization: Capital and Spectacle in a Changing World Order, co-edited with John Horne (Routledge, 2016).

xii Contributors

Dafna Kaufman is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. She completed her MA in the School of Film, Media and Theatre at Georgia State University (also receiving a certificate in Women and Gender Studies). Her research focuses on the relationships between sports media, theories of gender and the body, and cultural studies. Simon Martin was awarded a PhD from University College London. His thesis, published in 2004 as Football and Fascism: The National Game in Mussolini’s Italy, won the British Society for Sport’s History’s Lord Aberdare prize for literary history. Continuing his research on sport in modern Italy, Sport Italia: The Italian Love Affair with Sport was published in 2011 and won the Lord Aberdare prize in 2012. He is a Research Fellow at the British School at Rome, and co-Director of the University of Buckingham’s Masters in the History of Sport by Research. Deborah Philips is Professor of Literature and Cultural History at the University of Brighton, UK. She has published on feminist theory, post-war fiction, and popular culture. Her books include: Women Writers and Experimental Narratives: An Experiment of Her Own (Palgrave, 2020), Writing Romance: Post-War Women's Fiction 1945–2014 (Bloomsbury, 2014), Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground (Bloomsbury, 2012), The Trojan Horse: The Growth of Commercial Sponsorship (Bloomsbury, 2013) with Garry Whannel, and Brave New Causes: Women in British Postwar Fictions (Leicester University Press, 1999) with Ian Haywood. Kevin D. Tennent is Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of York, UK. His research focuses on governance and strategy in management history, across the fields of sport, international business, the music industry, and transport. He is founding chair of the Management and Business History Special Interest Group of the British Academy of Management, and is active in the Management History Division at the Academy of Management. Renata Maria Toledo earned her undergraduate degree in law from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, before receiving her BEd in Physical Education and DPhil degree in Sociology from Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil. Her research has focused on social rights, sport politics and policies in Brazil, especially concerned with the interconnections of those topics and the issues of identity and nationalism. Alan Tomlinson studied humanities and sociology at the University of Kent, and gained his DPhil at the University of Sussex. He is Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton, UK, and has written widely on sport, leisure, and popular culture in their sociological and historical contexts. His current research continues to explore, from interdisciplinary perspectives,



the making of spectacle in the sport and leisure sphere and the ideological significance of such phenomena in social and power relations. Michael Williams teaches at the University of Brighton, UK, where he also studied for his PhD. His research interests lie in the emerging area of the contribution of the social sciences to the critical study of events. This is stimulated by a desire to understand how people make meaning from, engage in, negotiate and (co)create event experiences. He is particularly interested in music events, spectacle, fan communities, and the politics of identity. A current research interest focuses upon the use of digital technologies in the production and consumption of events.


We are indebted to two professional bodies that have supported the work and research that is included in this book. First, the British Sociological Association (BSA), in whose series Sociological Futures the volume appears. Second, the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS). The BSA Leisure and Recreation Study Group provided a forum for floating ideas about and considering detailed cases of the populism-leisure (sport and music) connection, kindly hosted by the Department of Health at the University of Bath in June 2018. In November of the same year, the NASSS Annual Conference enabled us to run three sessions at its event in Vancouver, Canada. These acted as rehearsals for the development of most of the chapters that appear in this book. Excellent feedback and insightful commentaries abounded in and beyond the Bath and Vancouver sessions. We are truly grateful to all who contributed. We offer our gratitude, too, to Robert Mann and Heather Jones, who undertook copy-editing work on the manuscript for the book, harmonising formats and imposing stylistic consistency upon the copy in the most prompt and efficient fashion. More personally, Bryan Clift would like to acknowledge the support of the University of Bath and the Department for Health. He is indebted to and thankful for the numerous colleagues who have in various and multiple ways aided in the development of this work: Alan Tomlinson (for working with me on this joint project), David Andrews, Jacob Bustad, Jules Boykoff, Renata Toledo, Michael Silk, Simone Fullagar, Juan Pablo Ferrero, Thiago Allis, Maria Sarah da Silva Telles, Christina Horvath, and Ricardo Borges Alencar. Vitally, he would like to thank his family – Sarah and Meera – for their ever-present love, care, and support. Alan Tomlinson is grateful, as Convenor of the BSA Leisure and Recreation Study Group, for the Association’s support in staging the workshop that kicked off the book project; to Bryan Clift for stimulating the debate that led us to this joint project, in a meeting at the NASSS annual conference in November 2016 in Tampa, Florida. And as ever, in this writing



business, he would like to thank his family – Bernie, Alys, Rowan, Jo, Sinead – for their tolerance and unstinting support throughout the project. Bryan C. Clift Alan Tomlinson April 2020

Part 1

Themes, concepts, theories

Chapter 1

Populism, sport, leisure, and popular culture Setting the scene Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff

Introduction Populism is ascendant around the world, and global media are on notice. One headline in Al Jazeera declared: “National-Populism: A New Global Model Is Born” (Marsili, 2018). Another in the Washington Post blared: “It’s Not Just Trump. Authoritarian Populism is Rising Across the West” (Norris, 2016). The New Statesman harkened: “The National Populist Moment” (Goodwin, 2018). The Guardian ran a series of populist articles around “The new populism” with headlines pronouncing: “Why is populism suddenly all the rage?” (Rooduijn, 2018) and even hosted an interactive quiz for users to identify, “How populist are you?” In specific nations, from “Erdog˘ an’s populist evolution” in Turkey (McKernan, 2019) to Evo Morales, “a populist president [who] helped Bolivia’s poor” (Balch, 2019), to the Trumpist ascendancy in the United States (US), populism has firmly entrenched itself in the global north and south. With the consummation of Brexit in January 2020, Nigel Farage (2020) declared unequivocally – if prematurely – that “Populism has triumphed.” News media refract, rather than simply reflect, the contours and import of populism’s re-emergence articulated to the national contexts in which it is situated. This recent paroxysm of populism – often with an autocratic twist – has taken some by surprise. Authoritarianism’s comeback seemed implausible in a world where the “Third Wave of Democratization” has been fortifying its roots since the 1970s (Shin, 1994). With more countries expanding democratic rights, a rollback seemed unlikely. And yet, just beneath the surface, a strong anti-elite impulse lurked. Emerging in part from a cultural backlash, whipsaw economic inequality, and simmering racial animosity, the rise of populism has created political waves, even in places such as Denmark and Sweden where cradle-to-grave safety-net systems are in place and education levels are high. These waves have washed up on the shores of the European Union (EU), and the European Commission’s Director of International Cooperation for Research, Maria Cristina Russo, has acknowledged the problem. Russo was speaking on 17 December 2019 in the “Closing Remarks” session at the event Democracy at the Crossroads: Populism and its

4 Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff

Consequences on Political Trust, the 3rd Waseda Brussels Conference organised by Japan’s Waseda University. She recognised the rising and spreading threat of populism to the EU’s democratic principles, and confirmed that in Horizon Europe, the Commission’s new research and innovation framework programme, the theme and topic of democracy would be at the top of her priorities. Russo’s department would do well to give priority to interrogating the populist influences that have led to this crisis of democracy, and the social and cultural institutions that have enabled such a populist surge. Populist nationalism often takes the form of a revanchist political project that presumes an “imagined community,” lending support to Benedict Anderson’s (1991, p. 3) assertion that: “The ‘end of the era of nationalism,’ so long prophesied, is not remotely in sight. Indeed, nation-ness is the most universally legitimate value in the political life of our time.” And yet, while populists of all stripes invoke various “imagined communities,” populism cannot be dismissed merely as confected hoodwinkery – it often addresses the deep-seated needs and feelings of everyday people. In the 21st century, serious, structural grievances churn beneath the shiny surface of politics, and populists tap those grievances to generate political energy and even fervour. In doing so, populism can also sometimes bring a set of interlocking problems: racial – and sometimes racist – projects designed to conjure a bygone past that is not possible to recreate. “Communities,” writes Anderson (1991, p. 6): “are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.” In a challenging intervention comprising a special issue of the journal Leisure Studies Stanley Thangaraj and his collaborators pose important questions concerning the nature of national populism (Thangaraj et al., 2018). They argue that a turn towards ethno-national populism derives from how race works, in its interrelationships with ethnicity, caste, and class. Their special issue explores specific contexts of leisure in focused settings across the global south and the global north. These settings include the private domestic lawn of a next-door neighbour, deconstructed by two North American scholars (Kumm & Johnson, 2018); an anthropological interrogation of sporting fight rituals normalising the incorporation of white supremacist ideology into the everyday life of a US community (Yearwood, 2018); the construction of a leisure space as a politicised and activist process in a site in North Kerala, India (Mani & Krishnamurthy, 2018); and the Pride Parade 2016 held in Toronto, Canada, at which Black Lives Matter Toronto held a sit-in to publicise what they saw as anti-Black racism in Pride Toronto, as well as in the Toronto Police Service, an intervention that was unsympathetically represented in queer and mainstream media (Greey, 2018). A further focus upon how practices in a particular city space in Curitiba, Brazil (Navarro et al., 2018) can change social lives through the collective exercise of power completes an enlightening set of case studies that capture populist interventions and some national populist processes in the making and remaking of leisure forms and cultural practices.

Populism, sport, leisure, popular culture


Such populist dimensions of the realms of leisure, Thangaraj and his coeditors argue, have been out of the conversation for too long, and they emphasise the importance of identifying shifts to national populism as manifest in the realms of leisure. Astutely, they remind us (Thangaraj et al., 2018, p. 649) that leisure: “presents possibilities for simultaneously seeing and not seeing the socio-historical context aligned with national populism (be it progressive or conservative).” Their discussion of US President Donald Trump’s hostile comments on and to athletes “to entrench his national populistic agenda” (Thangaraj et al., 2018, p. 650) recognise the relationship of the local culture to the wider and – if the connection can be made – global context. They also recognise the relevance of forms of populist support in leisure spheres to the outcomes of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic dynamics in wider power relations; their contribution to understanding “how processes of national populism and its relationship to leisure bleed into everyday representational and cultural spaces” (Thangaraj et al., 2018, p. 648) is well-taken, and we echo this important contribution in all sections of this book. We ignore history at our peril, but we also imperil ourselves and each other by flattening the complexity of populism’s appeal. Populism takes root in particular places and is grounded in cultural traditions that enable recruitment from the disaffected of a society. Populism wrangles some of the most pressing socio-political dynamics of our time. It is difficult to overstate its importance in our contemporary moment. Populism’s connections to sport thrum with consequence.

Leisure and sport The study of leisure and its constituent elements – sport, music, drama, tourism, and an infinite list of other free-time activities – has been a focus of sociological interest and inquiry since the founding days of the discipline, though not always explicit in sociological scholarship and debate. Much early sociological research was concerned primarily with the labour process rather than the pleasure principle. The parallel development of modern industrial societies and the disciplines of the social sciences was hardly an accident, and work and labour, the motors of the developing societies and economies, provided early researchers and theorists with their core problematique – the question of how new forms of work and production in the rapidly industrialising powers of the developing west could be aligned with shifting and fragmenting forms of the social order. Where leisure stood in this conundrum remained for the most part on the periphery of research agendas and public and policy debate. There were exceptions of course, as social and cultural historians have shown. Displaced communities and populations were preached to in 19th-century Britain by well-intentioned reformers on the dangers of unruly sports and

6 Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff

games, and the benefits of new forms of leisure and sporting activity in the changing social environment. Charles Kingsley’s model of Christian manliness – widely labelled muscular Christianity – lauded his own commitment to rowing, riding to hounds, fishing and boxing (Vance, 2009), and new games and sports (or Organised Games) based on the values of team-play, a philosophy of fair play and respect for the opposition. Thomas Hughes’s extraordinarily popular novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays, based on the author’s own boyhood experience of Rugby School, Warwickshire, England, celebrated the values at the heart of these new leisure and sporting practices: “which turned games into an instrument of character-building instead of a mere exercise or amusement” (Briggs, 1965, p. 160). It would though be half a century before Organised Games could be offered to working-class children in school settings in Britain, and working-class men would by then have made their own stamp on leisure and sporting history in a variety of sports some of which were anchored in commercial developments and, for outstanding practitioners in their fields, professionalism. Sport could also provide public spectacle that, echoing the socio-cultural order of ancient Rome in a form of Juvenal’s bread-and-circuses based control, brought the population together “in all the disorder of the human carnival”, as French historian and sociologist Hippolyte Taine wrote of the Epsom Derby horse-race run on 28 May 1861 (Carey, 1987, p. 363). Zonally sectioned as the different elements of the 200,000 spectators were, they nevertheless symbolised a populist representation of the nation at play – social classes experiencing the same event together, though not too close. Forms of leisure and sport were by no means marginal in or peripheral to the developing societies of the modern period, but they have remained relatively neglected across the social sciences. Stuart Hall observed in 1986 that many useful studies of sport were inherently limited, confined as they were to consideration of the internal structure and history of a particular sport. To compensate for this an alternative was to “set sport in the context of ‘leisure’ activities” (Hall, 1986, p. xii), though “while ‘leisure’ is an important valuable concept”, he added, “placing sport in that context often results in rather slack or loose formulations”, lacking “either a sense of the organic relationships between sport and wider social questions or a sense of the tensions or pleasures which are intrinsic to its pursuit as a social activity” (Hall, 1986, p. xii). Hall was writing in the Foreword to John Hargreaves’s Sport, Power and Culture, praising Hargreaves for his coverage of neglected issues and themes: how sport has been articulated in different points in time; sport’s role in the reformation of the popular classes; and the “stake” represented by sport in a society’s general relationships. He complimented Hargreaves too for his attention to the “pressures of massification, spectacularization and fragmentation” that have affected sport in an age of mass culture. At a more general theoretical level, Hargreaves’s analysis of the interrelationships of sport, power, and culture was framed by a fusion of

Populism, sport, leisure, popular culture


Gramscian hegemony theory with Foucauldian theories of power and surveillance. Nowhere in this seminal study did he address how the concept of populism might inform work on how massification, spectacularisation or fragmentation shaped sport and leisure. This volume brings together an array of international scholars in an attempt to explore the potential of the concept in ways that might illuminate the type of issues outlined by Hall. For more than 30 years, the state has been demonstrated to play a pivotal role in national and international sporting policy, governance, and administration, and at times political leaders across the ideological spectrum have mobilised sport in support of the nation (e.g., Allison, 1986, 1993; Brohm, 1978; Hoberman, 1984; Houlihan, 1991; Grix, 2015; Whannel, 2008). Stretching back to the roots of the field of politics and sport, John Hargreaves (1985) remarked: “Since 1979, when the Conservatives replaced Labour in power, authoritarian populism has hegemonized the political scene and intervention in sport and recreation has been affected accordingly” (Hargreaves, 1985, p. 224). Effects of the shift from a government characterised by “social democratic intervention” to an “authoritarian populist intervention” he noted were evident in Britain’s political, economic, cultural, and social spheres. Hargreaves here did not clearly define or operationalise populism, nor demonstrate how populist elements feature specifically or consistently in political and social scenes. However, he hinted at this in outlining “the government’s extreme concern with national pride” (Hargreaves, 1985, p. 224) as a key dimension of understanding and responding to a conservative shift in British political culture and its impact on sport and recreation. The ideological and nationalistic sentiment identified by this argument bears resemblance to the right-wing populist rhetoric more common today in Western democracies. Hargreaves touches upon the concept populism but only to consign it to the specialist sphere of the political. He is primarily concerned with “popular culture” as a form of culture that “engages the people” and that is not the product of any specific single group; indeed, he sees popular culture as overlapping: “to a perplexing degree with working class culture and the culture of subordinate groups as a whole”: While expressing in its content and idiom the experience of those whom it engages, like its political counterpart “populism”, it does so ambivalently, facing simultaneously in a radical and in a conservative direction – for popular culture as we know expresses a certain critical penetration of the power structure, while also manifesting a complicity in it. (Hargreaves, 1986, p. 9) This reads as a polite dismissal of the concept, a nod of acknowledgement to a complementary way of thinking in another specialist field. But a dismissal

8 Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff

nonetheless. As a prelude to the studies collected in this volume, a fuller review of concepts and theories of populism is a necessary task.

Populism: definitions and debates Populism floats “midway between the descriptive and the normative,” as Ernesto Laclau (2005, p. 3) wrote, and has long suffered from definitional elasticity, with the populist label being slapped on a bracing range of groups and movements. For Laclau, populism resembled an assemblage of “floating signifiers” and “not a fixed constellation but a series of discursive resources which can be put to very different uses” depending on the political and historical context (Laclau, 2005, p. 176). Federico Finchelstein (2017, p. 5) asserted: “populism is not a pathology but a political form that thrives in democracies that are particularly unequal, that is, in places where the income gap has increased and the legitimacy of democratic representation has decreased.” Michael Kazin (1998, p. 3) maintained that populism is “more an impulse than an ideology.” In The Populist Persuasion he wrote that it can be boiled down to: “[A] language whose speakers conceive of ordinary people as a noble assemblage not bounded narrowly by class, view their elite opponents as self-serving and undemocratic, and seek to mobilize the former against the latter.” This chimes with the minimalist, dichotomous definition proffered by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser whereby society is cleaved by two groups – elites and the people – who cling to divergent views of morality that they bring into political battle as they negotiate societal conditions (Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2017, pp. 5–6). While Kazin (1998, p. 5) viewed populism as “a persistent yet mutable style of political rhetoric,” Mouffe (2018, p. 82) described it as “a political strategy.” This strategy “underlines the need to draw a political frontier between the people and the oligarchy [that] challenges the post-political view that identifies democracy with consensus.” From such perspectives, populism can be read as a rhetorical strategy capable of shapeshifting political ideology, form, and content. In public discourse, populism often ripples with pejorative connotations, materialising as a convenient, all-purpose political cudgel. As D’Eramo (2017, p. 131) noted: “‘Populist’ is nearly always a term applied by others; virtually no one defines themselves by that name today, just as no one calls themselves a ‘terrorist’.” When it comes to bracketing the “socially acceptable” political discourse, populism is almost always marginalised, relegated to what Laclau (2005, p. 19) described as: “[T]he realm of the non-thinkable, to being the simple opposite of political forms dignified with the status of a full rationality.” So, populism is frequently a scattershot epithet levelled against those whom the powerbrokers wish to dismiss. As Nima Shirazi recently put it on the Citations Needed podcast (Shirazi & Johnson, 2018), media pundits primed to bash the left deploy an “ideology-flattening definition of populism” that “is more often than not used as a euphemism for

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demagogic cults of personality and outright fascism and as the ultimate horseshoe theory reduction to kind of lump movements for equity and justice on the left alongside those of revanchism, nationalism and explicit racism on the right.” He added: “These two are seen as twins under this broad mantle of populism, and both to be resisted at all costs.” Most analysts agree that populism can emerge on either side of the political spectrum. In tracing the semantic genealogy of how this became the case, Marco D’Eramo revealed how after the Second World War, use of the term populism skyrocketed while the phrase “the people” simultaneously dwindled in usage. “Populism” performed essential political work, building a discursive bridge between fascism and communism, which were both branded populist by the so-called “vital center” and inflected with an authoritarian tinge. Tracing the use of the term as a Cold War night stick, D’Eramo (2013) stated that it: clarifies what at first sight seems its insoluble aporia … namely, that there are “right-wing” and “left-wing” populisms, “reactionary” and “progressive” populisms, or that one and the same populism can be right-wing in some respects and left-wing in others, reactionary and progressive. In reality, the new semantic domain of populism was constructed precisely in order to connect these opposed categories. Its political utility consists in its making possible the equation of movements seemingly at opposite ends of the political spectrum. (D’Eramo, 2013, p. 21) This politico-semantic move simultaneously converted populists into extremists to be dismissed, repressed, and ignored by the sensible centre. So, populism cannot be shoehorned into a single ideology; its left-wing and right-wing orientations surface in discernible forms. John Judis (2016, p. 15) asserts that left-wing populism encompasses two elements while rightwing populism incorporates three. Left-wing populists: “[C]hampion the people against an elite or an establishment. Theirs is a vertical politics of the bottom and middle arrayed against the top.” This is encapsulated in the Occupy Wall Street mantra, “We are the 99 percent.” Right-wing populism, on the other hand, comes with a tripartite formation, with everyday people lining up against the entitled elite that ostensibly coddles the scapegoated group du jour, whether it be “immigrants, Islamists, or African American militants.” In short, Judis (2016, p. 15) argues: “Rightwing populism is triadic. It looks upward, but also down upon an out group.” Although left-wing and right-wing variants exist, Tim Barker (2017, p. 156) rightly pointed out that rhetorically “many contemporary populists sell themselves precisely on the basis of their transcendence of left and right.” This is a point taken up by Jan-Werner Müller, but with a demeaning normative twist. In What Is Populism? Müller (2016, p. 3) contended that all

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populists, whether of the left or right variety, not only vociferously critique elites, but: “[A]re always antipluralist. Populists claim that they, and they alone, represent the people.” He adds that populism is shot through with claims of moral superiority. “When running for office, populists portray their political competitors as part of the immoral, corrupt elite; when ruling, they refuse to recognize any opposition as legitimate.” He even argued that, following the “populist logic” rooted in righteousness and moral purity, political adversaries “might not be a proper part of the people.” He stated: “Populists do not claim ‘We are the 99 percent.’ What they imply instead is ‘We are the 100 percent’.” As such, populists often punch their own free pass for repressing their political rivals. So, in sum, for Müller (2016, p. 3), populism is “an exclusionary form of identity politics” that “tends to pose a danger to democracy.” It is “the permanent shadow of representative politics” proffered by those who claim that: “[P]olitical competitors are essentially illegitimate, and anyone who does not support them is not properly part of the people” (Müller, 2016, p. 101). Populism is not an open-ended process that can lead to participation; rather: “[P]opulists simply wish to be confirmed in what they have already determined the will of the real people to be” (Müller, 2016, p. 102). This vilifying version is shared by other scholars, such as Pierre Rosanvallon (2007, p. 262), who pathologised populism as: “[A] form of political expression in which the democratic project allows itself to be absorbed and to be fully vampirized by counter-democracy.” In this version of populism, the populists are one-dimensional boogeymen rippling with normative opprobrium. Not everyone proffers such a grim view. In fact, Chantal Mouffe (2018, p. 5) argued that populism, of the leftist variety, is precisely what the current political moment demands. “Left populism,” she argues, “understood as a discursive strategy of construction of the political frontier between ‘the people’ and ‘the oligarchy’, constitutes, in the present conjuncture, the type of politics needed to recover and deepen democracy.” She argues that: “Instead of seeing the populist moment only as a threat to democracy, it is urgent to realize that it also offers the opportunity for its radicalization” (Mouffe, 2018, p. 85). Nowhere is this leftist iteration seen and felt more than in Latin America, where the continent carries a considerable history of populism dating back to the 1930s. Although the more recent 1980s and 1990s saw a surge in rightwing populists, the left-wing has since swept through the continent. These orientations—found, for example, in the late Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Bolivian Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador – hold an ideological position that condemns “the elite” for their free-market principles and policies in opposition to the needs and will of the people. Against the neoliberal dictates originating from the 1970s and 1980s, which are viewed as causes of political alienation, these leaders propelled a socialist populist vision that calls back to the ideas of a stronger nationalist state interventionism (Conniff, 2012).

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The Western “populist moment” we are currently experiencing – with its fulcrum of right-wing versus left-wing populism – clearly “signals the crisis of the neoliberal hegemonic formation” born under Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s (Mouffe, 2018, p. 11). In Britain, Thatcher rung in a conservative brand of populism that Stuart Hall (Davison et al., 2017, p. 174) dubbed “authoritarian populism,” which he viewed as “an exceptional form of the capitalist state.” Unlike standard-issue fascism, he explained in his iconic essay “The Great Moving Right Show,” authoritarian populism “retained most (though not all) of the formal representative institutions in place” while managing to “construct around itself an active popular consent.” In his essay The Empire Strikes Back, Hall elaborated: By “populism” I mean something more than the ability to secure electoral support for a political programme, a quality all politicians in formal democracies must possess. I mean the project, central to the politics of Thatcherism, to ground neoliberal policies directly in an appeal “to the people”; to root them in the essentialist categories of common-sense experience and practical moralism – and thus to construct, not simply awaken, classes, groups and interests into a particular definition of the people. At different stages of the populist project, different themes have been drawn into service in this attempt to capture common sense for traditionalism and the right: race … nationality … foreign policy … law and order … have helped give “what the nation is” and “who the people are” its particular traditionalist inflection. (Davison et al., 2017, pp. 203–204) Hall highlighted how populism is no mere hoodwink, but a way to address actual contradictions inflicted by capitalism. This way of viewing populism reminds us that “meaning is always relational and positional,” as Hall (Davison et al., 2017, p. 128) put it, and rooted in the symbolic, discursive, and material. In Britain, neoliberalism was midwifed into existence by populism. Chantal Mouffe (2018, p. 29) takes the baton from Hall, spotlighting how Thatcher’s populist strategy pitted the establishment – government bureaucrats, unionised workers, and those receiving welfare – against “the industrious ‘people’ who were the victims of the various bureaucratic forces and their different allies.” With Keynesian hegemony flashing vulnerabilities, Thatcher pounced: “By erecting a political frontier, she was able to disarticulate the key elements of the social-democratic hegemony and to establish a new hegemonic order based on popular consent.” Hall (1988, p. 271) specifies Thatcher’s populism as underscoring “nation, family, duty, authority, standards, traditionalism – with the aggressive themes of a revised neoliberalism – self-interest, competitive individualism, anti-statism.” Mouffe (2018, p. 35) suggests following Thatcher’s populist roadmap, but with

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progressive coordinates that reconstitute hegemony in a more equitable direction. The key is to point a collective finger at a worthy adversary. In the US, President Ronald Reagan was leveraging some of the very same discursive dynamics. His zealous tax cuts and across-the-board deregulation were pitched as populist faith in the common person’s ability to manage their money more astutely than the fat-cat government. According to the Reagan biographer Garry Wills (1988, p. 271), supply-side economics – or what became known as Reaganomics – “fit everything he believed about the American saga, about ‘what made us great’ before there was any government to cripple the lone pioneer on the frontier.” This problematic propaganda was a “clever inversion device,” as Thomas Frank (2000, p. xvi) refers to it, that forged a particular rhetoric of “market populism” that enjoyed political purchase in the US where markets were pitched as more democratic and legitimate than governments. Although “market populism” rippled with crippling contradictions, those with the temerity to critique it were supposedly “motivated by a hostility to markets roughly equivalent to racism.” Like Hall, Frank (2000, p. xvi) demonstrated how durable right-wing populism could be and how it could rhetorically speak to actually existing social problems, creating space for “the angry, the hungry, and the disenfranchised” alike. The emergence of populism within the political sphere can include a performative dimension as Benjamin Moffitt notes: “[…] the performance of crisis offers populist actors a seemingly ‘objective’ rationale for targeting their enemies” (Moffitt, 2016, p. 125). Performing crisis as a populist strategy succeeds or fails according to the circulation of a populist’s performance in and across the media, in media events such as marches or performance rituals. Such events may initially appear to be “unmediated” or “grassroots” events but can quickly gain substantial media attention due to the spectacular nature of the event: they therefore “operate to give feelings of threat and crisis a semblance of legitimacy by presenting ‘the people’ as the central drivers of these concerns, rather than populist leaders” (Moffitt, 2016, p. 126). The media’s role in the rise of populism is widely acknowledged, yet: “[T]here are no comparative studies that empirically and/or theoretically explicate the ways in which different media landscapes favour or hinder the emergence of populism” (Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2012, p. 220; Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2017). A category of populism explored by scholars of cultural studies and cultural history confirms that the “populism” concept is not the exclusive property of the political scientist. Gary Cross (1993) has researched an episode in Britain of what he calls “cultural populism in the 1930s,” when a group of populists sought to connect intellectuals and the people. There was an established background to such thinking among 1920s writers such as Bertrand Russell and Lewis Mumford, labelled by Cross as “humanistic advocates of efficiency” (Cross, 1993, p. 62); also influential was US pioneering humanistic psychologist G. Stanley Hall’s vision of “vitalism,” a philosophy of being that was rooted in recognition of the “vital energy” of

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the human spirit (Meyer, 1971, p. 210). Above all, though, it was the Great Depression of 1929 that gave a huge impetus to the burst of populism and in Britain this included the Mass-Observation initiative that sought initially to reveal the realities of the life of working-class communities, and the Left Book Club. The general aim of such research and writing was to understand “the other,” as in novelist and writer J.B. Priestley’s interest in the everyday life of people. The football and the cinema were championed or defended. Sociologist Denys Hardy, writing in Sociological Review in 1934, saw the cinema as a source of extending one’s sympathies, so controlling “our subtler emotional life” and being reminded too of “the more interesting possibilities of living” (Cross, 1993, p. 64). Some commentators saw mass technology and consumer-led leisure as equalising, undermining social and cultural hierarchies; Englishman C. Delise Burns, in his 1932 study Leisure in the Modern World, understood free time and leisure activity as spheres in which workers could share the social spaces of leisure with the boss’s class. The ideas and aspirations were not matched by the cultural realities though, and “populist intellectuals did not build many bridges. Not only was the influence of this democratic impulse limited and brief, but it was itself riddled with ambiguity” (Cross, 1993, p. 66). Popular leisure was soon appropriated for commercial and political gain and conditions that created the prospect for cross-class alliance came and went but did not lead to any “permanent cultural rapprochement or the possibility of a democratic leisure culture beyond the marketplace” (Cross, 1993, p. 74). Cultural history has in this case shown the limitations of populist strategies by left-wing and progressive academics and commentators to harness new forms of leisure and consumption in a march towards a more equal society and culture. Cultural theorist Jim McGuigan has provided in his book Cultural Populism what he “intended as a sympathetic critique of cultural populism” (McGuigan, 1992, p. 1). In his opening chapter to what is essentially a tour de force trip through the genesis of Cultural Studies in the UK academic setting, he offered the following definition: “Cultural populism is the intellectual assumption, made by some students of popular culture, that the symbolic experiences and practices of ordinary people are more important analytically and politically than Culture with a capital C” (McGuigan, 1992, p. 4). Although in his overview he demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the usage of the term in political science, in its fundamental emphasis on the identification of relations between “the people” and commonly corrupt “elites,” his own definition is highly focused upon the populist elements that are said to characterise the approach of cultural studies scholars and likeminded critical analysts. This is really an epistemological and methodological critique – however sympathetic – and is not a line of inquiry or thematic emphasis followed or taken up in the studies that follow in this collection. Rather, contributors to this book start with the experiences and practices of institutions and people, including cultural powerbrokers and political

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figures, to ask how populist influences shape leisure experiences and practices, and sport cultures. From this selective overview of definitions of and debates around the term/concept populism we recognise that:    

Populism can be a construct across the political spectrum, straddling left- and right-wing political positions. Populism articulates a tension between a collectivity – usually a purported “people” – and an “elite.” Populism has operated at the level of an effective ideology in the profiles and policies of political leaders. Populism is powerfully mobilised in symbolic practices and discourse(s).

In the following subsection, to amplify the third of these points in particular, we consider a specific example of populism represented in the cultural and political realms of a single European country. Hungry for power: populism at work in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s Prime Minister from 1998 to 2002, and from 2010 to the time of writing having won a third consecutive term in 2018, has also held the leadership of the country’s far-right party Fidesz. Orbán has described the US President Donald Trump and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “the most courageous, the most dynamic and the most ready to effect change” of any politicians in the contemporary world (Walker & Boffey, 2020). He believes that Europe is “under attack from Muslim migrants,” and alleged that George Soros, the Jewish HungarianAmerican financier and philanthropist has plotted to destroy Europe. Orbán has attributed the achievement of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to the British people’s belief in democracy, and complemented Boris Johnson on winning power in December 2019 when “the whole world was against him,” including “the liberal left media, the global Soros network and all the tools of the pro-remain EU.” This is a typically populist pitch, to present the establishment institutions of a society as the (liberal) elite conspiring only for its own good, and to portray the figurehead who speaks or claims to speak for the relatively voiceless people as an heroic champion. This might be contradictory or absurd but coming from the mouth of Europe’s most institutionally embedded and politically legitimate but ruthless populist politician, it is also undeniably effective. Orbán embodies too the characteristics of the populist in identifying with forms of nationalism in his own country, in particular through the medium of football. Orbán is a football fanatic and he has indulged his enthusiasm and his passion for the sport in extraordinary forms of self-promotion and political, professional corruption. Molnar and Whigham (2019) provide a useful

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background to populist politics in Hungary and demonstrate the symbolic significance of Orbán’s interest in football as a strategic domestic and foreign investment that stretches well beyond the borders of the nation. David Goldblatt and Daniel Nolan gained access to this fantasy world of the Hungarian President when researching Orbán’s home-town football development project in the village of Felcsút, around 25 miles west of Budapest, home to a mere 1,800 residents (Goldblatt & Nolan, 2018). With just a couple of grocery stores in its single main street, Felcsút looked as anonymous as any of the multitude of quiet and inconsequential villages scattered across the Hungarian countryside landscape, until a cathedralesque stadium – “with a swooping shingled roof, copper turrets and ornate wooden vaults thrusting upward around the interior” – loomed into view. This was the Pancho Aréna, named after Hungary’s greatest footballer, Ferenc Puskás, nicknamed “Pancho” by the fans of his Spanish club Real Madrid. The arena is the home of Puskas Akadémia F.C., formed in 2007 during an interlude in Orbán’s political career and promoted to Hungary’s top tier of football a few years later. The small town itself cannot fill the stadium capacity of 3,800, but the Pancho Aréna is not designed as a facility for the local population alone. Hungarian oligarchs from the worlds of banking and construction arrive as guests of Hungary’s President, mingling with local and regional politicians whose status and riches have been enhanced by their proximity to the local boy risen to national prominence and power. Orbán himself, the magnet in this circle of powerbrokers and self-serving corruption, lived for some of his childhood in Felcsút and played for a local side in the fourth tier in the late 1990s during his first stint as President of the country. The Pancho Aréna is a vanity project that rivals egomaniacal projects such as William Randolph Hearst’s legendary Hearst Castle on California’s central coast. The Hungarian elite flocks to the ground on match days when it is anticipated that Orbán will be present. Members of the elite eagerly await Orbán’s arrival from his dacha a mere 20-minute drive away, looking to pitch massive infrastructural development projects and related plans to the President. The stadium’s skybox is more than a spectator facility; it is a venue for political business and dealmaking at the highest levels of the Hungarian political system. Goldblatt and Nolan (2018) argue that since returning to power in a populist electoral landslide in 2010, Orbán has “amassed more domestic power than any other EU leader”: He has rewritten Hungary’s constitution, filled the constitutional court with allies and made an erstwhile political colleague the chief public prosecutor. His supporters head thousands of previously independent bodies, including Hungary’s national bank, its election committees, cultural institutes and sporting federations. (Goldblatt and Nolan, 2018)

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These are the classic moves of a populist leader claiming to speak for and act on behalf of the people as a whole, and Orbán’s passion for football has given him a public persona that he exploits in the name of the national interest when projecting a revival of the once great footballing nation, the Magnificent Magyars of the 1930s and of Puskás’s prime in the 1950s. Hungary lost two World Cup Finals, one in 1938 in Paris in a 4–2 defeat to Mussolini’s Italy, and, as favourites, a second in Bern, Switzerland, in 1954 to a West Germany team itself incredulous after its 3–2 triumph following an 8–3 loss to Hungary in an earlier group game. Orbán’s commitment to the game is genuine, and he is said to watch up to six matches a day when his schedules permit. His first trip abroad as Prime Minister was to the 1998 men’s World Cup Final in Paris, and it is reported by inside sources that since then he has been at every World Cup and every UEFA Champions League Final. His closest political allies have prospered and in 2017 his childhood friend the mayor of Felsút, Lörinc Mészáros, who was also chairman of Puskás F.C., tripled his wealth and leapt to eighth in the Forbes list of Hungary’s richest individuals; on a single day, Mészáros bought up 192 regional newspapers. Concentration of power in the hands of a tight circle of powerbrokers in business and politics generates self-serving cycles of corruption, but figures such as Orbán can add a softer dimension to their image by a commitment to a popular practice such as football. He had played football in a five-a-side team of law-students in the late 1980s, along with two of his closest Fidesz activists, who were to stand alongside him in government 30 years later. And at the age of 35 he became, in 1998, Europe’s youngest Prime Minister and continued to revel in his sporting passion, one which continued unabated after his 2010 landslide. Numerous colleagues, supporters, and communities have benefited from the diversion of national funds into their own local football facilities and amenities. This is justified by apologists for the Orbán regime, as in the words of sport journalist and editor György Szöllösi: “Viktor Orbán wants to ‘make Hungarian football great again’.” Orbán has not had everything his own dictatorial way. Opposition to the focus upon sport and football has included a successful campaign in 2017, astutely entitled Nolimpia, that scuppered Fidesz’s proposed bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Budapest; and Supreme Court interventions have called for transparency on cash flows created by diversion of the taxable profits of corporations to cultural institutions and sport clubs. As is the case with many populists though, his views and visions transcend the opposition’s critique. Goldblatt secured a surprise interview – more accurately, audience – with Orbán at the Pancho Aréna, in which the football fanatic uttered what could be seen as a template for a Populist Charter for Sport: This academy – this kind of stadium and all the surroundings – it’s part of a concept. My concept, it’s my concept anyway, my concept is that

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football does not belong to business. Football belongs to art – look at the stadium, it is art […] The essence is art, the ball and the team. So that’s my concept, and this is the concept of the academy. Sooner or later we will set up the “Puskás Institute”, because here we have an academy, we have schools, so it’s a small universe. Now we have a team but we would like to set up a museum, an education centre and a publishing house also. For the people. (Goldblatt & Nolan, 2018) “For the people” – the inevitable populist refrain, chanted in its own “small universe.” Under Orban’s uninterrupted decade in power the state television has poured generous funds towards the Hungarian Football Association, a high percentage of profits from national football pools are directed to the sport, and national energy and utility companies were urged to commit to big sponsorship deals with clubs (Goldblatt, 2019). Also, since 2010, hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent on stadium redevelopment and/ or new stadia for all first and second division clubs in the country. It is though the kitsch grandeur of Obán’s hometown ground the Pancho Aréna, rarely filled for the football games, that provides Goldblatt with his antieulogy on Orbán’s grand vanity project: “Here, surely, is the finest architectural monument to populism and politics’ colonization of football. One can only hope, when Orbán is finally deposed and the money dries up, that it serves as well as a ruin” (Goldblatt, 2019, p. 268). In this book we show how throughout history and across the world populist figures have operated through the medium of sport and leisure spectacles and practices. These figures have crossed a spectrum of institutional politics, from fascism and Nazism to right-wing populism, and not least from dictatorships to democracies. Viktor Orbán’s Hungary is presented here as a quintessential case of how a democratically based populism can be transformed into, as Orbán himself put it, a state of “illiberal democracy;” in essence, an autocratic ideology anchored in dictatorial practices. In the chapters that follow, examples are given of individuals who have sought to mobilise a populist base and who have brought the sporting realm into play in their populist strategies. These include Benito Mussolini in Fascist Italy, Eva Perón in 1950s Argentina, Fidel Castro in communist Cuba, and Donald Trump in the US. That figures of such political extremities of the political spectrum can be mentioned in the same sentence is an indication of the potential reach of populism in politics, culture and (often national) discourse; and of the importance of understanding the place and potential role of leisure and sport in the strategies and discourse of aspirational and established populist leaders and figures. The volume has assembled a network of international scholars from across the humanities and the social sciences. Contributors have worked within an interdisciplinary framework to produce empirical studies and overviewing essays informing the

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debate on the socio-cultural and sociological significance of populist practices, institutions, and discourse.

Leisure, sport, and popular culture: populism at play The book is divided into three sections. This first chapter and the chapters that follow in Part 1, Themes, Concepts, Theories, cover a wide range of themes, contexts, and theories. In Chapter 2, Richard Gruneau considers how the concept of populism might contribute to the understanding of the contested politics of the popular, developing a comparative analysis of the profiles of Benito Mussolini and Donald Trump. In Chapter 3, Alan Tomlinson subjects selected discourses of sport and sport governance to analytical scrutiny, interrogating examples of the rhetoric of sport-based international non-government organisations (SINGOs) that underpins the practices and expressed values of international sport federations. The uses made of sport in associated populist discourse, such as in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, are also highlighted. In Chapter 4, Deborah Philips considers how popular television has provided vehicles for populist figures, both male and female, to thrive in a wider neo-liberal ideological context. Her analysis includes consideration of the gendered populist practices and discourse of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, and marketeers of the self, such as Katie Hopkins and Fiona Harrold in the UK. In Chapter 5, Michael Williams takes us beyond the realm of the sporting spectacle and into the sphere of the rock concert. Focusing upon elements of the performance and rhetoric of Bono, leader of the Irish band U2, he illuminates the previously neglected populist dimension of the rock genre in the context of the largest-scale world tour that the industry has (so far) known. Part 2, National Contexts and Settings, includes six chapters comprising detailed analyses of distinctive national contexts and settings; these include single historical case studies, comparative analysis of high-profile events, and overviews of historical periods. Jacob Bustad focuses in Chapter 6 upon the case of Greece, a country which some commentators suggest accelerated its way into the centre of the 2008 global economic crisis in the wake of a celebratory Summer Olympics in 2004. There is no single influence identified as the key causal factor in that slide into national bankruptcy; rather, Bustad demonstrates a form of cultural-political-economic interdependency that populism can foster, with dire consequences for the global economic order. In Chapter 7, Simon Martin explores continuities and discontinuities in the figure of the leader in Italian politics and sport, and identifies common elements in the selected examples: the use of populist claims to represent the people against a corrupt establishment, and the use of sport in promoting such claims. Chapter 8 focuses upon sport and music in Brazil through the 1930s, 40s and into the 50s, examining the populist profile and practices of the country’s president, Gétulio Vargas; Renata Toledo provides close

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scrutiny of Vargas’ populist strategies, which included the recognition of forms of music and sport and their contribution to the creation of a populist base in an extended nation-building project. In Chapter 9, Bryan Clift concentrates upon complementary aspects of the recent Brazil story, exploring the impact of the populist initiatives of left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his/their relationship to his successor, Dilma Rousseff; and considers in gender terms the nature and outcomes of these initiatives. Pablo Alabarces provides in Chapter 10 a sweeping overview of the populism/sport dynamic in the South American context. His central focus is on the Argentinian and Brazilian cases, showing how sport became a tool through which to build popular national narratives in which nations claimed to be the incarnation of a people, and sport stars became enshrined as the new heroes. The topic of Chapter 11 is the comparative analysis of the political motives and elements of populism underpinning the hosting of two (men’s) World Cups: England 1966 and Russia 2018. Alex Gillett and Kevin Tennent tie notions of the sublime to sport mega-events, demonstrating how respective national governments see in such events irresistible and populist-oriented opportunities to blend government and high-profile sport events in forms and moments of celebratory national identity. The third part of the book, Trump Times, explores the place of sport in the populist discourse, policies, and practices of the president of the US, Donald Trump. In Chapter 12, David Andrews and Ben Carrington examine the cultural politics whereby Trump employs political rhetoric to engage with sports in a deliberate and calculated form of authoritarian populism to produce a racialised imagined community in order to consolidate a white nationalist and neo-liberal political agenda. Stoking his electoral base with populist rhetoric, as Jules Boykoff demonstrates in Chapter 13, Trump has damned NFL players who were protesting against police violence and institutional racism. Boykoff shows how the “Twitterstorms” around such events act as a form of digital populism, and how populist discourse is deeply embedded in ideology. In Chapter 14, Dafna Kaufman looks at the meaning (s) of Lady Gaga’s performance at Super Bowl LI, arguing that the pop-star could convey through both voice and gesture a patriotic message to one audience and a subversive message to another: a “double articulation” with multiple populist consequences. Chapter 15 comprises an analysis of the background to the successful 2026 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Men’s World Cup United Bid, which awarded the hosting role to the US, Mexico, and Canada. Adam Beissel and David Andrews show how the conjunctural politics of the bid aligned with the wider “Trump sport assemblage”, and circulated populist appeals to unity and togetherness. The bid served Trump’s interests too in targeting his form of authoritarian populism at a key political constituency, the suburban voting bloc known as the Soccer Dad. Three of the chapters in this section confirm Trump’s sustained celebration of the white, male working-class stock-car

20 Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff

drivers of NASCAR. Trump targeted the sport throughout the late summer of 2017 and into the middle of the following year, and the chapters show in their distinct ways how Trump’s populist and racist nationalism could be articulated in the sporting sphere.

Populism: the sociological future of a concept In an Afterword to the book, we bring together the different strands of analysis and debate from the three sections. As a contribution to the British Sociological Association’s Sociological Futures list, we take the opportunity in the afterword to speculate on the future applications of theories and concepts of populism to the sociological sphere, and interdisciplinary fields such as leisure studies and sport studies in which a sociological dimension is recognised as central to the credibility and nurturing of the field. We would like the book as a whole to be seen as a contribution to wider recognition of the theme of populism as an important conceptual aid in sociological research and analysis, and especially in the sociological and social scientific study of leisure, sport, and popular culture. In The Oxford Handbook of Populism (Kaltwasser et al., 2017) there is barely a mention of sport and leisure, or music, in its global overview from internationally distinguished scholars of populism. A cultural mention might emerge should a populist political leader have a culturally prominent background – such as Filipino politician Joseph Estrada exploiting his movie-heroic image as downtrodden hero (Hellmann, 2017, p. 166). Yet, the way in which leisure cultures and sporting values have widely and frequently been situated as in alignment with a political message looks to have been largely unexplored. We suggest that embedded within populism is a capacity to reach into cultural forms, practices, and expressions across the leisure, entertainment, and mediated spectrum, which facilitates a translation through cultural and political boundaries. In this process, cultural forms, such as those expressed through popular television, media, and everyday practices, can provide frameworks that are ideal vehicles for the transmission and generation of populist world views. Populist constructions and discourses are by no means the preserve of male actors. As Mudde and Kaltwasser (2017, p. 220) acknowledged, “populism tends to foster a kind of ‘Macho’ politics”, but “little has been written about the relationship between populism and gender.” In reviewing much of the work conducted on gender and populism, Abi-Hassan (2017) in her contribution to The Oxford Handbook on Populism remarked that populist studies have focused almost exclusively on male leadership and conceptual definitions of populism often miss or ignore gendered discourse as intertwined with populism. AbiHassan, like Spierings et al. (2015), points to three key spheres in which a focus upon gender is essential for understanding the nature of populism: populist supporters, gendered representations, and the subordination of personal (gender) identity in populist discourse.

Populism, sport, leisure, popular culture


Three journal special issues have identified directions for research into the relationship between gender and populism. In Patterns of Prejudice, Spierings et al. (2015) examined populism and the radical right, predominantly in Europe. In Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Graff, Kapur, and Walters (2019) examined the rise of right-wing populism, often associated with a xenophobic and demagogic conservatism, which carries an explicit antagonism toward feminism residing at the heart of the Right’s value system and mobilised as a global political strategy. Löffler, Luyt, and Starck (2020) in NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, developed further understandings of gender and populism by focusing on “political masculinities,” or the ways in which a diversity of masculinities are enmeshed amongst political leadership. Collectively, and although they all acknowledge that not all right-wing orientations are populist, each issue demonstrated how rightwing politics have exerted a powerful presence on the relationships amongst gender, populism, and frequently conservativism. The articles in Löffler, Luyt, and Starck’s (2020) special issue on political masculinities “attest to the diverse configurations of populist political masculinities, but also to political actors’ versatile strategic employment of different repertoires of political masculinities for different purposes” (p. 7). Populism can confirm and challenge conventional gendered norms just as gender can confirm or challenge populism’s assumed left/right political orientation. Deborah Philips shows vividly in Chapter 4 that prominent populist discourse across the cultural sphere is neither exclusively male/ masculine nor female/feminine. What is clear in her collective scrutiny of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Alan Sugar, Michelle Dewberry, and Katie Hopkins is the need for gender to be part of the populist conversation. While populism would seem to advance particular forms of maleness/ masculinity, it is not the exclusive province of men, nor is hegemonic masculinity the singular formation of masculinity at work in populist performances and discourse. Kampwirth (2010, p. 1) placed gender at the centre of her analytical position on Latin America, arguing that populist politics is the politics of personality and has always been about gender, “about particular models of masculinity and femininity.” This argument is supported in this volume in Toledo’s Chapter 8 discussion of Brazil’s Getulio Vargas and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Clift’s Chapter 9 discussion of the gendered dynamics between Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, and Jair Bolsonaro. Regardless of one’s position on the precise place and influence of gender and populism, what cannot be denied is that it is a necessary part of the populism conversation. As the construction of the “good us” versus the “other” in populist discourse varies from country to country, understanding that formation requires a context-sensitive approach (Luyt & Starck, 2020), which Donà (2020) argues gender-based and intersectional approaches can help explain.

22 Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff

In this book, we give consideration to sport, leisure, and popular culture in relation to gender in several chapters, most explicitly in Chapter 4 on the place of populist discourse in the marketing of the self. In that chapter, Deborah Philips discusses Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and the Alan Sugar programmes, in ways that yoke together commerce, entrepreneurialism, popular entertainment, and specific masculine formations and expressions. The primacy of televisual forms to promulgate such articulations can similarly be read into Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire as a means of gaining political traction (Chapter 7) and their racial implications illustrated by Trump’s advancement as a white “saviour” within the American populace (Chapter 12). The importance of a gender perspective on populism is also illustrated in chapters on left-wing populist leaders (Chapter 9) and on the profile of popular music performers (Chapter 14). We also recognise the mediated populism of an event such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup staged in France in 2019. Populism cannot be simply assumed to be the terrain of powerful, political males. Feminist theory, gender studies, sociologists, and political scientists have much to offer toward a fuller, more adequate comprehension of the way that populism works across the cultural and political spectrums in our contemporary societies. Sociology has had relatively little to say on populist practices and discourse from the perspective of conceptually informed empirical studies. We are arguing that there is an urgent necessity for deeper and sustained work on populist themes across the leisure and popular cultural spheres. We hope therefore that the studies in this book will stimulate further sociological work in these areas, and in however small a way usher “populism” theory and concepts more prominently into the lexicon of sociology.

References Abi-Hassan, S. 2017. Populism and gender. In Kaltwasser, R., Taggart, P., Espejo, P., & Ostiguy, P. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Populism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 426–444. Allison, L. (ed.). 1986. The Politics of Sport. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. Allison, L. (ed.). 1993. The Changing Politics of Sport. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. Anderson, B. 1991 [1983]. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London, UK: Verso. Balch, O. 2019. How a populist president helped Bolivia’s poor – but built himself a palace. The Guardian, 7 March. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ 2019/mar/07/how-a-populist-president-helped-bolivias-poor-but-built-himself-a-palace. Barker, T. 2017. Calmly on the universal bugbear. New Left Review, 105, pp. 153–160. Briggs, A. 1965. Victorian People: A Reassessment of Persons and Themes 1851–1867. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books.

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Brohm, J. M. 1978. Sport: A Prison of Measured Time. Translated by Fraser, I. London, UK: Ian Links. Carey, J. 1987. The Faber Book of Reportage. London, UK: Faber & Faber. Conniff, M. L. 2012. Populism in Latin America (2nd ed.). Tuscaloosa, USA: The University of Alabama Press. Cross, G. 1993. Time and Money: The Making of Consumer Culture. London, UK: Routledge. D’Eramo, M. 2013. Populism and the new oligarchy. New Left Review, 82, pp. 5–27. D’Eramo, M. 2017. They, the people. New Left Review, 103, pp. 129–138. Davison, S., Featherstone, D., Rustin, M., & Schwarz, B. (eds). 2017. Stuart Hall: Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays. Durham, USA: Duke University Press. Donà, A. 2020. What’s gender got to do with populism? European Journal of Women’s Studies, 27 (3), pp. 285–292. Farage, N. 2020. Populism is just beginning. Newsweek, 29 January. Available at: http s://www.newsweek.com/farage-brexit-populism-just-beginning-trump-impeachm ent-nobody-laughing-now-1484705. Finchelstein, F. 2017. From Fascism to Populism in History. Oakland, USA: University of California Press. Frank, T. 2000. One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy. New York, USA: Doubleday. Goldblatt, D. 2019. The Age of Football: The Global Game in the Twenty-first Century. London: Macmillan. Goldblatt, D. & Nolan, D. 2018. Viktor Orbán’s reckless football obsession. The Guardian, 11 January. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/11/ viktor-orban-hungary-prime-minister-reckless-football-obsession. Goodwin, M. 2018. Why national populism is here to stay. New Statesman, 5–11 October, pp. 24–27. Graff, A., Kapur, R., & Walters, S. D. 2019. Introduction: gender and the rise of the global right. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44 (3), pp. 541–560. Greey, A. 2018. Queer inclusion precludes (black) queer disruption: media analysis of the Black Lives Matter Toronto sit-in during Toronto Pride 2016. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 662–676. Grix, J. 2015. Sport Politics: An Introduction. London, UK: Macmillan International Higher Education. Hall, S. 1986. Foreword. In Hargreaves, J. (ed.). Sport, Power and Culture: A Social and Historical Analysis of Popular Sports in Britain. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, pp. xi–xii. Hall, S. 1988. The Hard Road to Renewal. London, UK: Verso. Hargreaves, J. 1985. From social democracy to authoritarian populism: State intervention in sport and physical recreation in contemporary Britain. Leisure Studies, 4 (2), pp. 219–226. Hargreaves, J. 1986. Sport, Power and Culture: A Social and Historical Analysis of Popular Sports in Britain. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Hellmann, O. 2017. Populism in East Asia. In Kaltwasser, R., Taggart, P., Espejo, P., & Ostiguy, P. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Populism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 161–178. Hoberman, J. M. 1984. Sport and Political Ideology. Austin, USA: University of Texas Press.

24 Alan Tomlinson, Bryan C. Clift, and Jules Boykoff Houlihan, B. 1991. The Government and Politics of Sport. London, UK: Routledge. Judis, J. 2016. The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics. New York, USA: Columbia Global Reports. Kaltwasser, R., Taggart, P., Espejo, P., & Ostiguy, P. (eds.). 2017. The Oxford Handbook of Populism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Kampwirth, K., 2010. Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics. Pennsylvania, USA: Penn State Press. Kazin, M. 1998 [1995]. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. Ithaca, USA: Cornell University Press. Kumm, B. E. & Johnson, C. W. 2018. In the garden of domestic dystopia: racial delirium and playful interference. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 648–661. Laclau, E. 2005. On Populist Reason. London, UK: Verso. Löffler, M., Luyt, R., & Starck, K. 2020. Political masculinities and populism. NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, 15 (1), pp. 1–9. Luyt, R. & Starck, K. (2020). Only for the brave? Political men and masculinities: Change agents for gender equality. In Luyt, R. & Starck, K. (eds.), Masculine Power and Gender Equality: Political Masculinities as Change Agents. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 1–14. Mani, V. & Krishnamurthy, M. 2018. Making a locality: the politics of land and football in North Kerala. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 721–734. Marsili, L. 2018. National-populism: a new global model is born. Al Jazeera, 17 October. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/national-pop ulism-global-model-born-181016120021536.html. McGuigan, J. 1992. Cultural Populism. London, UK: Routledge. McKernan, B. 2019. From reformer to ‘new sultan’: Erdog˘ an’s populist evolution. The Guardian, 11 March. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/ 11/from-reformer-to-new-sultan-erdogans-populist-evolution. Meyer, D. H. 1971. The scientific humanism of G. Stanley Hall. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 11 (2), pp. 201–213. Moffitt, B. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation. Stanford, USA: Stanford University Press. Molnar, G. & Whigham, S. 2019. Radical right populist politics in Hungary: reinventing the Magyars through sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, online publication. doi:10.1 1177/1012690219891656. Mouffe, C. 2018. For a Left Populism. London, UK: Verso. Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C. 2012. Corrective and threat to democracy. In Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C. (eds.). Populism in Europe and the America: Threat or Corrective for Democracy?Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 205–222. Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C. R. 2015. Vox populi or vox masculini? Populism and gender in Northern Europe and South America. Patterns of Prejudice, 49 (1–2), pp. 16–36. Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C. 2017. Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Müller, J-W. 2016. What Is Populism?Philadelphia, USA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Navarro, R. T., Danielle T., & Simone, R. 2018. Public leisure space and communitybased action: the case of Praça de Bolso do Ciclista of Curitiba/Paraná/Brazil. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 747–762.

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Norris, P. 2016. It’s not just Trump. Authoritarian populism is rising across the West. Washington Post, 11 March. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/03/11/its-not-just-trump-authoritarian-populism-is-risingacross-the-west-heres-why/. Rooduijn, M. 2018. Why is populism suddenly all the rage? The Guardian, 20 November. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/political-science/ 2018/nov/20/why-is-populism-suddenly-so-sexy-the-reasons-are-many. Rosanvallon, P. 2007. La Contrademocracia: La Política en la Era de la Desconfianza. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Manantial. Shin, D. C. 1994. On the third wave of democratization: a synthesis and evaluation of recent theory and research. World Politics, 47 (October), pp. 135–170. Shirazi, N. & Johnson, A. 2018 ‘Populism’ – the media’s favorite catch-all smear for the left. Citations Needed podcast, 27 June. Available from: https://citationsneeded. libsyn.com/episode-42-populism-the-medias-favorite-catch-all-smear-for-the-left. Spierings, N., Zaslove, A., Mügge, L. M., & de Lange, S. L. 2015. Gender and populist radical-right politics: an introduction. Patterns of Prejudice, 49 (1–2), pp. 3–15. Thangaraj, S., Ratna, A., Burdsey, D., & Rand, E. 2018. Leisure and the Racing of National Populism. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 648–661. Vance, N. 2009. Kingsley, Charles: 1819–1875. In Goldman, L. (ed.) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Walker, S. & Boffey, D. 2020. Hungary for Brexit: Orbán praises Johnson and Trump. The Guardian, 9 January 2020. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2020/jan/09/hungary-for-brexit-orban-praises-johnson-and-trump. Whannel, G. 2008. Blowing the Whistle: The Politics of Sport (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. Wills, G. 1988. Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home. Harmondsworth, London: Penguin Books. Yearwood, G. M. H. 2018. Heritage as hate: racism and sporting traditions. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 677–691.

Chapter 2

Whither “the people?” Populism, ideology, and the contested politics of sport Richard Gruneau

Introduction In this chapter I explore the concepts of populism and “the people,” linking them to ideology, hegemony, and the making of modern sport in Western liberal-capitalist democracies. While populism is widely seen as a useful way to understand oppositions between “the people” and elites, I am particularly interested here in what happens when self-styled populist political leaders actually govern, ostensibly on the people’s behalf. To illustrate this, I consider two examples of self-styled populist leaders from different eras – Benito Mussolini and Donald Trump – that have used sport to promote narrow, ideologically laden, conceptions of “the people.” Through these examples I argue that the concept of populism on its own does not provide a comprehensive understanding of political and cultural struggles in sport today, nor does it provide adequate guidelines for oppositional political strategies.

On populism, ideology, sport, and “the people” Discussions of populism have been around for over a century, usually in reference to political movements aimed at arousing the purportedly virtuous or aggrieved people in opposition to elites, established institutions, and governments. Even the most cursory survey reveals huge variation about what the term populism precisely means. Social movements against rural poverty, the banking system, land speculators, and rail companies in nineteenth and early twentieth century North America are among the most widely cited past examples of populism (e.g., Laycock, 1990; McMath Jr., 1993; Formisano, 2008). Other frequently noted examples are found in Latin American history, when oppositional alliances of subordinate classes and indigenous peoples have challenged ruling oligarchies in the name of “the people” (e.g., Conniff, 1999; Laclau, 1979; Laclau, 2007). In sorting through such examples three quite different approaches to the meaning of the term emerge: a critical attitude based on the refusal to acknowledge the political legitimacy of power; an expression of identifiable social movements against

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power; and a distinctive mode of governing in power, where a charismatic leader claims to speak on behalf of “the people.” Archetypical examples of the latter are Juan Perón in Argentina, and Getúlio Vargas in Brazil, at varying times through the 1940s and early 1950s and, more recently, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Conceptual imprecision may not be the greatest difficulty with the concept of populism. As Ernesto Laclau (2007, p. 3) suggests, its meaning is muddled further by a tendency to sit “midway between the descriptive and the normative.” Criticisms of allegedly populist attitudes and movements often imply ethical condemnation and condescension – the irrational reactions of people prone to be manipulated by political demagogues, versus the rational ideals of law and civic life imagined by elites and promoted by administrative power. Instead, Laclau prefers to define populism as a mobile series of “demands” from oppressed or marginalised groups, with implications for broader political and ideological struggles. He does not view ideology in the way that mainstream political scientists often see it – as a distinctive political philosophy such as fascism or Soviet communism. Building on ideas he traces back to the early twentieth century Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, Laclau is interested in how popular demands often take a “discursive” form. For Laclau, populism is best understood as a key element in discursive struggles over the creation and maintenance of cultural leadership, the “common sense,” that supports the hegemony of a dominant bloc of social class alliances, which often include regional, ethnic, and political party interests. He sees populism as a condition where demands from subaltern groups are articulated through discursive strategies meant to undermine hegemony, by constructing a “political frontier” between “the people” and the “power bloc” (cf., Hall, 1986). Viewing populism as a facet of broader discursive struggles involving ideology is an attempt to move discussion of the concept away from normative anchorage. Because populism is assumed to lack a coherent philosophical/ideological core, its meaning depends on an articulation with other political and ideological projects. It is in this sense that Stuart Hall analyses “authoritarian populism” in the late 1970s as a key aspect of Thatcherism, with its seemingly contradictory assembly of radical neoliberal, anti-labour, initiatives with a centralising statist law and order agenda (Hall, 1979). By the same logic, Chantal Mouffe (2018) has argued more recently that “left populism” is needed to counter the right-wing variants that have sprouted over the past two decades. One key element of any critical analysis of populism is the ideological use of the concept of “the people” as a unified abstraction. I say ideological because “the people” do not exist as a unified sociological or political entity in any Western nation state. Divisions in age, gender, as well as in the social construction of class, race, ethnicity, language, religious difference, sexual identity and preference complicate the nature of demands and can blur the

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lines of any political frontier. The ebb and flow of colonial incursions and migrations across much of the world over the past millennium has substantially increased the complexity of popular demands in modern nation states. However, in marking out their political frontier, self-professed populists typically ignore or mask these complexities. They do this through the use of crude binaries, wherein “the people,” and those who claim to represent them, differentiate themselves from “others” who are variously depicted as elites, outsiders, aliens, experts, rulers, or subversives. Populism’s political frontier is necessarily built upon self-defined contrasts between, “who belongs” and “who doesn’t,” “who exploits and who doesn’t,” “who is deserving” and “who isn’t” or even “who is good” and “who is bad.” I believe this raises serious questions about the strategic viability of challenging “authoritarian populism” with, say, “left” or “progressive” populism. In addition to leaving too much out of account, the risk is that such simplistic binaries will either be crudely reproduced or replaced with new dualisms that are no less problematic. Moreover, by claiming to embody the “will of the people,” and by bringing the organs of the state into a defence of their preferred understanding of “who the people are,” once self-styled populists of any political stripe attain power they can easily slide into antidemocratic discourse and autocracy. This is not the place to undertake an extended historical discussion of the concept of “the people” as a coherent social or cultural entity. There are ancient antecedents to the idea: in the origins of monotheistic religions, where god exists in contrast to human commonality; in ancient GrecoRoman distinctions between “citizens” and “barbarians;” in the distinctions between exclusive aristocratic rights and those of the “commons;” and in the contrast between tribal or local customs, communal linguistic and ethnic identities, and those seen to come “from afar.” More notably for the discussion at hand, a view of “the people” as a distinctive entity, imbued with inherent rights, accompanied the push in Europe and the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries for democratic government and accompanying political structures, rules of law, and rights of citizens. Yet, even here, there has never been consensus in Western liberal-capitalist democracies about “who” actually count as “the people.” For much of the past two centuries, the legal definition of “the people” did not include slaves, indigenous groups, the political rights of women, or of those whose languages, cultures, sexuality or sexual preference were viewed as outside the norm (cf., Macpherson, 1992; Rancière, 2017; Taylor, 2019). As demands from oppressed and marginalised groups gained legitimacy – for greater human rights, legal, and political recognition, or allocations of greater resources – established powers often fought hard to limit their scope. The project of defining “the people” in liberal-capitalist democracies has always been a contested ideological terrain. In such struggles, marginalised or oppressed groups have sometimes made

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significant political gains but have also often been vilified, their victories compromised, tenuous, and partial. The history of liberal-capitalist democracies is thus riddled with antinomies: the positive ideal of democratic universality of “the people” versus fear of the “masses”; the celebration of democratic rationality versus condemnation of the irrational “mob”; the dream of free markets, free speech, and free assembly versus the reality of enduring institutionalised oppression, to name just a few. The making of liberal-capitalist democratic states over the past two centuries has featured a range of social and political projects meant to offset such antimonies, mostly by promoting reason, new collective identities, and modes of social integration. Civic rituals, political spectacles, and other signifiers of collective life, such as uniforms, anthems, and flags, have typically been pressed into the service of such projects. The invention of modern sport as its own unified abstraction, supported by a distinctive field of practice and institutional organisation, was a constitutive feature of these developments. It is a matter of common sense today that the term “sport” refers to competitive physical contests of various types, including institutionalised games, such as baseball, football, and basketball, and individual physical contests such as boxing, track and field, swimming or ski racing. Still, this seemingly benign question about categorisation – what counts as a sport and what does not – is more complex than it seems. Debates about it come up all the time, for example, when someone argues that chess is a sport, or video gaming. Debate intensifies and quickly becomes more politically charged in discussions whether blood sports such as cockfighting, bull fighting, or fox hunting can legitimately be called sports. Such debates open a window to a much larger issue: that is, how the emergence of a widely agreed upon social definition of sport in nineteenth century Europe and the Americas – as well as attempts to create sport as a distinctive and autonomous field of practice – were contested, historically, sociologically, and geographically. Tensions arose not only around what activities should be considered as legitimate sport, but also around how these practices should be organised and regulated; the kinds of behaviours that are appropriate in sport and the social/political philosophies that should govern them; the types of spaces appropriate for sport; and the kinds of bodies that should be included in sport (cf., Bourdieu, 1978; Gruneau, 2017). A uniquely modern understanding of sport, as something rational, institutionally autonomous and (ideally) insulated from politics and society, developed during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The extent to which this occurred was uneven, blurred by tensions between social reformers and capitalist entrepreneurs who promoted sport for profit, and was strongly shaped by the oppressive contours of class, gender, race, heteronormativity, and colonialism. Nonetheless, it is impossible to discount the extent to which debates about emerging definitions of legitimate sport, appropriate behaviours in sport, and the social value of sport, were influenced through

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the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by new conceptions of “the people” as civilised, rational, citizens with broadly shared rights, collective identities, and values. Not surprisingly, such debates were riddled by many of the same antinomies that characterised Western liberal democracies themselves. Longstanding suspicion of the inherently irrational natures of “the masses,” the “lower orders,” women, non-whites, and indigenous peoples, surfaced notably in attempts to submit the fledgling field of modern sporting practice to various programmes of regulation, repression and reform, often leading to simmering resentments. Some activities were made illegal – such as animal blood sports – while others were selectively abandoned, modified, or “civilised.” Examples of the latter include bare knuckle prize fighting; the ball games popular in rural communities and among lower classes; and games played by indigenous groups in former colonies. The urge for regulation and reform was bolstered as teams and athletes increasingly acted as representatives of different communities and dramatised conflicts between them, prompting fears of irrational violence and social unrest. Yet, the intense emotions associated with athletes and teams as representatives of differing communities was proving to be a major factor in sport’s growing popularity, both in its non-commercial and increasingly commercialised forms. This often horrified promoters of “civilised” sport; but as athletes and teams began to travel internationally, athletic contests and sports heroes revealed strong symbolic connections to burgeoning nationalist and colonial ambitions, strengthening their legitimacy. By the late 19th century, similar to the case of International Exhibitions, sporting competitions were drawn into contradictory tensions between liberal modernist dreams of cosmopolitanism and internationalism on the one hand, and the accelerating ambitions of individual nation states on the other (cf., Roche, 2000; Gruneau, 2017). Beginning in the early 20th century, self-styled populist authoritarian leaders, such as Mussolini and Hitler, exploited the nationalist side of this tension in pursuit of anti-democratic, imperialist, and racist agendas.

Claiming to make the people/nation great (again): Mussolini and Trump During his imprisonment by Mussolini in the 1920s, Antonio Gramsci wrote in his Notebooks that the formation of any given set of political, economic, and cultural alliances into a “historical bloc” of power required appeals to popular consent (Gramsci, 1971, p. 168). Hegemony was an expression of the capacity of the bloc’s alliance of social classes, political parties and other supporting groups to form a coherent set of ideas, viewpoints, and ideological agendas, turning them into apparent “common sense.”

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This required a cadre of intellectuals – authors, journalists, poets, academics, musicians, and artists – working either consciously or unconsciously to promote and naturalise the dominant social, cultural and political order. It also required the presence of coercive state institutions, such as courts, police, and the military, necessary to police resistance and oppose the breakdown of any hegemonic formation. For Gramsci, hegemony may involve a struggle over common sense and consent, but he also recognised how it is “armored by coercion” (Gramsci, 1971, p. 263). Interwoven with the cultural battle to define and represent “the people” is control over the levers of economic and state power, including those of the courts, the police and the military. Gramsci’s arrest in 1926, and subsequent imprisonment by Mussolini is a graphic demonstration of that point. Many early 20th-century communist leaders in Europe, including both Lenin and Gramsci, saw the struggle to build new conceptions of “the people” and new anti-capitalist “national wills” as issues of paramount importance. The First World War (WW1) was a major historical turning point, a conjuncture, where Europe’s most powerful nineteenth century empires were either destroyed or eroded and the future form of preferred social organisation was yet uncertain. The result, according to Gramsci (1971, pp. 275–276), was an “organic crisis” where, due to a balance of contending forces, “the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” “In the interregnum,” Gramsci concluded, “a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Yet, in Italy, it was Mussolini, not Gramsci, who achieved power after the war, first appearing to socialists as one of the “morbid symptoms” Gramsci predicted, but later triumphing as an authoritarian fascist dictator. After founding the Italian Fascist party in 1919, Mussolini built a power base through a program of violence and propaganda meant to challenge what he claimed were the weaknesses of democracy and the dangers of Bolshevism (Mussolini, 1928). Urban and rural factions initially splintered Italian fascism but, under Mussolini, fascists found common cause in a discourse that exploited the economic, political, and cultural uncertainties of the times. Fascism was especially successful in articulating its political agenda with older ideological discourses and affective identities associated with conservative Catholic visions of the patriarchal family and nostalgic longing for the greatness of Roman Imperial power. Mussolini proposed fascism as a new kind of spirituality based on devotion to the State, through which “the people” would be saved from erroneous ideas, values, and political views, thereby forming a new cohesive unity. Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi (1997) highlights how Italian fascist ideological discourse emphasised strength more than democratic compromise, unity rather than difference, certainty rather than uncertainty, as well as the importance of a strongly masculine leader capable of infusing Italy with vitality and purpose. In cultural terms, fascism borrowed from modernist movements of the day, such as Futurism, to promote a modernism of action, regeneration,

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vitality, speed, and force, in opposition to modernist social projects that stressed rationality, refinement, or individual improvement (cf., Connor, 2009). Mussolini was able to successfully merge such ideas with political leadership by appealing to existing class interests, while representing himself overall as a patriarchal father figure for the nation. In actuality, his was an ideologically narrow, anti-democratic conception of the nation built on extolling the values of family and homeland while fulminating against “traitors,” “radicals,” and “outsiders.” Drawing on late 19th-century theories of mass psychology outlined in France by Gustav Le Bon, Mussolini rejected the positive democratic conception of the “people” in favour of a more negative view of “the masses,” which he saw as materials to be “shaped” in the fashion of an artist. “When I feel the masses in my hands,” he argued, “I feel one with the masses” (cited in Falasca-Zamponi, 1997, p. 21). However, by seeing himself as an artistic moulder of the masses, Mussolini elevated himself above the Italian multitude. In this way, a self-professed “man of the people,” demonstrated his aversion to them. This was partly tied to his view of how deeply socialism, bolshevism, and “false” dreams of equality and democracy, had spread through Italy after the War. Mussolini’s view was also influenced by Gustav Le Bon’s claims about the irrationality and allegedly feminine nature of crowds. As Falasca-Zamponi (1997, p. 234) notes, a view of the multitude as spiritually female “legitimized the guiding role” of a paternalistic male political leader in a manner similar to a father leading the family, guiding and curbing the excesses and mistakes of his children. Mussolini viewed liberal democracy as one of these mistakes. Democracy was timid, conciliatory, and weak, versus the stronger, aggressive, courageous, and “manly” character of the fascist state. Fascism’s emphases on action, patriarchal virility, and affective political spirituality were promoted and institutionalised through war and spectacle. In the latter case, Mussolini embraced the idea of aestheticising politics through mass political rallies, celebrations, and sporting events. If the masses were not inherently rational, they “needed to be governed with enthusiasm more than pragmatic interest. The mystical side needed to be taken into account […]” (cited in Falasca-Zamponi, 1997, p. 25). Mussolini developed an attraction to sport because he believed it dramatised values of strength, speed, and action that he saw as central to the fascist worldview. In addition, sport promised to unite the nation in a singular project, prepare and train bodies for war, and project the strength and success of fascism abroad (cf., Goldblatt, 2008, p. 307). The fascist aestheticisation of politics depended upon the organisational incorporation of all areas of civil society and culture into the apparatuses of the state. In Italian football, for example, post-war teams with strong connections to socialist or religious organisations were dissolved and government representatives “were put in charge of the more recalcitrant or significant clubs.

Whither “the people?”


Professionalization was hidden and state subsidized, and the actual playing of sport was wrapped in a discourse of super-nationalism” (Goldblatt, 2008, p. 307). More importantly, fascists matched these organisational initiatives with the promotion of myths and aesthetic imagery meant to provide intense emotional experiences. The Italian masses thus became “at the same time part of fascist spectacle and fascism’s spectatorship” (Falasca-Zamponi, 1997, p. 25). Walter Benjamin (1968) famously made a similar point in the case of Nazi Germany. In his view, fascist spectacle offered the masses a chance to express themselves at the expense of more meaningful political and economic changes. Italy’s hosting of the 1934 football World Cup provides an important illustration. As Goldblatt (2008) points out, Mussolini’s regime sought to display “an array of exemplary stadiums offering architectural homage to Fascism’s Roman pretensions and Futurist aesthetics” (p. 255). Aestheticisation was accentuated by the tournament’s poster design, crafted by the prominent Futurist, Tomasso Marinetti. Goldblatt (2008, p. 255) claims that 100,000 copies of the poster were printed “and the emblematic juxtaposition of ball and the regime’s favoured fasces insignia was reproduced over a million times on the cigarette packets of the state tobacco monopoly.” The event was also celebrated through a special issue of postage stamps featuring “sparkling stadiums and soaring airplanes.” In addition, Mussolini narcissistically awarded the team an additional special trophy at the tournament in his name, the Coppa Del Duce. Mussolini consciously used Italian success in football to celebrate the fascist movement, cement his imagined connection to the masses, and promote the legitimacy of fascist government as a matter of common sense. In keeping with fascism’s ideological lionisation of “action” and penchant for war, Italy’s World Cup victory seemed to embolden Mussolini’s Imperial ambition. Within a year Italy invaded Ethiopia, to considerable international condemnation. Italian footballers won again at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, in a Nazi environment highly supportive of Italian fascism. Mussolini put intense pressure on the team to win two years later at the World Cup in France, an event where the Italians were met with mass anti-fascist protests. Mussolini insisted that team uniforms for this event would be fascist black and that players begin games with the defiant gesture of the single armed upraised fascist salute (Martin, 2018). Mussolini also infamously telegraphed the team urging them to “win or die,” although there is some debate about whether the threat was literal or metaphorical. To modify a contemporary expression by Donald Trump, one might say, through statism, war, and football, Mussolini was claiming to “make Italy great again.” There is a huge gulf of time and geography between Benito Mussolini and Donald Trump and it would be misleading to overdraw similarities between their political discourses, including their use of sport for ideological ends. Still, there are important historical parallels. For one thing, similar to the

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immediate post-WW1 era, the liberal-capitalist West is currently experiencing a period of uncertainty. Following the collapse of Soviet communism in 1991 there was an approximately 10- to 15-year period filled with declarations of the “end of history,” social progress, and the inevitability of neoliberal capitalist globalisation. Nancy Fraser (2017) suggests this time ironically combined growing economic inequality with progressive advances; as formerly marginalised sectors of “the people” – for example, feminist groups and LGBTQ+ communities – fought for and won greater legitimacy and inclusion. Through the 1990s and early 2000s, Fraser argues, “progressive neoliberalism” became a significant ideological plank in the Western political wing of international capitalism. However, through the first decade of the 2000s, liberal-capitalist democracies were encountering a new organic crisis, filled with social unrest and ideological backlash. Wars and revolutions in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, as well as a wave of terrorist attacks in the United States (US) and Europe, prompted armed interventions in Kuwait, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. To escape widespread death and destruction, economic, and political chaos, millions of refugees sought asylum in Europe and the Americas. Elsewhere, political turmoil, endemic violence, and poverty in Latin America added dramatically to immigrant applications and refugee claims in the US. Over a similar time, the lower tax regimes and austerity programs adopted by neoliberal governments, the global economic crisis of 2008, and the growth of unrestrained capitalist oligarchy in Eastern Europe, widened the gap between rich and poor, leading many to question the value of liberal-capitalist democracy. As if all this wasn’t enough, the spread of technical internationalism through international trade agreements, and organisations such as the European Union, were posing new challenges to the strength of independent national institutions. This was occurring, ironically, at the very moment that the global threat of climate change was creating greater pressures to find international solutions. Furthermore, the neoliberal deregulation of media industries, the spread of digital technologies, and a new wave of corporate concentration in the early 21st century, were radically reshaping Western media systems. Unregulated commercial cable news platforms catering to niche political viewpoints proliferated, and new digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – as well as opinion sharing websites such as Reddit, 4Chan, and 8Chan – were creating a veritable storm of competing, often factually incorrect, information, news narratives, conspiracy theories, and scapegoating. This is the new context in which Nancy Fraser (2019) has recently recalled Gramsci’s post-WW1 comment that: “The old is dying and the new cannot be born.” It is also the context in which one must situate discussion of recent populist political movements such as the gilets jeune in France, as well as political successes of right-wing self-styled populist political movements in

Whither “the people?”


Europe and the Americas that play on widespread feelings of fear and distrust. While there are important differences between such movements in Europe and the US, Donald Trump’s Presidency has undoubtedly tapped into some of these feelings (e.g., Kellner, 2016). Trump, a capitalist plutocrat from a wealthy family, is not a 20th-century Benito Mussolini, a man who distanced himself from his working-class origins, and youthful socialist activism, to become a fascist dictator. Nor does Trump appear to be guided by a consistent political philosophy or strategic vision, other than to act on vanity and reactionary impulses based on perceived personal threats and what he imagines his core supporters expect of him. Furthermore, at the end of WW1, Italy was a fragile and comparatively new democracy that Mussolini was able to undermine effectively through a combination of organised violence, anti-communist propaganda, and the promise of cultural renewal. In contrast, the US, however imperfect, has been a functioning democratic constitutional republic for more than two centuries. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 and his election was arguably influenced by a combination of foreign electoral interventions on social media, as well as urban-rural inequities built into the US Electoral College system. For these reasons his election speaks more to the ongoing presence of deep political division in the US, even among the ruling class (e.g., Timcke, 2018), than to an ascendant radical right-wing consensus. Still, Trump’s racist polemics against immigrants, hostility to internationalism, partisan interventions in the justice system, and “Make America Great” motifs, are strongly reminiscent of Mussolini’s fascist playbook. Both leaders are narcissistic, patriarchal, historical figures harbouring misogynistic and racist agendas. Both have backgrounds in media, Mussolini in journalism and Trump in reality television, which presumably helped them to understand the power of affective politics based on belonging and identity. Both adopt an approach to leadership built on personal loyalty and disdain for democratic institutions, and both imagine political life as a contest between “strong” and “weak,” loyalist “patriots” and disloyal “traitors.” Similarly, both leaders show disdain for the separation of powers in government and the rule of law. Both are also suspicious of independent journalism and the free flow of ideas and opinions, Mussolini through political censorship via statisation of Italian media, and Trump through frequent criticisms of the “fake news media” as “enemies of the people.” Both Mussolini and Trump built power bases on the mobilisation of fear, uncertainty, and ridicule to promote authoritarian, racist, and anti-cosmopolitan agendas. To achieve this, they both adopt narrow definitions of who count as “the people,” excoriating immigrants, alleged socialists, and anyone else who disagrees with their preferred understanding of the nation. Lastly, both leaders use sport to legitimise reactionary anti-democratic conceptions of “the people” as part of their political vision.

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Nonetheless, Donald Trump has not been able to aestheticise politics quite the way that Mussolini did. Sport in the US remains more closely connected to civil society than to the state. And here, political references are already everywhere; for instance, in the playing of the national anthem before games, as well as omnipresent flags, and other military symbols of sacrifice and dedication to the nation. Trump’s interventions have focused on claims to “defend” the nation’s symbols against allegedly “unpatriotic” acts and athletes. His attacks on anti-racist protests made by Colin Kaepernick and other black players who kneeled during the opening ceremonies of games are perhaps the most notable of many examples, considered and discussed in contributions to Part Three of this volume. By attacking black athletes as unpatriotic and ungrateful Trump outlines the contours of a right-wing populist political frontier by reinforcing a racist conception of “the people.” His thinly veiled portrayal of black athletes’ protests against racism and police violence as illegitimate, not only devalues their anger at grotesque racial injustice, it simultaneously reinforces discourses of white fear, backlash, and resentment – discourses overtly promoted and recycled online and through Fox News. By casting black athletes as villains in a populist drama involving allegedly “grateful” and “ungrateful” athletes, “good people” and “bad people,” this discourse frames black athletic bodies within the spirit of the Jim Crow in the defence of white superiority (cf., Andrews, 2019). The capitalist character of the US sport and media systems has both reinforced these tendencies and partially undermined them. I agree with Dave Zirin (2017) who argues that National Football League (NFL) team owners conspired to deny Colin Kaepernick employment following his vilification by Trump and right-wing media commentators, overlooking him repeatedly while teams regularly signed inferior quarterbacks. NFL owners paid lip service to the idea that players have a right to protest, but not surprisingly took the side of the President, claiming the need to stand up for “patriotism,” as well as fearing the losses of ratings and sponsors. However, markets can sometimes act in a contradictory ways and Nike soon signed Kaepernick to a successful sponsorship deal, aiming to profit from his image of rebellious authenticity. Elsewhere, the National Basketball Association (NBA) which has also built “woke” motifs into its marketing, has been more ambivalent than the NFL about black athlete protests. But Trump has shown little tolerance for protests by black basketball players. For example, when Stephen Curry and a few of his teammates on the Golden State Warriors suggested they would not attend an invitation to the White House to celebrate their league championship, Trump took to Twitter to publicly “uninvite” the team. He also took issue on Twitter with critical political comments made by US Women’s National Soccer Team star, Megan Rapinoe, who emerged during the 2019 Women’s World Cup as one of the most widely discussed athlete-

Whither “the people?”


critics of the President. In Major League Soccer (MLS) the league appears to have been influenced by Trump’s critique of protests in sport by issuing a ban on political displays in stadiums. Yet, when this rule was applied to Seattle and Portland fans’ use of an anti-fascist “Iron Front” political symbol in the stands, several weeks of protest forced the league to rescind its decision (Murray, 2019).

Conclusion With his Presidency mired in controversy, Trump may well end up as a short-lived “morbid symptom” of the current crisis. But he has consistently shown an ability to gain support from more than 40% of the US electorate and, despite his failure to win re-election, his Presidency has added new legitimacy to undercurrents of racism, authoritarianism, hyper-nationalism, and isolationism in US politics. With a nod to Mussolini’s Italian fascist era, Timcke (2018) refers to Trumpism as “American Caesarism.” The US drift to the political far right is also consistent with populist trends in Europe and parts of South America that feature widespread distrust of established institutions and the growth of reactionary political factions that stoke fears of uncontrolled immigration. Increasingly there is an ugly racist side to such fears, evident in a retrenchment of xenophobic nativism, a resurfacing of neo-Nazi tropes about imagined threats of “Jews”, “world government” and the eventual “replacement” of white European cultures by non-white hordes. Sport is unavoidably caught up in this international drift to the political right as well as in critical reactions to it. Beyond Trump’s use of sport to fight ideological battles, other examples are evident in the deep attractions that sporting stadia and events hold for promoting the policies of antidemocratic strongmen, such as Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Vladimir Putin in Russia, and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Examples are also evident in an upsurge in racist chanting in football stands in many places in Europe, the increasing display of fascist symbols in some stadia, and the inability or unwillingness of national associations, or FIFA, to stamp out either occurrence. Like fascist Italy or Nazi Germany in the 20th century, sports stadia, events, and arenas today are prominent sites where racist, hyper-nationalist, and patriarchal, ideological discourses are entrenched. But they are also places where those who feel a need to stand up for equality, social justice, and democracy can sometimes challenge these discourses. By posing the major tension of our times as disaffection with elites, the concept of populism directs attention to the significance of such agonistic political struggles and the “frontiers” they create. But the concept of populism alone cannot account meaningfully for the complexity of such struggles and frontiers. For example, populism is far too imprecise to differentiate between groups today who share critiques of experts and elites, yet pose quite different demands, such as flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, climate change

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deniers, or fascist soccer “ultras.” More importantly, the concept of populism does not provide sufficient insight into how and why some, but not other, self-defined populist leaders are able to successfully link narrow conceptions of “the people” to a broader ensemble of ideological discourses that legitimise autocracy, misogyny, racism, and capitalist oligarchy. With this in mind, I have focused in this chapter on how unified conceptions of “the people” and “sport” have always been intertwined with broader struggles over ideology and hegemony, including allocations of rights and resources, recognition, inclusion, and democratic participation. Comparisons of Mussolini’s and Trump’s interventions in sport provide a glimpse of some of these ongoing connections and struggles. Current times require a more urgent defence than ever of the argument that sport in liberal-capitalist societies can never truly represent a national culture in its entirety, let alone any concept of “national will.” On the contrary, any fully democratic conception of sport will necessarily emphasise variety and difference over one-dimensionality and closure. It is more accurate to acknowledge that sport, and national popular cultures more broadly, are terrains where often-politicised fractions of “the people” struggle for respect, recognition, and political legitimacy – and where dominant forces often push back against these struggles. Recognition of this point requires vigilance over the deliberate manipulation of abstractions where imagined popular will is conflated with the interests of any one political leader and his or her association with a nation state. As numerous commentators have pointed out (e.g., Mosse, 2001; Paxton, 2015), and as I have explored here, reactionary conservative agendas thrive and grow through culture wars, typically in ways that deflect attention from material inequalities and injustices. For this reason, analysing populist clashes over identities and symbols today requires renewed focus on the shifting dynamics of accumulation in liberal-capitalist life, and how economic and political forces have been pressed into the defence of autocracy and capitalist oligarchy. Examples variously include unequally felt government austerity, corporate de-regulation, voter suppression, political gerrymandering, attacks on the democratic separation of powers in government, and a widespread assault on independent journalism. Over the past half-century, reactionary forces in the West have worked hard to forge an infrastructure in media, government, and the courts to advance their economic and political interests, aiming to make them into both law and common sense. Right-wing think-tanks funded by billionaires, advocacy groups, and lobbyists, along with conservative takeovers of prominent media outlets, have all played important roles in shaping and limiting forums through which particular identities are reinforced and the articulation of demands are framed. The political promise of populism has always been to articulate an emancipatory conception of “the people” in opposition to the whims of wealthy landowners, giant corporations, oligarchs, financiers, and autocrats – in

Whither “the people?”


other words, to imagine a more inclusive and fairer alternative to the way things are. The appropriation and perversion of this promise by self-defined populist autocrats over the past century is now being repeated in ways that pose new challenges to contemporary democratic life and culture, sport included. Accordingly, I believe that one of the most pressing questions in the politics of early 21st-century sport is to ask whether a defence of progressive neoliberal capitalism will be enough to hold off the advances of renewed authoritarian populism, neo-fascism, and Caesarism? Or, will this require a more democratic reimagining of both sport and “the people” as part of an attempt to build a newly progressive anti-capitalist common sense?

References Andrews, D. L. 2019. Making Sport Great Again: The Uber-Sport Assemblage, Neoliberalism and the Trump Conjuncture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Benjamin, W. 1968. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In Arendt, H. (ed.). Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Translated from German by Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, pp. 166–195. Bourdieu, P. 1978. Sport and social class. Social Science Information, 17 (6), pp. 819–840. Conniff, M. 1999. Populism in Latin America. Tuscaloosa, AB: The University of Alabama Press. Connor, S. 2009. Sporting Modernism. An expanded version of a talk. 14 January 2009, Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex. Available at: http:// stevenconnor.com/sportingmodernism/sportingmodernism.pdf. Falasca-Zamponi, S. 1997. Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Formisano, R. P. 2008. For the People: American Populist Movements from the Revolution to the 1850s. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Fraser, N. 2017. Progressive neoliberalism versus reactionary populism: a Hobson’s choice. In Geiselberger, H. (ed.). The Great Regression. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 40–48. Fraser, N. 2019. The Old is Dying and the New Cannot be Born: From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump and Beyond. London: Verso. Goldblatt, D. 2008. The Ball is Round. New York: Riverhead Books. Gramsci, A. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Translated from Italian by Smith, G. N. and Hoare, Q. New York: International Publishers. Gruneau, R. 2017. Sport and Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Hall, S. 1979. The great moving right show. Marxism Today, 23(1), pp. 14–20. Hall, S. 1986. Popular culture and the State. In Bennett, T.Mercer, C., & Woollacott, J. (eds.). Popular Culture and Social relations. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, pp. 22–49. Kellner, D. 2016. American Nightmare: Donald Trump, Media Spectacle and Authoritarian Populism. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Laclau, E. 1979. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: New Left Books. Laclau, E. 2007. On Populist Reason. London: Verso.

40 Richard Gruneau Laycock, D. 1990. Populism and Democratic Thought in the Canadian Prairies, 1910– 1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Macpherson, C. B. 1992. The Real World of Democracy (2nd ed.). Toronto: House of Anansi Press. Martin, S. 2018. World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini’s Blackshirts’ 1938 win. The Guardian, 5 April. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/ 2014/apr/01/world-cup-moments-1938-italy-benito-mussolini. McMathJr., R. C. 1993. American Populism: A Social History, 1877–1898. New York: Hill and Wang. Mouffe, C. 2018. For a Left Populism. London: Verso. Mosse, G. 2001. The Nationalization of the Masses. New York: Howard Fertig. Murray, C. 2019. MLS lifts Iron Front ban amid fan protests over political signage policy. Pro Soccer USA, 24 September. Available at: https://www.sportbusiness. com/news/mls-lifts-ban-on-iron-front-symbol-following-fan-backlash/. Mussolini, B. 1928. My Autobiography. New York: Scribner. Paxton, R. O. 2015. The Anatomy of Fascism. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Rancière, J. 2017. Attacks on ‘populism’ seek to enshrine the idea that there is no alternative. Verso Books, 2 May. Available at: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/ 3193-attacks-on-populism-seek-to-enshrine-the-idea-that-there-is-no-alternative. Roche, M. 2000. Mega Events and Modernity: Olympics and Expos in the Growth of Global Culture. London: Routledge. Taylor, A. 2019. Democracy may Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When it is Gone. New York: Metropolitan Books. Timcke, S. 2018. The Civil War in the American ruling class. Triple C, 16 (2), pp. 857–881. Zirin, D. 2017. The NFL’s war against Colin Kaepernick. The Nation, 8 June. Available at: https://www.thenation.com/article/nfls-war-colin-kaepernick/.

Chapter 3

Populist elements of SINGO discourse and practice Unravelling the undercurrents of the popular cultural event1 Alan Tomlinson Introduction It is commonplace for international organisations working in the areas of human rights, culture, and sport to describe their mission in grandiose, generous, and generalised terms. This is wholly understandable as a pragmatic practice: such bodies would lack credibility should they appear to be unambitious or over-concerned with issues and priorities of any particular region, or group of nations; this could be seen as a dereliction of duty, a conflict of interests, or a betrayal of a treasured and historically entrenched mission. International sport federations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) are prominent among such bodies, and renowned for three principal reasons: their stewardship – essentially a monopoly – of the world’s highest-profile, largescale sport mega-events; extraordinary longevity of leadership and resilience of organisational form; and their vulnerability to corruption from within. Such organisations can be classified under the useful acronym SINGO (Allison & Tomlinson, 2017) – sport-based international non-government organisation – and have been collectively portrayed as sharing five common characteristics. They preach an ideology of inclusion, claiming the ethical high ground in debates on the meaning, significance, and future of their sport; they argue, in however contradictory a fashion frequently entering the sphere of the absurd, that their operations and policies transcend politics; they exhibit a lack of accountability in their procedures and relationships with clients and stakeholders; they have been formed, shaped, and led by enduring and sometimes messianic leaders; and their structures and practices have rendered them open to forms of – often systemic – corruption. This chapter explores how such organisational models have in their founding principles and statements and often revised statutes recurrently justified their worldwide brief, in the case of the IOC (founded in Paris in 1894) and FIFA (founded in Paris in 1904) for well over a century – or as apologists for such bodies might rightfully and rhetorically claim, their influence has pervaded across three centuries. The core of the discussion focuses upon how the SINGO’s long-established rhetoric has

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survived through seismic political, social, and cultural shifts and asks whether that survival can be better understood as a form of globally pitched populism.

The supra-national pitch of SINGO rhetoric SINGOs have characteristically employed linguistic strategies of persuasion to justify their claims to speak for the interests of all peoples of the world. They have been hugely successful in employing forms of rhetoric in its fundamental sense as “the art of using language so as to persuade or influence others” (Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 2535). In this subsection, selected pronouncements of two of the highest-profile SINGOs and their leaders are examined: first, FIFA; and, second, the IOC. FIFA In a 1929/30 publication to celebrate FIFA’s 25th anniversary, FIFA’s third President Jules Rimet (President 1921–1954) offered the following thoughts on football (soccer) and its developmental growth: If football has become the universal sport, favoured by the elite as well as all social classes, it’s down to what it requires in practice and experience, a contest of intelligence, that procures – through the joy of a physical détente out in the open, and a beautiful balance of disciplined and flexible body-movement, harmonious and variable – satisfactions of a high order. (Rimet, undated, cited in FIFA, 1929/30, p. 2, translation from French by author, AT) The premise for Rimet is the principle of universalism, football’s capacity to embrace all types (of course, in this case in relation exclusively to men), to transcend divisions of social class and hierarchy. Mind–body elements – intelligence and physicality – are posited as central to the benefits provided by the game in its “beautiful balance” of discipline and flexibility, and its capacity to deliver high-level satisfaction to participants. Rimet’s conception of the game is a combination of idealism and populism, an appropriation of Roman satirist Juvenal’s men’s sane in corpore sana (“a healthy mind in a healthy body”; Juvenal included this phrase in his tenth satire, The Futility of Aspirations (Barr, 1992, p. ix)). In Rimet’s flowery rendition, there is no hint of satire, rather a preacherly announcement of the qualities of a sport: [Football produces] peaceful contests in the stadium where original violence yields to the discipline of the rules of the game, loyal and honest, and where the victor’s benefits are limited to the pride of having won, and having seen the colours of his country acclaimed by the crowd […]

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the same moral qualities that have made football such a success are necessary/essential to the existence and prosperity of our federation […] It is the reciprocal confidence between the national associations, the sacrifice of particular interests, the abnegation of self-interest, the dedication to the common cause, that allows it [FIFA] to maintain its way and its direction […] Its authority must be wholly moral, not found to have flaws, and under the protection of this authority each can work, in total calmness, at his particular task to make the beautiful sport of which we are in charge, the Chivalry of modern times. (Rimet, undated, FIFA, 1929/30, p. 3, translation from French by author, AT) Self-denial, sacrifice, dedication to the collective good – these are the values that Rimet and his contemporaries put at the heart of the FIFA project. There is a religiosity to such vision, and a nostalgia for past glories, for the age of chivalrous conduct in all aspects of life. It is a potent mix, easily mocked by opponents and later critical commentators and analysts. But it is undeniably populist in its comprehensive supra-national appeal to the emerging worldwide constituency of the game. The aspirations of Rimet’s FIFA were visually captured on the front cover of the anniversary publication, in its all-embracing logo picturing two interlocking orbs mapping Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and the North, Central, and South Americas. Whoever you are, wherever you are from, this announced to all men in the nations of the world, FIFA is working in your interests. Rimet was not interested in the amateurism versus professionalism debate that obsessed a certain generation of English football administrators and that fuelled the English and other British dissatisfactions with FIFA. For Rimet this was no more than a “sterile quarrel”, transcended by an all-embracing sense of the wonder of sport. In his Marvellous History of the World Cup, published in 1954, Rimet outlined his conception of sport and football. He insisted on the “social value, the human value of sport”: What is really important is that this powerful means of physical and moral progress, dispenser of healthy joyfulness, generator of understanding and reconciliation between races, gets its fill of supporters and practitioners. Its great international encounters attract the latter as well as the former; meanwhile its stadia/venues procure for it a little of that indispensable currency that one formerly called “the energy of war” and from which we are seeking to make “the energy of peace”. (Guillain, 1998, p. 111, translation from French by author, AT) Not just a game then: a source of (healthy) fun and pleasure; a means of inter-racial contact and harmony; a source of human energy across the world serving the goals of peace. The likes of Rimet had no monitoring team of

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experts or analysts, no social scientific database of evidence. Experience, observation, instinct, and idealism underpinned their visions: international football was for Rimet – as more generally sport was for the French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder or Rénovateur (MacAloon, 1981) of the IOC – a model of a better, more humanitarian, harmonious way of being for humankind. This idealistic pitch – whatever its insensitivity to cultural, historical, and anthropological differences – allowed Rimet’s FIFA to claim a brief for worldwide influence, if not transformation. A Western, Christian, imperialist conception or model without doubt, anchored in an ethnocentric misunderstanding of or indifference towards other cultures, other places, other ways of being. But at the same time, if we are to understand fully the nature of such a model, the Rimet vision of the social value and the human value of football was an essentially populist construct. All could sign up to the Rimet vision and project, at any level of the game, as long as they abided by the core principles and belief: respect for the rules of the game; and commitment to the mind-body conception on which the modern sports ethic was based. Rimet was succeeded in the FIFA presidency by the highly respected Belgian and FIFA veteran Rodolphe Seeldrayers, whose fading health gave him little time in the position to make his mark. His successor, England’s Arthur Drewry, a fish merchant from Grimsby, held the position for several years before he too suffered from poor health and died in post. His long-term friend and colleague in football administration, Englishman Sir Stanley Rous, occupied the presidential position in an acting capacity for a short spell before being elected as President in 1961. Rous had operated as Acting Secretary for FIFA in 1950 and had been influential throughout the 1950s in supporting and promoting the new European football association UEFA, working closely too with Drewry in the latter’s presidential years at FIFA. These changes in FIFA’s leadership at the highest level spurred a modernisation of FIFA’s vision. Rimet had opposed the formation and growth of continental confederations, championing consistently his FIFA as a “family” concept, and arguing persistently that as “FIFA had existed for almost fifty years”, it remained “the only organisation which has succeeded in rallying all the world’s Associations” (Rous, 1978, p. 130). Speaking to the FIFA Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1950, he reiterated his principles for the future, echoing his core values and beliefs from his own idealistic past: Since the London Congress in 1948 world unity of football, the essential goal of FIFA, has been an accomplished fact: unity both moral and material […] the fruit of voluntary action resolutely pursued, the consequence of the magnificent enthusiasm displayed by an elite of directing minds in all the national Associations, of the work, often obscure but always persistent, of the devoted moving spirits of large and small clubs, of the referees who put up with abuse because they have faith, and

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finally of the patient plodding of all, apostles and disciples, towards a common ideal that fully deserves to be held aloft. (Rous, 1978, p. 131) Rimet, at a preacherly peak, then listed the core values of the game, representing what he saw as the finest human qualities: discipline, loyalty, moderation, and solidarity. These, he believed, were fundamental to the mission of FIFA: “Our aim must be to transfer these idealistic qualities of the game to our everyday life” (Rous, 1978, p. 132). Rimet was succeeded by Seeldrayers and then the relatively young English Presidents Drewry and Rous, signalling a shift in the FIFA vision, from the para-spiritual populism of Rimet to a more strategic, evidence-based, and socio-politically sensitive model of worldwide football development. Rous believed that his task was in essence a double one: development and diplomacy (Rofe & Tomlinson, 2019; Tomlinson, 2018). Rous in turn was to give way in 1974 to the Brazilian João Havelange, who mobilised a populist discourse of discontent on behalf of the less developed football nations of Africa and Asia, portraying Rous as the out-of-touch and elitist European and imperialist (Tomlinson, 2014). In a remarkable balance of populist rhetoric and ruthless power broking, Havelange and his protégé Joseph “Sepp” Blatter would hold the reins of FIFA power for the following 41 years. More research on the way in which this Havelange-Blatter FIFA Dynasty (HBFD; see Sugden & Tomlinson, 2017) was aided in its retention of power by populist strategies is likely to further the case for the relevance of the application of the concept of populism to wider socio-cultural contexts than the political sphere. IOC In November 1892 Baron Pierre de Coubertin addressed the fifth anniversary conference of the Union of French Sports Associations, an event stretched across eight days of festivity, excursions, banqueting, and debating. It was in the formal session/meeting of the Union that he made his first public statement on the idea and the project of the restoration of the Olympic Games. His vision, presented in the Sorbonne, Paris, was inspired by the model of the Games of ancient Greece, and emphasised in particular the potential of an international mode of competitive athletic competition that could foster a culture of peace across national boundaries. His 1892 address concluded with an upbeat flourish and an optimistic commitment to the future significance of “athletics in general”, as characterised in “two new features” in its relatively recent emergence: The first of these characteristics will guarantee its future: anything that is not democratic is no longer viable today. As for the second, it opens unexpected prospects to us. There are people whom you call utopians

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when they talk to you about the disappearance of war, and you are not altogether wrong; but there are others who believe in the progressive reduction in the chances of war, and I see no utopia in this. It is clear that the telegraph, railways, the telephone, the passionate research in science, congresses and exhibitions have done more for peace than any treaty or diplomatic convention. Well, I hope that athletics will do even more. Those who have seen 30,000 people running through the rain to attend a football match will not think that I am exaggerating. Let us export rowers, runners and fencers; there is the free trade of the future, and on the day when it is introduced within the walls of old Europe the cause of peace will have received a new and might stay. (de Coubertin, 2000, p. 297) De Coubertin then self-identified as the “servant” of his audience, encouraged by its reception “to dream now about the second part of this programme […] this grandiose and salutary task, the restoration of the Olympic Games” (de Coubertin, 2000, p. 297). A future vision based in a glorified past; a model of international free trade anchored in physical and sporting competition; a sense of mission as the “servant” and would-be saviour of the modern world – these themes dominated the early writings of the young French aristocrat. Although much of his writing would be dedicated to pedagogic and educational reform, his vision was essentially spiritual, his project messianically framed, and his reach dramatically restricted by his patriarchal predilections. There is a clear discourse of patriarchy at the heart of de Coubertin’s dreaming, preaching, and writing, one with strong ideological undercurrents of class privilege, racial superiority, and male power. It could have been laughed off the stage of the Sorbonne by any audience remotely representative of the “people”, and modern reformulations of the cosmopolitanism of the Olympic vision have been quite rightly critiqued (Carrington, 2004). Like all effective populists de Coubertin cultivated his own people as cheerleaders for his vision of a harmonious world pacified by sport and embracing all the countries in the world. He had, though, to recognise that his vision was brutally challenged by the tragic realities of the First World War (1914–1918). In an address in neutral Switzerland to the Greek Liberal Club of Lausanne at the end of February 1918, nine months before the end of the conflict, he recognised that the “sporting renaissance” that he so cherished had: “Created national strength through the cultivation of individual energies. The present great tragedy has proved it in an unanswerable and bloody fashion” (de Coubertin, 2000, p. 269). He was not, though, going to be deterred in his mission, adding that sport could now “safeguard the essential good without which no durable reconstruction will be possible – social peace”; and expressing his joy that he had “been given the opportunity to begin preaching the second part of the Gospel of Sport among a Hellenic community”.

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Ireland’s Lord Killanin (Michael Morris, 3rd Baron of Killanin) was the IOC’s President for eight years, from 1972 to 1980, across a period of extraordinary volatility for the “movement” and the organisation. This period is remembered for a roll-call of several of the biggest crises in the history of the Olympics, in particular the run of crises, the “M” factor, at three consecutive Olympics: the killing of Israeli athletes in the Olympic village at the Munich summer Olympics of 1972; African nations’ withdrawal from the 1976 Games in Montreal; and the boycott by numerous nations, led by the example of the United States (US), of the Moscow Games of 1980. Yet despite this Killanin, an experienced military man, journalist, and film producer as well as sports official could write of the draw, appeal, and survival of the event and its institutional bedrock the IOC as follows: Pomp and ceremony, a mixture of ritual and religion in the opening ceremony and the presentation of the medals, lift the Olympic Games above other sporting festivals […] broadcasters now produce their own spectacular section of the ceremony, but in addition this modern world warped by corruption, violence and immorality is eager to see those involved in any event – sporting, cultural or otherwise – express faith in what they are doing. (Killanin, 1983, p. 143) Here we see, despite Killanin’s varied and worldly experiences in his variety of careers, a reaffirmation of the core values of the Olympic concept, spirit, and project. Each cycle of the Olympic Games, in whatever temporal or spatial setting, has had to define itself, and is “necessarily arrogated” (Tomlinson, 2005, p. 16) in an inevitable reshaping and re-contextualisation of the claimed values of the Olympic phenomenon. Rhetoric and hyperbole have been the interpretive tools that have allowed this flexible reworking of the Olympic “ideal” throughout the historical narrative of Olympism. Dikaia Chatziefstathiou and Ian Henry (2012) have provided a forensic analysis of de Coubertin’s rhetoric and discourse showing how this provided the foundation for successive forms of rhetoric and hyperbole that have been employed in the defence of Olympism. Sportive populism should be added to any interpretive toolbox in the analysis of the discourses and forms of rhetoric supporting, framing, and sustaining the construct “Olympism.”

Populism: red herring or conceptual signpost? If the argument made above for the recognition of populist elements in the emergence, growth, and survival of the SINGO is valid, then the relevance of populism to our understanding of more recent SINGO-based or

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SINGO-related events and enterprises is hardly surprising, for the populist discourses that – however arrogated – justify such events lay claim to the core principles underlying the history and mission of the SINGO. Concept formation, in its Weberian sense, involves addressing “practical cultural problems” in an ongoing process of the “critique of concept construction” (Weber, 1949, p. 106). SINGOs take complex, challenging and almost impossible-to-achieve ideas, imagining a global constituency of common interests in and shared aspirations for sport and its role in the world. However often the vision is undermined, trashed, or contradicted, it exhibits a phoenix-like capacity for revitalisation in a further phase of, to cite de Coubertin (2000) yet again, dreaming. To understand sport’s place in the world, then, is to pose a practical cultural problem, soluble by the generation, critique, and sometimes synthesis of concepts. Into this conceptual mix the arrival of “populism” may well provide new insights and a fuller understanding of the sporting discourse of particular events and moments. The following two cases are snapshots of 20th-century SINGO-based events. Tokyo 2020 In 2013, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games was awarded to Japan for a third time. In July 1938, due to the escalation into war of the conflict with China, the Japanese organising committee for both the Winter and Summer Games in Sapporo 1940 withdrew the city and the country’s commitment, citing “protracted hostilities with no prospect of immediate peace” (Phillips, 2007, p. 2). The second time round, staging the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 1964 was a major coup for Japan. The IOC itself took its sporting product for the first time to an Asian venue. Less than two decades after the dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the country could present a face to the world not of aggression, hostility, and conflict but of peace, harmony, and co-operation. In its bid to host a second Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020 had big challenges, as all bidding cities do: how to relate its proposals to its own Olympic pedigree; and how to balance local, regional, and global dimensions in the discourse and rhetoric of the bid. Jilly Traganou has written insightfully, from the perspective of a design historian, on the construction of those Tokyo Games. Her analysis of the event’s graphic design programme highlights the themes of “rationalization, masculine power, and faith in technology” (Traganou, 2016, p. 53). She quotes a Japanese official of the time who emphasised that the design message was to demonstrate to the wider world that Japan was more than a country of geishas and cherry blossom, and to show that the country’s postSecond World War project was to rebuild its global image, demonstrating a willingness to connect with the Western world. The visual languages adopted to achieve this were, Traganou notes, a “rhetoric of renewal”. Orientalism or “Japaneseness” were off the agenda in this exercise in repositioning

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and rebranding the nation and the culture; in using human models, it was even decided that Japanese facial features should be avoided – the representation of a literally faceless global humanity. Essentially, the design model prioritised modernity, a turn away from cultural and national tradition; the Games were thus represented as a form of “Japanese Modern” over-riding established stereotypes, conceived as what in retrospect we can see as a type of supra-national techno-populism, drawing upon consumerist and design innovations from the West and, especially, the US, which had infused everyday culture in Japan during the US occupation of the country. The vision for the 2020 Olympic Games was pithy, predictable, and positive, with a focus upon three core themes: Sport has the power to change the world and our future. The Tokyo 1964 Games completely transformed Japan. The Tokyo 2020 Games, as the most innovative in history, will bring positive reform to the world by building on three core concepts: “Striving for your personal best (Achieving Personal Best)” “Accepting one another (Unity in Diversity”) “Passing on Legacy for the future (“Connecting to Tomorrow”) (Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2015, p. 3) This sounds neither innovative historically nor reforming globally, little more than a shibboleth of Olympic/IOC maxims. Nevertheless, as the date of the event drew closer and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic refused to subside, forcing a reluctant IOC and Games organising committee to postpone the event on 24 March 2020, few questioned the framing themes. The vision, complemented by a slogan developed for the bid process – “Discover Tomorrow” – would survive intact, and Tokyo 2020 would simply happen in Tokyo in 2021. The populist rhetoric justifying such a decision would soon situate Tokyo in the role of saviour; Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, his hopes of a (US)$294 billion boost to the national economy now dashed, announced: “My aim is to make the games a symbol of mankind’s victory” (Lewis & Ahmed, 2020). A comparative take on Tokyo’s representational messages of 1964 and 2020 confirms how a bland pseudo-universalist “vision” works, often in conveniently flexible formulations, to strong effect in contemporary Olympic discourse and politics characterised by populist appeals to common interests. France 2019 The FIFA Women’s World Cup of 2019 was staged in France and stimulated innumerable comments and analyses in a consensus that the tournament: “Was the best ever […] becoming properly anchored in the world’s

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consciousness for the first time” (Plenderleith, 2019, p. 16). The event took place in nine stadia across the country, five in a northern strip across the country and four in the south-east. FIFA has sounded gung-ho about the success of the World Cup. Its overall financial contribution of US$50 million included a doubling of the 2015 prize money (to 30 million from 15 million dollars). A further US$11.2 million was distributed to help the 24 teams to prepare for the competition, and a Club Benefits programme of US $8.48 million was dispersed among the clubs that released players. Media and screen-viewing worldwide exceeded expectations of organisers, sponsors, and broadcasters. In this sense the Women’s World Cup came of age, as French fans filled the stadia for the host country’s games and worldwide audiences smashed previous viewing records. England followers devoured the BBC’s free-to-air offerings of every game. For the England–USA semifinal, 11.7 million (47% of the UK population) tuned in, and a tournament total of 28.1 million people watched some coverage of the tournament for 15 minutes or more. The FIFA Media Office hailed record audiences around the world, figures that rounded off “what has proven to be a watershed tournament that has seen the women’s game promoted and celebrated as never before.” But there were thousands of unclaimed seats at many matches too, and FIFA will need to think back critically on aspects of its marketing. The profile of the event was also low in host cities and especially around the areas and neighbourhoods of the venues, where there was little sense of occasion. For the observing flâneur the atmosphere around stadia was more that of an annual school outing than a sport mega-event. Things seemed very downbeat too for media representatives at Accreditation Centres that presented you with just a single booklet that included as its main feature – beyond a match schedule/planner and a few plugs for FIFA funding and initiatives – pictures of 23 “Legends … each given a superpower they will bring on their mission to promote the tournament and wider aspects of the women’s game.” Phil Neville’s England team may have been on the lookout for superpowers a couple of weeks later in Lyon when unravelling to defeat with a missed penalty and a red card against the USA: but such powers seemed in short supply as Neville’s “best player in the world” Lucy Bronze was caught out of position twice, for both of the USA’s clinically taken goals. And the England team can hardly have been buoyed up by Neville’s dismissal of the third place match as a “nonsense” game, as his players – Bronze and all, back in Nice – lost the bronze medal to an effervescent Sweden. All such tournaments, this one 29 days in total, produce event narratives, and none in France, in the everyday exchanges of fans and media – not even player-of-the finals Megan Rapinoe, in her spat with Donald Trump that has helped fuel her best-selling bobblehead doll labelled “American Badass” – was bigger than the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology to be further trialled at the event. Although FIFA claims that the use of VAR is guided by

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a simple maxim – minimum interference, maximum benefit – too many games were stopped for overlong reviews that emitted a sense of doubt not certainty, over the decisions being taken by FIFA-appointed referees, all men, or “male VARS” as FIFA’s media handbook put it. Away from such on-pitch concerns, though, Rapinoe stole the show across the global media and revelled in a deserved global celebrity in the aftermath of the event. It is not more crudely populist sloganising that is needed from FIFA for the further development of the women’s game – with its “Dare to Shine” blurb that some have argued infantilised the venues – it is resources, support, grassroots infrastructure that will give the game its future fans and followers who will ensure that a glorious summer in France was more than a one-off. FIFA has pitched its women’s football strategy, unveiled in October 2018, to a worldwide constituency. The five “pillars” of this strategy are: develop and grow; showcase the game, as in the World Cup; communicate and commercialise; govern and lead, with female governance at all levels; educate and empower, all helping to: “bring lasting improvements to the lives of women around the world, whether through leadership schemes or health education programmes” (FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 media handbook, p. 12). It is a substantial programme and is potentially transforming the public face of football, but without close monitoring and sustained support such a programme or strategy may be seen, in retrospect, as little more than a form of populist public relations. Snapshots of events confirm the relevance of the case for analysis of the populist themes framing such events. More broadly, some interesting social scientific work has drawn on cross-disciplinary concepts to launch innovative work on, for instance, ontological insecurities and populism. Drawing upon R. D. Laing’s notion of ontological security as presented in his book, The Divided Self (1960), and Anthony Giddens’s adaptation of this concept in his book, Modernity and self-identity (1991), Alexandra Homolar and Ronny Scholz (2019) identify a populist basis to Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric that imposed an image of American carnage onto his audiences – an “us versus them” crisis narrative. Trump-speak, they argue, creates the very set of perceived circumstances and crisis that Trump himself pledges to resolve, as is also observed by contributors to Part Three of this volume. In doing this Trump utilises successfully the rhetorical tricks of the traditional populist’s trade, constructing a momentum of his “We” against an identified “Other” or an allegedly incompetent or corrupt elite. More broadly, this approach proposes that: “[…] The politics of populism centralizes the power struggles and emotional contexts that involve who (or what) gets to be considered as part of the ‘true’ people, and who does not” (Steele & Homolar, 2019, p. 214). Pierre Bourdieu has argued that intellectuals seeking to generate an image of the working-class world by putting themselves “in the place of a worker without having the habitus of a worker” (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 372),

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and looking to understand that world through their own “schemes of perception and appreciation” (p. 373), are guilty of what one might call populist-analytical error: “Populism is never anything other than an inverted ethnocentrism” (p. 374). This is a catchy line from one of sociology’s most distinguished analysts of the cultural sphere, but not altogether clear. Michael Buroway reads the passage from Distinction from which the line comes as a statement from Bourdieu that the intellectual cannot adequately understand the lived culture and life of the working class and can have no real dialogue with that class. The intellectual therefore misreads the realities of that life or class. Consequently, any attempt at such dialogue, he says, degenerates into populism, and offers an identification with the working class that is a projection onto the working class itself of the observer’s own imaginations and desires (Burawoy, 2019). So, whose ethnocentrism are we talking about here, and why is it inverted? Bourdieu’s use of the term is fleeting, and typical of the low profile of the term/concept even in a cultural sociology so influential as the oeuvre of Bourdieu. Invited in 1960 to provide a commentary to an hour-long film on the phenomenology and poetics of sport, Roland Barthes highlighted the ways in which modern sporting events and spectacles essentially united the sports person and the spectator in a collectively experienced and meaningful moment. In the bullfight after the bull is killed and the torero is the victor: “[…] Man has made his victory a spectacle, so that it might become the victory of all those watching him and recognising themselves in him” (Barthes, 2007, p. 9). The sports covered in the film were bullfighting; motor-racing, cycling in the Tour de France, ice-hockey in Canada, and football, and no sportswomen were featured in any of the images accompanying Barthes’ text. He could argue nevertheless that, as in the case of the Tour de France, sport provides “a spectacle that captivates the entire nation” (p. 28); and that, with a vague reference to football in England, sport fulfils a social function comparable to that of the theatre at certain periods and in certain societies (p. 57). For Barthes, at his most eloquently evasive, the meaning of sport lies in its capacity to allow the contestant or competitor to “overcome the resistance of things, the immobility of nature” (p. 63). Answering the questions “what is sport?” and “what do men put into sport?”, Barthes concluded: “Themselves, their human universe. Sport is made in order to speak the human contract” (p. 65). In the eyes of the foremost reader of popular cultural forms of his time, the theorist of signs and critical observer of governmentality, sport is seen as a sphere of collective human experience, rising above the awkward realities of social cleavages such as class, gender, and race. That a figure of such import could reduce his theories of the subtlety of signs and signification to such an interpretation of sport is initially astonishing, until we see that a populist reductionism has been common to the discourses of sport that have sustained the growth and expansion of sport in

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the modern period. Steven Connor (2009, p. 20) has claimed sport as a serious influence upon modernist culture, as it became: “[T]he first of the great globalising forces. Sport operates on the scale of the world. It is not just accidentally a world phenomenon; it is a way of inventing the world, bringing the world into being as a world […] Triumph and disaster; everything, nothing; important, unimportant”. So is the populism debate, Mudde’s (2004) “populist zeitgeist”, a false trail, a sociological diversion, even irrelevance? Reviewing examples of the rhetoric and early discourses of the two mega-SINGOs of the modern world, the answer is a resounding “far from it”; and after considering a selection of vignettes of SINGO-sanctioned events it is clear that the justification for supporting and staging such events is frequently framed in essentially populist terms. Sportive populism is widely established in the making, staging, and consuming of the modern sport spectacle. Sportive populist political appropriation is widespread, and not just in the case of a small, command economy and culture such as Cuba. Simon Kuper (2011) reminds us that the highest-profile sporting moment can be seized by the opportunist populist, from Brazil’s dictator-president General Emilio Garrastazu Médici in 1970 to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966, who both sought forms of political capital in the World Cup victories of their national – or in Wilson’s case just England’s – football teams. Fidel Castro in post-revolutionary Cuba used baseball and other sports as a form of connection with the population and adopted the notion of “massivity” in the mid-1980s, a quarter of a century on from the Cuban revolution of 1959. Former Olympic champion Alberto Juantorena stated, in 1990, that: “[M]assivity was elevated to a national ideal after the over concentration of resources around elite performers (such as himself) had been openly criticised by leading politicians, including Castro” (Sugden et al., 1993, p. 198). “Populism” is far from an interpretive or theoretical panacea. But a fuller recognition of the relevance and currency of the concept in socio-cultural research and scholarship, with accompanying exploration of how sportive populism works in the contemporary popular cultural landscape, is overdue. Such explorations should include forensic forms of analysis of the practices and discourses that have produced populist cultural formations, often reflecting political processes and power relations, but at particular socio-cultural moments also contributing to the generation and reproduction of those relations.

Note 1 This chapter has its roots in a talk delivered at the 39th Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), in Vancouver, Canada, on 3 November 2018. I am grateful to all who attended the session and for the perceptive comments and suggestions that were made in the session and afterwards.

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References Allison, L. & Tomlinson, A. 2017. Understanding International Sport Organisations: Principles, Power and Possibilities. London and New York: Routledge. Barr, W. 1992. “Introduction” to Juvenal: The Satires. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Barthes, R. 2007. What is Sport?New Haven: Yale University Press. Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge. Burawoy, M. 2019. Symbolic Violence: Conversations with Bourdieu. London: Duke University Press. Carrington, B. 2004. Cosmopolitan Olympism, humanism and the spectacle of ‘race’. In Bale, J. & Christensen, M. K. (eds.) Post-Olympism? Questioning Sport in the Twenty-First Century. Oxford: Berg, pp. 81–98. Chatziefstathiou, D. & Henry, I. P. 2012. Discourses of Olympism: From the Sorbonne 1894 to London 2012. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Connor, S. 2009. Sporting Modernism. An expanded version of a talk given at the Centre for Studies, University of Sussex, 14 January. Available at: http:// stevenconnor.com/sportingmodernism/sportingmodernism.pdf. de Coubertin, P. 2000. Pierre de Coubertin 1863–1937, Olympism – Selected Writings. Lausanne: International Olympic Committee. FIFA. 1929/30. Fédération Internationale de Football Association 1904–1929. Printed by de Bussy, J. H. Amsterdam. Composition by C. A. W. Hirschman. Guillain, J-Y. 1998. La Coupe de Monde de Football: L’oeuvre de Jules RIMET. Paris: Amphora. Homolar, A. & Scholz, R. 2019. The power of Trump-speak: populist crisis narratives and ontological security. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 32 (3), pp. 344–364. Killanin, Lord. 1983. My Olympic Years. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc. Kuper, S. 2011. Sports populism. Americas Quarterly, Summer, online version consulted 6 February 2010. Available at: https://www.americasquarterly.org/node/2748. Lewis, L. & Ahmed, M. 2020. Japan: how coronavirus crushed Abe’s Olympics dream. Financial Times [online], consulted 30 March 2020. Available at: https:// www.ft.com/content/c343aa5e-702a-11ea-9bca-bf503995cd6f. MacAloon, J. 1981. This Great Symbol: Pierre de Coubertin and the Origins of the Modern Olympic Games. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mudde, C. 2004. The populist zeitgeist. Government & Opposition, 39 (4), pp. 541–563. Müller, N. 2000. Coubertin’s Olympism. In de Coubertin, P. 2000. Pierre de Coubertin 1863–1937, Olympism – Selected Writings. Lausanne: International Olympic Committee, pp. 33–48. Oxford University Press. 1979. The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: Complete Text Reproduced Micrographically, Volume II P–Z Supplement and Biography. London: Book Club Associates. Phillips, B. 2007. The 1948 Olympics: How London Rescued the Games. Cheltenham: SportsBooks Ltd. Plenderleith, I. 2019. Tour de France. When Saturday Comes, 390 (September), pp. 16–17. Rofe, J. S. & Tomlinson, A. 2019. The untold story of FIFA’s diplomacy and the 1966 World Cup: North Korea, Africa and Sir Stanley Rous. The International History Review, 42 (3), pp. 505–525.

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Rous, S. 1978. Football Worlds: A Lifetime in Sport. London: Faber and Faber. Steele, B. J. & Homolar, A. 2019. Ontological insecurities and the politics of contemporary populism. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 32 (3), pp. 214–221. Sugden, J., Tomlinson, A., & McCartan, E. 1993. The making and remaking of White Lightning in Cuba: Politics, sport and physical education 30 years after the revolution. In Yiannakis, A., McIntyre, T. D., & Melnick, M. J. (eds.). Sport Sociology: Contemporary Themes (4th ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, pp. 197–205. Sugden, J. & Tomlinson, A. 2017. Football, Corruption and Lies: Revisiting Badfellas, the Book FIFA Tried to Ban. London and New York: Routledge. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 2015. Tokyo 2020 Games Foundation Plan February 2015. Available at: https://www.2020games. metro.tokyo.lg.jp/eng/taikaijyunbi/taikai/2020/index.html. Tomlinson, A. 2005. Magnificent trivia: Olympic spectacle, opening ceremonies and some paradoxes of globalization. In Tomlinson, A. Sport and Leisure Cultures. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 9–27. Tomlinson, A. 2014. FIFA: The Men, the Myths and the Money. London and New York: Routledge. Tomlinson, A. 2018. Diplomatic actors in the world of football: individuals, institutions, ideologies. In Rofe, J. S. (ed.). Sport and Diplomacy: Games within Games. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 47–69. Traganou, J. 2016. Designing the Olympics: Representation, Participation, Contestation. New York and London: Routledge. Weber, M. 1949. The Methodology of the Social Sciences. New York: Free Press.

Chapter 4

Neuro-liberalism Enterprise, gender, and the marketing of the self Deborah Philips

Introduction Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade. (Harvey, 2005, p. 2)

Populist political leaders with a neo-liberal programme seemed to dominate the global stage in the early decades of the 21st-century, with the election of Narendra Modi in India, elected in 2002 and again in 2014, Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2017, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil in 2019, and Boris Johnson, elected leader of the Conservative Party and winning a Conservative majority in the United Kingdom in 2019. Each man espoused a nationalist agenda, all saw themselves and their countries as exceptional cases and all are media savvy, each making extensive use of social media1 in their political campaigns. While the electoral successes of Modi and his Bhartoya Janata Party (BJP) stemmed from a particular Hindu nationalism and Bolsonaro came from a conservative military background2, the other two of these powerful populist leaders, Trump and Johnson, came to the attention of the public and voters through popular television programmes. The Apprentice was first broadcast in America in 2004 and was both fronted and produced by Donald Trump. Trump had a background in media and in showmanship through his sponsorship of the Miss Universe competition from 1986 to 2015, then the most widely broadcast beauty competition, and through his association with the World Wide Wrestling Federation. But it was The Apprentice that would put him on screen and turn him into a national celebrity with a reputation as a tough “deal maker,” a persona which he took onto the campaign trail and into his presidency. The Apprentice is a programme which requires its participants to pitch themselves to an entrepreneur, Donald Trump in the American version and Alan (Lord) Sugar in the British case, who then selects “an apprentice” to work in



one of his companies3. The Apprentice is probably the most visible and successful example of a programme that promotes the enterprise culture on public television in Britain and America; Jim McGuigan has pointed to The Apprentice as an example of “the popular appeal of enterprise culture and its role in articulating the ideological hegemony of cool capitalism” (McGuigan, 2009, p. 146). In America, The Apprentice ran for 15 seasons on the NBC network until 20174; in the UK it finished its 15th series on the BBC in 2019, with another series planned5; the format is also made for Australia. The Apprentice has received consistently high viewing ratings6, considerable media coverage, and a number of awards. The American version was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award 15 times and won the People’s Choice award in 2005. Awards for the British version include the 2005 Grierson Award for most Entertaining Documentary. The Apprentice is now a fixture in mainstream entertainment programming, and in the British context, has attached itself to alternative comedy, through the spin-off programme, The Apprentice: You’re Fired presented by alternative comedians including Dara O’Briain, and through special editions for Comic Relief and Sport Relief. The British show is currently presented by alternative comedian Tom Allen, with the tagline: “Bust-ups and boardroom battles in Britain’s toughest job interview”7; the programme offers a simulacrum of a commercial environment, and it requires its British contestants to sell themselves to the British equivalent of Trump, Alan Sugar, and to the viewing public. The concept of the marketing of the self emerged with force in the recession of the late 21st-century. Colin Leys has argued that under the leadership of Thatcher, business shifted to become more central to the public discourse: “… as Thatcherism – and then New Labour – reshaped life in Britain, individualising and privatising it, public interest in current affairs necessarily changed too – broadly shifting from politics to business” (Leys, 2001, p. 160). With the deregulation of broadcasting under the Thatcher government8, and a free market agenda endorsed across political and popular culture, business became markedly more visible on television. Douglas Kellner (2016) has argued that Ronald Reagan and Trump in the United States are masters of mobilising media spectacles that merge entertainment, business, and politics. The economist Aditya Chakrabortty wrote in 2013: … as the arteries of social mobility hardened, the BBC served up ever more versions of the minted entrepreneur: Dragon’s Den, Gerry Robinson, The Apprentice. The assumptions are easy to tease out: collective bargaining may be dead, but heroic labour can still earn the individual a string of zeroes. (Chakrabortty. The Guardian, 12 November 2013, p. 5) The reinvention of the working self as a brand of “heroic labour” was promoted and normalised through television programmes such as The Apprentice

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and Dragons’ Den, which entrenched commerce and the figure of the entrepreneur at the heart of popular entertainment. Programmes such as The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den provided a framework for the dissemination of a populist discourse which celebrated a market-led individualism that is generally associated with particularly masculine characteristics; aggression, self-aggrandisement, competitiveness, and self-promotion, all qualities that were required of both male and female participants. In their account of populism, Mudde and Kaltwasser (2017) have described several of the masculine characteristics regularly attributed to populist leaders: a persona of a violent strongman, a reliance upon quick thinking, an anti-intellectualism, an assertion of virility, and the use of simple and often vulgar language. All are clearly evident in Trump’s performances on The Apprentice and as President. Trump and Johnson forged their public personas on television, it was through their media appearances that their successful self-branding as popular “men of the people” (despite in both cases, their exceptionally privileged backgrounds), their claims to a “native intelligence” and their mistrust of “experts” would catapult them to the highest echelons of government and promote a macho-entrepreneurial ethos for their mode of governance.

Self-marketing and neuro-liberalism Dragon’s Den first appeared on British television on BBC2 in 2005; based on a Japanese format, it has been replicated in New Zealand, Australia, Israel, and Canada, across Europe and the Arab countries. Dragon’s Den, like The Apprentice, requires its contestants to pitch themselves to potential investors, but differs from The Apprentice in that the aspiring entrepreneurs are selling both a product and themselves. Many of the investors who appeared on the Dragon’s Den panel and some of the aspirant candidates for The Apprentice have since become celebrities; invited as proponents of a pro-business position for political programmes such as the BBC’s Question Time. Modwenna Rees-Mogg (herself a private investor, CEO of a website for potential investors, and sister-in-law of the current Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg) noted in 2008 that Dragon’s Den had shifted business on television from a dry specialist subject into mainstream entertainment. She described the programme as: … quite simply a phenomenon. Easily the best programme about business in years, if not ever. … Alongside The Apprentice and to a lesser extent The Restaurant, Dragons’ Den has turned business into a popular entertainment for the 21st century viewing public. (Rees-Mogg, 2008, p. 2) The appreciative foreword to the Dragons’ Den handbook is written by Evan Davis, then the economics editor for the BBC, and the presenter of Dragons’



Den since 2005. Evan Davis is among the figures who has taken the business-friendly (and neo-liberal) agenda from programmes such as Dragons’ Den into mainstream news and political programming. In 1998, Davis wrote Public Spending, in which he argued for increased privatisation in public services. He later became a presenter of the BBC flagship political show Newsnight, of the news programmes Today and, from 2018, PM on BBC Radio. The introduction to the Dragons’ Den manual embraces competition, consumption and commerce. It stresses the importance of branding for commercial success, stating that the “brand” is: … the Holy Grail of consumerism. Get yourself a brand that people talk about and you’re in business. Big business … you’re not just selling an image – you’re fostering a culture to support that image. A brand encapsulates your competitive advantage and building it isn’t just about what you do – it’s about what you do differently from everyone else. (Davies, 2005, p. 65) The “selling of an image” applies not just to the product but also to the self who is promoting that product. Sarah Banet-Weiser (2012) makes use of Foucault’s concept of the “technologies of the self” to argue that the branding of a product now applies to the branding of the self: “These ‘operations,’ in the context of brand culture, involve economic principles such as brand management strategies, self-promotion, and advertising techniques that help to explain the self within a set of social and cultural conditions” (Banet-Weiser, 2012, p. 55). The marketing of the self was initially developed as a tool for unemployed executives; the first published title with the term “self-marketing” is, according to the British Library catalogue, a 1971 manual with the inspiring title Self Marketing for Executives. The concept of “self-marketing” became increasingly significant in the high unemployment years of the Thatcher premiership. Self-Marketing: A Guide to Creative Job Search was one of a number of guides to appear in this period (Dunn & Spence, 1984); it is however a relatively conventional guide to job searching, and the language is not dissimilar from the advice handed out by employment offices at the time. Since then, “self-marketing” as a career strategy has become entangled with lifestyle aspiration and has bound itself into psychology and counselling. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a form of therapy which neatly maps on to the promotion of the self. Among the most successful of the first manuals to employ NLP in the interests of self-marketing was the 2003 The Brand Called You, subtitled The Ultimate Brand-Building and Business Development Handbook to transform anyone into The Brand Called You; originally selfpublished, it went on to become an international best seller. According to its authors, Montoya and Vandehey:

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… your Personal Brand is you, enhanced and expressed using polished, well-crafted communication methods … Your Personal Brand is the mental picture your prospects get when they think about you. It represents your values, your personality, your expertise, and the qualities that make you unique among your competitors. That’s why it’s so important to remain authentic to yourself as you create your brand. (Montoya & Vandehey, 2009, p. 5) In the first decade of the 21st-century, the publishing industry produced a raft of titles on Life Coaching which promised rapid ways of achieving success through developing a “competitive advantage” by marketing and promoting the self. Many of these life and career manuals were written or directly influenced by practitioners of NLP. Titles include: Instant Confidence, Paul McKenna (2000)9 The Thirty-Minute Life Coach, Curly Martin and Gerard O’Donovan (Martin & O’Donovan, 2000) The 10-Minute Life Coach, Fiona Harrold (2002) Weekend Life Coach, Lynda Field (2004), and Instant Life Coach, Lynda Field (2005) Me 2.0: Build a powerful brand to achieve career success, Dan Schawbel (2009) NLP is itself a brand. NLP was developed by Richard Bandler, once a psychology student, and John Grinder, a linguistician. NLP does not appear as an entry at all in the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology or the American Association Encyclopedia of Psychology, nor in the Wiley Encyclopedia of Psychology. If the psychological establishment has spurned NLP as a form of counselling or therapy, NLP has nonetheless become highly influential as a method of training for life-style coaches, executive counsellors, and management, and is increasingly influential in corporate business. NLP has been marketed as not only a rapid and successful form of therapy, which can be taught to “therapists” in 20 day-long workshops, but also as an effective method for business communication and management training. A manual of business coaching thoroughly endorses NLP as an effective method for promoting “organizational success and individual performance” in corporate executives (Shaw and Linnecar, 2007, p. x), as the fastest form of accredited counselling training that there is. NLP, as this suggests, is a method that neatly fits with the culture of consumption and commerce; training is fast, it can be experienced quickly and it offers apparently instant solutions. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is another form of fast therapy, which has been embraced by the National Health Service. Gareth Palmer has argued that CBT is a market tested model “whose techniques fit television’s frames … Never was a model of the self so media-friendly” (Palmer, 2008, p. 9). Techniques derived from CBT and NLP have been visible across a range of lifestyle programmes in the UK media, particularly those involving personal transformation, such as Ten Years Younger and What Not to Wear.



The branding of competitors’ “individual performance” is integral to The Apprentice; even if they begin the series as team members, there is only one winner. Sugar makes it clear that branding applies to the person in his advice to prospective candidates: “And make no mistake – you are a brand, in the same way that your product or your service is a brand” (Sugar, 2006, p. 59). Two of the British candidates on the show indeed have learned from The Apprentice how to promote themselves as a brand and took those brands directly into the political arena. The winner of the second series in 2006 was Michelle Dewberry. After her success in The Apprentice, she was considered sufficiently adept as a political commentator to be invited on to the BBC flagship political debate programme Question Time and as a guest on the Andrew Neil Show. Dewberry stood as a Brexit candidate in 2017 and again in 2019, but did not get close to winning; instead, she now runs a brand consultancy. Dewberry will not allow that there can be any obstacle to personal success, and her own rise from “cashier” to entrepreneur is charted in a memoir Anything is Possible (Dewberry, 2008). Her own trajectory from service worker to television celebrity suggested that her assertion that “anything is possible” is possible for anyone, that economic or social deprivation are no barrier to personal success. Katie Hopkins is the most notorious of those to have emerged from the British version of The Apprentice, and now has wide recognition in America. She first appeared as a contestant in 2007, coming third, and subsequently was invited back as a judge. Her forthright and extreme right-wing views were picked up by the Daily Mail, for which she wrote a column from 2015 to 2017. She then became a presenter for LBC radio, a contract which was terminated by “mutual consent” after she used the toxic phrase “final solution” after the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. She was sued for libel for racist comments, and again for slurs against the cookery writer Jack Monroe. In 2020 her Twitter account was suspended for violating Twitter’s anti-hate policy. Katie Hopkins was another vocal supporter of Brexit. She is regularly cited on the far-right American website Breitbart, and, before the permanent suspension of her Twitter account, her comments were repeatedly approvingly retweeted by Donald Trump. Dewberry and Hopkins challenge easy assumptions about the relationship between right-wing populism and gender. Like many populists, they claim to represent and speak for those whose voices are not heard, and they offer a gendered inflection of populism, particularly, in the case of Hopkins, in her status as a mother. There are right-wing female political leaders at the highest levels across the world; notably Pia Kjaersaard (Denmark), Siv Jensen (Norway), Marine Le Pen (France), Frauke Petri (Germany), and Giorgia Meloni (Italy) (see Meret, 2015; Meret, Siim, & Pingaud, 2017). The rhetoric of a figure such as Hopkins relies upon a right-wing populist trope which constructs an imagined homogeneity of a populace against the “other”; Hopkins has referred to migrants and refugees as “cockroaches” and “filthy rodents” (Plunkett, 2015). Although Dewberry and Hopkins may not, as of yet, have

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translated their self-branding derived from entertainment into formal political office (despite Dewberry’s attempts), they reinforce the increasingly blurred boundaries amongst entrepreneurship, entertainment, and politics, and offer a gendered embrace of a culture of competition and right-wing values. The self-branding of the candidates for The Apprentice is very visible on the BBC website for the 2019 series, while the aspirant apprentices do offer an even gender balance, but each candidate reinvents themselves as a cutthroat and ambitious “striver” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0071b63). Each has a job title, but their skills and professional experience remain unclear. A footballer whose career was interrupted by injury and who now runs an ice-cream company has learned the language of aspiration and self-branding, claiming: “I combine a thirst to learn with entrepreneurial thinking, ready to win at all costs”. Another candidate is a “luxury women’s wear consultant” (further details are not available), others are “Marketing Consultant”, “Accounts Manager”, “Finance Manager,” and “Events Manager,” with no indication of the context for the marketing, finance, and events that are being managed. The range of candidates is multi-ethnic, but they are very constrained in terms of age, required to be between the ages of 25 and 39. These are not apprentices in any traditional sense, they are not learning a trade or a set of skills; rather, they are imbibing a vaguely defined “entrepreneurial spirit” from Sugar and his team of business associates. According to Sugar, his potential apprentices: … come from a range of backgrounds, including finance, events management, property management, politics, marketing, management consultancy, recruitment, IT, hospitality, sales and communications and the public sector. (Sugar, 2006, p. 35) These are jobs which do not produce anything, and which do not require an apprenticeship. They are service industry jobs, the kind of work that flourished in the post-Thatcher years of deindustrialisation. It is this kind of work that is celebrated by two business coaches who use NLP in their training manual for business executives, in which they affirm that: “servicing the banks, and providing services to the newly wealthy people … is an inspiration (for) a leader’10 (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007, p. x).

Television entrepreneurship Both Donald Trump and Alan Sugar are very old-fashioned leaders, who belong to a former era of industrial production. Both emerged during the Thatcher and Reagan years of entrepreneurial boom and neither was markedly successful in business. Trump had to be bailed out at least twice by his father, and his losses in the 1980s meant that he was dropped from the Forbes Rich List. Sugar’s company Amstrad had a string of failed initiatives.



Trump made his fortune through his literal inheritance from his father of the American dream of property development. Fred Trump was a founder of the Trump empire in real estate, which began under his mother’s name in 1927. In 1954 Fred Trump was investigated by the US Senate Committee for profiteering, and again by New York State in 196411. Donald became president of Trump management in 1971, and in 1973, with his father, was sued by the US Justice Department for violating the Fair Housing Act which prohibited discrimination in housing (Barrett, 1979). Alan Sugar is a figure much more in the tradition of the East End barrow boy. He made his first fortune through import and export before founding his electronics firm Amstrad. Sugar, writing in 2006, does have some recognition that entrepreneurship is no longer based around a manufacturing base: The UK is no longer a country of manufacturers. We’re traders (we’ve always been traders), we have service-industry organizations and, unfortunately, over the last 10–15 years we’ve seen people able to make money out of nothing, out of vapourware, out of talk, out of expectation rather than product … The danger is that more companies will be hyped up, expectations will be hyped up, and profits don’t seem to mean anything anymore. Traditional ways of making money are becoming meaningless now. The old-fashioned trader and the old-style manufacturer have gone from this country … (Sugar, 2006, p. 253) Trump and Sugar have less successful business pasts than they would admit or that their television personas would allow. Their televisual status as unquestioned gurus of enterprise and their move into popular media underpinned their survival and renaissance as, to quote Leo Lowenthal, idols of consumption rather than production (Lowenthal, 1968, pp. 110– 118). Both prospered most effectively in “the sphere of leisure time” rather than in areas of “socially productive” agency as Lowenthal (1968, p. 115) specifies. Alan Sugar has been embraced by politicians of all colours; he claims that Rupert Murdoch has referenced him as: “Probably Britain’s greatest entrepreneur” (Sugar, 2006, p. 22), although he is largely known in Britain as the man who brought cheap computers to the market with his company Amstrad. He supported the Conservatives in the 1992 election, but by 1997, had transferred his loyalties to New Labour. Under Tony Blair, he was recruited to the Treasury’s Industry Team, and was offered a knighthood, where he advised Gordon Brown (then Chancellor) on youth enterprise. Brown later appointed him as Enterprise Tsar (a title that was made much of in the television series) in 2008 and made him Lord Sugar of Clapton in 2009. Lord Sugar’s understanding of enterprise and what it takes to be an entrepreneur have been, and continue to be, at the heart of both Conservative and Labour government employment policy.

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Lord Sugar and his apprentices, including Dewberry and Hopkins, have become celebrity brands. In his book of advice to potential entrepreneurs Sugar is clear about the qualities required of them: I am looking for someone with an eye for profit, a mind for new ideas, a flexibility of approach and a buzz of energy that means they are hungry and will have the determination to help me build a successful business. (Sugar, 2006, p. 14) Sugar’s requirements here for the winning formula for the business entrepreneur are reminiscent of Naomi Klein’s analysis of the post-millennial workplace in which loyalty, energy, and a commitment to the corporation are required (Klein, 2000). In an era in which jobs are no longer secure, ideal employees must be able to continually reinvent themselves; self-branding and flexibility are necessities in the age of the “hollowed out corporation” (Klein, 2007, p. 285). Flexibility is one of the strategies Sugar recommends: “Flexibility is the key to survival in business. It is crucial to stay flexible because things change: trends, markets, technology – everything changes, and so do we …” (Sugar, 2006, p. 62). Sugar offers his contestants both an injunction to work hard and the advice that they should listen to their innate (rather than learned) entrepreneurial spirit. He states: I’ve never been a great believer in business books or self-help books. I am a firm believer that if you’ve got what it takes, you’ll have a feeling in your gut, a hunger in your belly – and you’ll know you want to be your own boss … Whatever you do, be true to yourself and find your own style. (Sugar, 2006, p. 17) Despite this insistence that he does not have faith in self-help manuals, the qualities that Sugar demands are precisely those advocated in such books. Carolyn Boyes came from a background as a fund manager and stockbroker to train in NLP and CBT; she is keen to promote them both as tools for the betterment of both oneself and business in her 2010 guide: Career Management Secrets (Boyes, 2010). The titles of her chapters borrow directly from the language of television talent shows: “Dare to dream”, “Be a rising star” and from business shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den: “Market Yourself”, “Be Entrepreneurial.” Boyes has her own practice which promises to “Inspire you to live your life as an adventure” and offers a range of services and courses, from leadership coaching to spiritual development. If the conservative politics of self-help are not explicit in television programming itself, it is made very clear in the literature of Life Coaching. Fiona Harrold12, a convert to NLP, has been described (according to the cover) as “the Queen Bee of Life Coaching” and quotes Samuel Smiles’ 1866 Self Help approvingly in her 2001 manual, Be Your Own Life Coach: How to take control of



your life and achieve your wildest dreams (Harrold, 2001). Harrold is quite aware that her coaching makes a neat fit with a neo-liberal agenda and is entirely accepting of the current precarious conditions of employment and of the erosion of the welfare state. For the Life Coach, welfare is entirely a matter for the individual: There is no longer such a thing as job security or a job for life; these are memories from a bygone age. We are being encouraged to take responsibility for our own welfare and not to rely on the state or any outside agency. We cannot and must not wait to be rescued. There is a cultural, social and economic insistence that we all become self-sufficient entrepreneurs, endlessly flexible, imaginative and self-reliant. Never before has it been more important for all of us to become truly self-reliant. (Harrold, 2001, pp. 92–93) Like Michelle Dewberry, Harrold accepts the undermining of the welfare state and of job security with equanimity and believes that ambition and the entrepreneurial spirit make “anything possible.” Fiona Harrold explicitly eschews any social or political causation for any lack of success, which is instead attributed to “low self-esteem”: In today’s world your security comes from being a Master. Mastery is rooted in indestructible self-belief, which in turn brings serenity, security, self-acceptance and a profound sense of comfort and ease within yourself, which is intriguing, irresistible and compelling to others. (Harrold, 2001, p. 47) In this disconcertingly Nietzschean language, Harrold makes it clear that a failure to achieve is entirely the responsibility of the individual. Her 2001 guide explicitly rejects the political in favour of a personal makeover. The lack of education, of economic or cultural capital, are fiercely refuted as any obstacle to personal achievement. In the analysis of NLP and its trained Life Coaches, there is no recognition of social context, nor of the structures of inequality. As McGee has commented: … self-improvement culture continues to operate on a belief that wealth is a sign of industry, intelligence, competence, or attunement with the universe. Poverty, bred of economic injustice, remains a marker of laziness, stupidity, immorality or some sort of cosmic dissonance … selfhelp culture suggests that inequitable distributions of wealth ought to be remedied through charity rather than through any process of distributive justice. (McGee, 2005, p. 183)

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The notorious rudeness of both Trump and Sugar to the losers in their boardrooms, and the peremptory way in which contestants learn of their failure, “You’re Fired” (a phrase Trump has taken into his presidency), strongly endorse the idea that lack of success is entirely a matter of individual failure. A masculinised neoliberal version of leadership is rewarded: quick decisions, self-belief, and aggression are promoted as signifiers of success; empathy, care for others, and conscientiousness are seen as weaknesses. Richard Sennett (2012) has argued for “the craft of co-operation” and for the skills of empathy in his book Together. The Apprentice precisely militates against any such empathy or co-operation; while the “teams” are ostensibly co-operating in the fulfilment of a task, they are pitted against one another in a competition, and required, in the final sequence of the show, to betray one another by revealing their competitors’ weaknesses. In 2000, Naomi Klein wrote of the symbolic value of the “brand” in late capitalism, in which the brand accrues a value that is not matched by investment in production or in development, as in the job titles of the candidates for The Apprentice which are not anchored in any visible skill or experience. In No Logo Klein argues: Brand builders are the new primary producers in our so-called knowledge economy … The lavish spending on marketing, mergers and brand extensions has been matched by a never-before-seen resistance to investing in production facilities and labor. (Klein, 2000, p. 196) In The Apprentice the contestants are required to develop brands in 12 Herculean tasks, for their products, their teams, and for themselves. In the American version, most of those tasks were tied to brand names associated with the Trump empire and with the business enterprises of his wife and daughter, a self-promotion which British broadcasting and advertising regulations would not allow. In both the British and the American versions, however, the neo-liberalism of the selling of the self is matched by a Darwinian struggle for survival. The programme demands that the members of the group pick on the weakest link each week and eject them from the promise of business success. Nick Couldry has argued that the genre of reality television in itself has the potential to: normalize a particular type of individualism, a self-improvement project that does not necessarily rate caring for others as a high priority … aggression on reality TV, for example the UK version of The Apprentice resonates with other norms of the neoliberal workplace (Couldry, 2010, p. 80) That aggression was even more marked in the American version of The Apprentice. Kellner (2016) has described the masculine and ruthless



competitiveness that Trump asserted in his role as “Chairman” of the programme (a ruthlessness that both male and female participants were expected to emulate): The Apprentice provided a Trumpian pedagogy of how to succeed in the cut-throat corporate capitalist business world with the show illustrating what aggressive, highly competitive, and sometimes amoral tactics are needed to win and gain success, and provided for a generation the message that winning was everything and that losing was devastating. (Kellner, 2016, pp. 8–9) Gareth Palmer has pointed to the way in which the enterprise culture fuelled lifestyle programming as a genre: … lifestyle celebrates a new world in which the old restrictions no longer apply. This is enterprise writ large, and enterprise that depends for its drive on the love of families and exults in its distance from the state and any other old fashioned authorities. In place of a welfare state and notions of state dependency with its concomitant “weakness” are networks of expertise in newly privatized realms all working to the same transparent managerial ethos. (Palmer, 2008, p. 5) The Apprentice is a game show in which that managerial ethos is unquestioned, and the prize is a form of internship. It is no longer enough to simply embellish the self through the consumption of branded commodities, or to brand oneself in the search for celebrity and career success. The self is itself now expected to become a commodified brand in the hunt for employment, a process which did not begin with but was accelerated by social media. As Nick Couldry has pointed out, the media works to: “amplify or at least normalize values and mechanisms important to neoliberalism” (Couldry, 2010, p. 73). Social media platforms are used for social exchange, and also for the promotion of the self and for corporate and product promotion. This is at its most explicit in the professional networking site LinkedIn, which promises users that it will help to: “Manage your professional identity.” As Banet-Weiser points out, there is an industry of branding professionals concerned to embellish your social media profile: “Self-branding experts and professional Facebook photographers provide support services for the job of building a self-brand.” (Banet-Weiser, 2012, p. 58). NLP offered a branded and commodified form of “therapy,” which encouraged individuals to brand themselves as a success. In Lord Sugar’s terms: “Do you think like a winner? Can you lead from the front? How hungry are you – for the job as well as personal success? Can you sell yourself as you would any other product you believe in?” (Sugar, 2006, p. 219).

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Trump, Johnson and neo-liberal populism Trump’s reputation as a “deal maker” came less from his property empire (he has filed for corporate bankruptcy six times) than it did from his persona on The Apprentice. The American co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and civil rights activist LaTosha Brown provided a succinct summation of Trump and spoke for many at the time of riots across the United States in response to the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. She foregrounded Trump’s status as a media celebrity: He’s a TV personality. He has a cult following centred around this white power broker persona, rooted in white supremacy and racism. Wherever he goes, he carries that role and that kind of persona … what we’re looking for in this country is real leadership. He is incapable of providing that because that’s not who he is. (The Guardian, 2 June 2020, p. 7) “That kind of persona” is a particular configuration of political masculinities which is not restricted to professional politicians. As Luyt and Starck (2020) have argued, there is a need to recognise individuals, groups, practices, and representations (which may not be masculine, as in the case of Dewberry and Hopkins) that impact upon the political sphere and which are not as easily incorporated into the directly political. What Trump and Johnson demonstrate is the capacity of the media and of entertainment to nurture and promote a particular form of masculine charismatic leadership. Nick Cohen, writing in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, argued that populist leaders such as Trump and Johnson are marked by vanity, and that that vanity becomes central to their political strategy: The vanity is more than striking, it is essential to the right’s attempt to maintain its power. Supporters of strong men do not want populist leaders who are “just like us”. They want to believe their heroes are smarter and better. The manufacture of the myth of exceptional talent is as important to the strongman as the ability to turn their voters against journalists, judges and any other independent group that might check them … Trump has persuaded his core supporters to believe that he is a superman, who can master any problem and cut any deal, ever since he first ran for president. (Cohen, 2020, p. 46) Boris Johnson is no less vain. His persona is not so much about commercial prowess, but he too has promoted an idea of himself as a smart and exceptional talent, a reputation that was forged in journalism and television appearances. Johnson began his career as a writer for The Times (where he



was sacked for fabricating a quote); from 1999 to 2005 he was editor of the right-wing journal The Spectator. Cohen writes of Johnson: A little learning was not a dangerous thing for him but a smart career move. It convinced conservative-inclined voters that Johnson had enjoyed the education of the old imperial ruling class and was not the light weight he appeared to be. The fact that hardly any educated person studies Latin and Greek today made it easier for Johnson to bluff his way to the top when so few could see the vacuity behind the pose. (Cohen, 2020, p. 46) Boris Johnson developed his reputation as a relatively benign political figure who was cleverer than he seemed on the comedy news programme Have I Got News for You, for which he won a BAFTA award as Best Entertainment Performance. His appearances on Have I Got News for You brought Johnson’s persona as an affable political wit to the attention of many who had not known him as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph or The Spectator and who would go on to vote for him as Mayor of London, leader of the Conservative Party and, in 2019, Prime Minister. In 2019, the regular panellist and editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop (who does know his Latin and Greek), commented in an outtake from the programme (which was not broadcast, but which went viral on social media), while Johnson was under investigation for misleading the public over his claims in the Brexit campaign, that he wanted Johnson to have a fair trial “with a desirable result of him being in prison for ever” (https://www.independent.co. uk, 13 June 2019, accessed June 2020). Jonathan Coe had already pointed to the significance of Have I Got News for You for Johnson’s career, seven years before he became Prime Minister: And one certainly shouldn’t underestimate the role played by Have I Got News for You … On four subsequent occasions (in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006), Johnson acted not as a panellist but as guest host of the programme, and these appearances cemented the public image of him as a lovable, self-mocking buffoon. In an age when politicians are judged first of all on personality, when the public assumes all of them to be deceitful, and when it’s easier and much more pleasurable to laugh about a political issue than to think about it, Johnson’s apparent self-deprecating honesty and lack of concern for his own dignity were bound to make him a hit. (Coe, 2013) That self-deprecation and image as a “self-mocking buffoon,” a particularly public school and masculine persona, served Johnson far less well when a real crisis hit. Trump’s self-promoting masculine strutting and vanity would

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also prove ineffective when global leadership was required. Neither Trump nor Johnson would emerge well from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The neoliberal attack on the welfare state in Britain and the espousal of a small state in America left both countries horribly exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19. The pandemic made it brutally clear that the populist qualities promoted by entrepreneurs, propounded by Trump and Johnson (and endorsed on popular television) are not only of little use in a global health crisis, but positively contributed to its spread. The privatisation of the health service and of care homes, the outsourcing of testing, drug development and of protective equipment, the overriding of local and public health authorities in favour of commercial “providers,” the insistence on individual responsibility when social cohesion was required, were all part of the neo-liberal agenda embraced by populist leaders and in popular discourse, and all have been significant factors in the spread of the virus and in the disproportionate death rates in countries led by populist male leaders. It was the countries and states led by women that dealt most successfully with the impact of the virus, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Sanna Marin of Finland, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark and K. K. Shailaja, the Health Minister of Kerala State in India, all presided over relatively low rates of infection. They all understood “the craft of co-operation” that Sennett had identified, they understood the need for collective action and refused the competitive masculine individualism that served to undermine a world-wide effort at containment. In stark contrast, the assertively masculine populist leaderships of Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, and Modi all underestimated the impact of the virus, characterising it as an enemy that could be vanquished by the strength and exceptionalism of their countries and their own personal virility. All were slow to react to the pandemic and, at the time of writing, Brazil, America, India, and England13 have the highest mortality rates in the world, and Johnson, Bolsonaro, and Trump have personally succumbed to the virus. The myth of the strong populist male leader and of the exceptional and entrepreneurial “superman” has proved to be lethal.

Notes 1 Modi appeared in the form of a hologram at campaigning rallies, and Trump’s use of Twitter is notorious, as illustrated in detail in this volume in Chapter 13 by Jules Boykoff. 2 Donald Trump evaded the Vietnam War by claiming that he had “heel spurs”, a medical condition that prevented him from being called up. 3 The prize in the American series was a US$250,000 contract to promote one of Trump’s properties. In the British version the prize was originally a job in Sugar’s company, but later became an investment in the candidate’s own business. 4 The Republican senator and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger took over for one season after Trump, but Trump was so abusive about his ratings and his performance that he declined to do another series.



5 The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted plans for the next series, but it is expected to go ahead. 6 At its peak, The Apprentice achieved an audience of 5.95 million in the UK and 20.7 million in America. 7 https://www.bbc.co.uk, accessed May 2020. 8 The Broadcasting Act was passed in 1990. 9 Paul McKenna has a PhD from a business school on the subject of NLP. 10 Rather worryingly, the authors cite Christ as the ideal executive coach: ‘For us both personally, Jesus in the way he listened to, challenged and coached people, has been an inspiration as a leader’ (Shaw & Linnecar, 2007, p. x). 11 In 1954 it was also reported that Fred Trump had been arrested for attending a Ku Klux Klan march, although he was not convicted (see Pearl, Mike, All the Evidence we could find about Fred Trump’s Alleged Involvement with the KKK, Vice Guide to the 2016 Election, https://www.vice.com, 10 March 2016, accessed June 2020). 12 Harrold has, according to her website, acted as an advisor for television (although the programmes remain unspecified). Among the services she offers are “decluttering”, “detox your wardrobe”, and “home makeover”, all subjects for lifestyle television series. 13 England, rather than Britain; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have distanced themselves from the Johnson government and have pursued different policies.

References Banet-Weiser, S. 2012. AuthenticTM: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture. New York, NY: New York University Press. Barrett, W. 1979. Like father, like son: Anatomy of a young power broker. Village Voice, 15 January. Available from: https://www.villagevoice.com. Boyes, C. 2010. Career Management Secrets. London, UK: Harper Collins. Coe, C. 2013. Swimming Giggling into the Sea. London Review of Books, 35 (14), 18 July. Available from: https://www.lrb.co.uk. Cohen, C. 2020. Evil Geniuses? The Observer, 31 May, p. 46. Couldry, N. 2010. Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics after Neoliberalism. London, UK: Sage. Davies, E. 2005. Dragons’ Den: Your Idea Can Make You Rich. London, UK: Vermilion. Dewberry, M. with Billowes, M. 2008. Anything is Possible. London, UK: Orion. Dunn, C. & Spence, B. 1984. Self-Marketing: A Guide to Creative Job Search. Brentford, UK: Training and Development Publications. Field, L. 2004. Weekend Life Coach: How to get the life you want in 48 hours. London: Random House. Field, L. 2005. Instant Life Coach: 200 Brilliant Ways To Be Your Best. London: Random House. Harrold, F. 2001. Be Your Own Life Coach: How to take control of your life and achieve your wildest dreams. London, UK: Hodder and Stoughton. Harrold, F. 2002. The 10-Minute Life Coach Fast-working strategies for a brand new you. London: Hodder. Harvey, D. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

72 Deborah Philips Kellner, D. 2016. American nightmare: Donald Trump, Media Spectacle, and Authoritarian Populism. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers. Klein, N. 2000. No Logo. London, UK: Flamingo. Klein, N. 2007. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. London, UK: Allen Lane. Leys, C. 2001. Market-driven Politics: Neoliberal Democracy and the Public Interest. London, UK: Version. Lowenthal, L. 1968. Literature, Popular Culture, and Society. Palo Alto, CA: Pacific Books. Luyt, R. & Starck, K. 2020. Only for the brave? Political men and masculinities: Change agents for gender equality. In Luyt, R. & Starck, K. (eds.). Masculine Power and Gender Equality: Political Masculinities as Change Agents. New York: Springer, pp. 1–14. Martin, C. and O’Donovan, G. 2000. The Thirty-Minute Life Coach: Everything You Wanted To Know About Life Coaching. London: Coaching Academy UK Ltd. McKenna, P. 2000. Instant Confidence: The power to go for anything you want. London: Bantam Press. McGee, M. 2005. Self-Help, Inc. Makeover Culture in American Life. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. McGuigan, J. 2009. Cool Capitalism. London, UK: Pluto Books. Meret, S. 2015. Charismatic female leadership and gender: Pia Kjærsgaard and the Danish People’s Party. Patterns of Prejudice, 49 (1–2), pp. 81–102. Meret, S., Siim, B., & Pingaud, E. 2017. Men’s parties with women leaders: A comparative study of the right-wing populist leaders Pia Kjaersgaard, Marine Le Pen and Siv Jensen. In Lazaridis, G. & Campani, G. (eds.). Understanding the Populist Shift: Othering in a Europe in Crisis. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 122–149. Montoya, P. with Vandehey, T. 2009. The Brand Called You: Create a Personal Brand that Wins Attention and Grows Your Business. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C. R. 2017. Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. O’Connor, J. & Seymour, J. 1990. Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming: The New Psychology of Personal Excellence. Bodmin, UK: Crucible. Palmer, G. (ed.). 2008. Introduction – The Habit of Scrutiny. In Palmer, G. (ed.). Exposing Lifestyle Television: The Big Reveal. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 1–13. Plunkett, J. 2015. Katie Hopkins: Sun migrants article petition passes 200,000 mark. The Guardian, 20 April. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/media/ 2015/apr/20/katie-hopkins-sun-migrants-article-petition-nears-180000-mark. Rees-Mogg, M. 2008. Dragons or Angels? An Unofficial Guide to Dragons’ Den and Business Investment. Richmond, UK: Crimson. Schawbel, D. 2009. Me 2.0: Build a powerful brand to achieve career success. London: Kaplan. Sennett, R. 2012. Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-Operation. London, UK: Yale University Press. Shaw, P. J. A. & Linnecar, R. (2007). Business Coaching: Achieving Practical Results Through Effective Engagement. Chichester, UK: Capstone. Sugar, A. 2006. The Apprentice – How to Get Hired Not Fired. London, UK: BBC Worldwide.

Chapter 5

The radical populist pitch of the 2009–2011 U2360° Tour Michael Williams

Introduction The summer of 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, which attracted over half a million attendees and symbolised the counter-cultural ideals of music, peace, and love (Storey, 2006). This event demonstrates a long history of radical populism within rock music and concerts. The most famous politically and socially informed conscience rock” spectacle, as Shuker (2008) highlights, was the 1985 “Live Aid” concert, which raised awareness and over $US200 billion for famine relief in Ethiopia and was viewed on television by over two billion people (McPherson 2015, p. 18). McPherson (2015, p. 20) explains that the mid-1980s, and in particular the Live Aid concert in Wembley, were key to the development of U2’s careers as rock superstars and political activists. Featherstone (1991, p. 122) describes events such as Woodstock and the Live Aid concerts as “festive moments, in which the everyday routine world becomes transformed into an extraordinary sacred world” that can “invoke a more direct sense of emotional solidarity.” He suggests these events can “reawaken and reinforce moral concerns such as the sense of common humanity, the sacredness of the person, human rights […].” This chapter argues that U2’s radical populist pitch promotes a message of peace and unity as a means of raising awareness of global humanitarian issues. Despite their support for numerous social and political organisations and campaigns, the band have avoided aligning themselves with any particular political party or view. Instead, they have “clung to the more cautious catchall of human rights” (McPherson, 2015, p. 17). U2 can best be described as pacifists. Their advocacy of peace and non-violence and involvement with humanitarian organisations underscores the band’s radical stance. One of U2’s earliest associations with radicalism was their support for the “Give Peace a Chance” exhibit at the Chicago Peace Museum, organised by peace activists. Furthermore, the lyrics of many of U2’s songs are inherently political. Influenced by their upbringing in a divided Ireland, one of the band’s most overtly political songs, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” refers to events of 20 November 1920 in Dublin during the Irish struggle for independence, when

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in retaliation for the assassination of 14 British secret service agents and two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary in an Irish Republican Army operation, British army auxiliaries opened fire on the crowd at a football match at the Gaelic Athletic Association headquarters in Croke Park: “13 people were killed, including the captain of the Tipperary side … and three children” (Sugden & Bairner, 1995, p. 32). A further 60 were injured in what became known as “Bloody Sunday”. A similar event occurred in 1972 in Derry where British Paratroopers opened fire on members of a Civil Rights march, killing 14 people and injuring a further 14. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” captured the band’s response to these events. However, before every performance, the lead singer, Bono, had to state “this is not a rebel song” in order to underline that it was not in support of the Irish Republican Army. The band’s philosophy of peace and non-violence led them to perform at a concert in 1998 in support of the “Yes” vote for the “Good Friday Agreement” in Northern Ireland. This provided a unique publicity opportunity for Bono to hold up the hands of former First Minister of Northern Ireland and Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble, and John Hume, who was Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party at that time. This acted as a symbol of unity for the divided communities of Ireland and reinforced U2’s advocacy for peaceful resolution of conflict. U2’s music and concerts are full of socio-political messages, which are communicated through the song lyrics, short speeches, and visual elements of the concerts. The band seeks support from their global audiences for selected socio-political causes they believe in and feature in their live music performances. Bono is widely acknowledged in the media for championing various humanitarian causes and lobbying key political and business leaders. McPherson (2015, p. 15) highlights that: “Bono has helped wring tens of billions of dollars for the poor out of the U.S. political system and tens of billions more from other developed nations.” Bono has received many awards in recognition of this work, including several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Man of Peace award, an honorary knighthood and the United Nations Ambassador of Conscience Award (McPherson, 2015). However, Browne (2013) debates the effectiveness of the singer’s humanitarian work, arguing that it perpetuates global inequalities. Despite criticism of the band’s efforts to address injustices and inequalities: “few have questioned U2’s good intentions and even its leadership in reshaping activism in the modern world” (McPherson, 2015, p. 99). U2’s 360° Tour remains the most successful rock music spectacle in history. It was seen by nearly eight million people, broke numerous attendance records, and contributed to the band’s commercial and artistic success, generating a gross profit of approximately £600 million (Billboard, 2011). However, despite the commercial motivations of the tour, U2’s shows create a meaningful multi-dimensional experience for the fans and enable the band to connect with their audience, in order to gain support for the various socio-

The 2009–2011 U2360° Tour


political campaigns they promote within and outside their shows. U2’s concerts aim to raise awareness of, and support for, a range of socio-political themes and campaigns. They also offer cultural and political resources that entertain as well as help individuals to make sense of their worlds. This chapter examines the concept of populism in the context of U2’s (2009– 2011) 360° Tour and their fans’ responses. It focuses on the relationship between music, politics, and audiences in the production and consumption of a rock music spectacle. The findings draw upon a larger research project, which aimed to develop a better understanding of the concept of spectacle and the “spectacularisation” of rock music events. The research is underpinned by critical sociology and draws on a blend of netnography and ethnography. The research setting for this chapter focused on four concerts in different geographic regions and in different legs of the tour. The shows included Dublin, which took place in 2009, Istanbul and Moscow (2010), and Pittsburgh (2011). Rich qualitative data were collected in three phases, including preliminary online research of selected U2-related websites, in-depth semi-structured interviews with 26 fans, which were conducted via Skype, and a qualitative content analysis of documentary material. Interviewees are referred to by pseudonyms to protect their identity. The locations of the concert that they attended are indicated in brackets, following their name. Data gathered from U2-related websites are acknowledged as online comments. As a long-time fan of U2 since the 1980s, the researcher has extensive knowledge and experience of U2’s music and concerts. Researching the spectacle as a fan-scholar combined critical reflexivity with detailed insider knowledge of U2 and their concerts to gain an empathetic understanding of the fans’ experiences of the 360° Tour. First, the chapter examines selected theoretical considerations that underpin this research, focusing on the concepts of populism and power. Second, the band’s promotion of various socio-political causes, narratives and campaigns, and the fans’ reactions to them are investigated. Lastly, the fans’ comments on the role of the band and their producers on their lives, actions, views, and opinions are discussed.

Theoretical considerations: populism and charismatic authority Before examining the populist nature of U2’s 360° Tour, it is important to outline the theories that underpin the analysis. First, the notion of populism in the context of popular culture is considered. Second, selected theories of power are contemplated. Taggart (2000, p. 2) describes populism as a “difficult, slippery concept.” He suggests that complex characteristics make general definitions of populism illusive. Populism exists “in different forms […] and is associated with movements, leaders, regimes, ideas and styles” (Taggart, 2000, p. 5). McGuigan (1992, p. 2) argues that the term populism is normally associated with political as opposed to cultural dialogue and is commonly considered negatively in both academic and non-academic analyses of culture. This

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chapter draws on the notion of cultural populism, which “recognises the intervening power of the industry, but which invests audiences with the capacity to reinterpret and subvert its messages” (Street, 1997, p. 18). Culture “acquires political significance through the interpretations put upon it” (ibid.). McGuigan (1992, p. 2) defines cultural populism as “diffuse political sentiments associated routinely with certain analytical protocols” (McGuigan, 1992, p. 2). Street (1997, pp. 151–161) distinguishes between conservative populism, which he argues is “creating rather than reflecting the ‘people’ and their pleasures,” and radical populism, which proposes that “people are actively engaged in the consumption of their culture; they are not its passive recipients.” Radical populists view popular culture as “an expression of the interests and tastes of those who make use of it […] deriving from a desire or need to subvert a dominant ideology” (Street 1997, 169). This chapter argues that U2’s performances constitute a form of radical populism due to the promotion of socio-political themes within their concerts. McGuigan (1992) and Street’s (1997) ideas are useful for examining the socio-political themes and campaigns within U2’s shows as they suggest that audiences can generate meaning from their radical populist pitch. The chapter explores the idea of rock music events as part of a capitalist system of production, which, on the one hand, forms a mass cultural product that is consumed by mass audiences; and, on the other hand, creates spectacles such as U2’s 360° Tour concerts, which through their affective power and the meaning the event presents to audiences and their political content, offer active, engaging and, to some extent, rebellious experiences (Grossberg, 1984). Politics and political ideas, themes and narratives formed a key part of U2’s 360° Tour. To comprehend the relationship between musicians, politics, and audiences, it is crucial to consider the concept of power, which has been a key focus for the most influential social scientists, including Michel Foucault (1982), Antonio Gramsci (1971), Karl Marx (1990), and Max Weber (1947). This research draws on Max Weber’s (1978) understanding of power, which focused on forms and sources of power in terms of coercion and authority. It especially draws upon Weber’s (1947, p. 2) notion of “charismatic authority”. Weber (ibid.) suggests there are two forms of charisma – it can be a natural characteristic or it can be “produced artificially in an object or person through some extraordinary means.” Rojek (2011) has argued that charisma is either mediated or unmediated. He acknowledges that the media frequently label entertainers such as Bono, Mick Jagger, and Beyoncé as charismatic. However, he questions the effectiveness of their charisma and suggests that although stars such as these may be able to “exert a magical effect on stage,” this is not as successful when transferred to the political realm (Rojek, 2011, p. 98). Nevertheless, Weber’s ideas are helpful in determining the nature of power in relation to U2 fan communities and music, and the concept of “charismatic authority” remains useful for understanding the power of celebrity.

The 2009–2011 U2360° Tour


Socio-political themes, narratives, and campaigns Integral to U2’s concerts are a number of recurring socio-political themes and narratives. These included world peace, freedom, poverty, and civil rights, which were communicated in the song lyrics, Bono’s speeches, and in the show’s visual displays. The issues were conveyed in a variety of ways, for example a recorded video message from South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This contained a general message of peace and unity and referred specifically to HIV/Aids support in Africa, and the “One” campaign. Moreover, the band explained their support for a range of political initiatives and organisations, including the One campaign, “(RED)” – which “work[s] with the world’s most iconic brands and organizations to develop (RED)-branded products and services” to raise funds for HIV/AIDS programmes in Africa ((RED), 2019) – Amnesty International, and Greenpeace. They also addressed contemporary socio-political issues, for example Amnesty International’s support for the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, though both Amnesty International and U2 have withdrawn their previous support for the Burmese leader in light of her failure to respond to the persecution of the Rohingya people of Myanmar; and the disappearance of Fehmi Tosuna, a Kurdish construction worker who was detained and subsequently “disappeared” whilst in the custody of Turkish authorities due to his associations with the far-left Kurdish Workers Party or PKK (Amnesty International, 2019). Fans reflected how these socio-political messages influenced their experience of the shows. They also contemplated their level of support, or resistance, to them. Furthermore, fans expressed their views on the band’s involvement in the various socio-political issues within the 360° show. For example, Julia (Istanbul) commented: “Using the power of music which brought 50,000 people together and adding more meaning to what they do. i. e. using this chance to communicate what everyone should care about.” Julia’s comment supports Featherstone’s (1991, p. 122) assertion that “festive moments” such as U2’s concerts unite people in a form of “emotional solidarity.” Similarly, Darren (Moscow) remarked: “Well the purpose of those [messages] is to enlighten people, to let them know what is happening around the world.” Moreover, Alex (Moscow) explained: You go to a U2 concert their agenda is more than the music, that’s really, really clear. You don’t just go and passively listen to the music and go yeah that was quite pleasant […] the intention, explicit intention, I think of the band is to be political. I think Bono’s particularly kind of clear political agenda, I think it alienate[s] people, I think it encourages people and then there’s people like me who it does a bit of both to. Sally (Dublin and Istanbul) explained that the messages are a call to action: “they [the band] are always like ‘Hey come on’, ‘you can do things if you are

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active and you activate yourselves.’ ‘The time is now’.” Furthermore, Sally elaborated: And also like Bono has plenty of times told that […] well, it is ridiculous to be a superstar, but if you can make something out of it, you can use it. So you can use it for […] for […] getting through some ideas […] it feeds itself: and they want to […] they have you […] you know the word empowerment? When you come to a U2 concert you go to empower yourself, actually. It is an empowerment process, isn’t it? Corner’s (2000) notion of “mediated persona” is useful for comprehending the fans’ responses to U2’s shows and how they help to empower fans. Corner (2000) proposed three modes of “mediated personas” that are vital for successful political leadership. First, mediated personas need to be “iconic”, in terms of the presentation of their posture and demeanour in photographs and interviews. Second, “vocal” aspects in terms of what is said (the message), and the influence of how it is said are important (Rojek, 2013a, p. 58). Lastly, “kinetic” elements relating to the use of props, and the camera, to create a “staged presence” are necessary in order to “dissolve any sense of them and us” (Rojek, 2013a, p. 60). Rojek suggests that Bono’s “mediated persona” attempts to persuade people that “we all share the same worries and fears” (Rojek, 2013a, p. 60). Similarly, Goodman and Barnes (2011, p. 73) refer to artists such as Bono as “development celebrities,” who support and promote social and political causes. They refer to the creation of “star/poverty” space, which is produced “in and through the materialities of photographs, images and texts that work to create the development celebrity alongside its transnational networks and connections of care and compassion.” These ideas help to explain Julia’s (Istanbul) remarks about the common issues that everyone should be concerned about. Sally’s (Dublin and Istanbul) reference to Bono as a superstar denotes his iconic/development celebrity status. Furthermore, Josie (Dublin) explained how “Bono would talk about Africa.” Josie’s comment illustrates the vocal aspects of Bono’s mediated persona. Lastly, Alex’s (Moscow) reminiscences of the use of African flags within U2’s shows demonstrate the kinetic elements of U2’s mediated persona, in terms of their use of props and stagecraft to create a sense of unity with that continent. Alex commented that although he was unable to recall the specific socio-political messages, he did remember the band referring to Africa: “my broad recollections from the 360 shows was it was quite a long […] um … oh, I know, yes, it was Africa because when they did ‘Streets’ it was the African flags, didn’t they?” Fans also commented on the specific themes, narratives and campaigns that were promoted within the shows. For example, fans referred to the band’s support for projects addressing HIV/Aids and poverty in Africa. Josie (Dublin) described how Bono explained “how the politicians would get

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together to help people with HIV or research for a cure. How they are funding that research. So, it was like more general political views from the band.” Josie’s comment confirms that fans are aware of Bono’s support for research into HIV/Aids in Africa. The band’s support for Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, formed a key part of the 360° show. Fans responded differently to U2’s requests for them to wear masks of Suu Kyi during the event. For example, Sean (Istanbul) explained that he “wore the mask of Aung San Suu Kyi in order to support her freedom.” However, many fans were critical of this part of the show. Xavier (Moscow) commented: “I thought it was a bit gimmicky, you know what I mean?” Don (Dublin) made a similar comment: And in the early days there was the whole Aung San Suu Kyi mask arrangement, which I just didn’t really think kind of worked well; I am not sure what point it was meant to […] obviously what point it was meant to deliver. But I am not sure whether every 1 in 50 people or 1 in 100 people putting on a black-and-white mask actually […] actually delivered anything. Furthermore, Don added: And you could see […] he dedicated the song to her and her visuals were on screen at the time. And you can make the connection between the song and the message; yet he just wants to put up this bloody barrier of, you know, […] putting the bloody mask on your face while he is doing it. These comments question the effectiveness of the band’s desire to be taken seriously for their artistic and political work. Although Don acknowledges the connection between U2’s music and their support for Aung San Suu Kyi, he criticises the band’s attempt to encourage fans to support her freedom by asking them to wear a mask of the Burmese leader. Jones (2012, p. 119) explains that every night the band “would make a dramatic call for her [Aung San Suu Kyi] release, as a procession of volunteers from Bono’s One advocacy organisation and members of Amnesty International, along with local volunteers paraded around the stage wearing masks with her image on.” By refusing to wear the mask of Aung San Suu Kyi, many fans such as Don rejected the means by which the band communicated their support for the Burmese leader. In addition to commenting on the specific social and political themes and campaigns, fans expressed their views and opinions on the inclusion of these issues within U2’s shows. For example, Rick (Pittsburgh) explained: I like that aspect of U2 shows […] I happen to be fairly well aligned with a lot of their politics. Although I don’t […] I’ve never really thought

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about it or tried to sort out is that part of why I really like U2, for me they’re sort of not necessarily connected but I do like that aspect of U2. Furthermore, some fans explained how they actively supported socio-political initiatives, such as the One campaign and (RED). They also acknowledged how they had become more aware of socio-political issues as a result of attending the 360° shows. For example, Rick commented: I did sign up to one campaign. I love the concept of the One campaign because they don’t ask […] they’re not hounding you for money, they send you stuff and if you want to sign on to a petition or to send your congressmen a note, I do that […] I respond to One campaign requests and I buy (RED) products whenever I can coz […] I do believe in that, in what (RED) is doing in terms of buying HIV treatments. In contrast, some fans expressed their opposition to Bono’s political activism. Alex (Moscow) explained: There’s a lot I disagree with. I don’t like, you know, I don’t agree with Bono’s answers to the questions. I wouldn’t automatically support something because it was sort of put forward by the band. I’m pretty fairly critical of a sort of capitalist solution to things and his kind of free market economics, […] but I agree that he’s doing what he believes is right and he wants to help people, and to that extent, I think it’s a good thing, so I think they’re treading a fine line. Rojek’s (2013a, p. 133) notion of “celanthropy” is useful for examining the fans’ views about the band’s efforts to disseminate socio-political messages. Furthermore, his concept of “moral energy” helps to describe the band’s motivations to promote the various socio-political campaigns (Rojek, 2013a, p. 25). Rojek (2013b, p. 25) distinguishes between “ludic energy,” which is “hedonistic” and is associated with “dancing […] shouting, singing etc” and “moral energy,” which he explains is “disciplined and constructive,” and aims to improve society. Alex’s (Moscow) remarks about the effectiveness of Bono’s solutions to global poverty and HIV/Aids in Africa align with Rojek’s (2013a) critique of the use of celebrity power to solve the world’s problems. Rick’s (Pittsburgh) engagement in U2’s political campaigns, however, clearly contradicts this point. This research demonstrates that U2’s 360° Tour provided fans with cultural and political resources that help them to make sense of a range of issues. In this sense, U2’s shows delivered a form of radical populism (Street, 1997, p. 161). For example, Sally’s (Dublin and Istanbul) comments suggested that the political messages within the shows were a call to action and a source of empowerment. Moreover, Alex (Moscow) acknowledged

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that the shows offered more than live music. He also referred to the explicit political agenda within U2’s shows but explained that this attracts, as well as alienates, fans. Alex’s remark illustrates the fans’ agency in interpreting, accepting or rejecting the political essence of U2’s shows, independently from the context in which they were produced (Fiske, 1992).

The band and their influence: leadership and control The band, and in particular Bono, utilised their charisma during the 360° Tour to influence the fans and gain their support for various socio-political initiatives, such as the One campaign. Moreover, they applied their popular appeal and high profile to secure the support of politicians and government officials for their particular socio-political campaigns. They also used their status to acquire certain privileges and promotional opportunities. Furthermore, U2 expressed their support for, and solidarity with, various artists and political activists, such as Turkey’s Zülfü Livaneli, a local folk singer, by inviting them to perform at their shows. During the concerts, many fans consent to Bono as their legitimate leader and do not hesitate to follow his instructions to jump, sing and cheer, and show their support for organisations such as the One campaign and the (RED) organisation. Balandier (1972, p. 26) suggests that legitimacy is a “distinctive criterion of authority.” He explains that power develops as a form of domination; however, its effectiveness is limited by the consent that legitimises it (Balandier, 1972, p. 27). Furthermore, Street (2012, p. 76) argues that stars such as Bono are legitimised due to their popular appeal, and portrayal by the media, as the voice of the people. Some fans view Bono as the leader of the U2 community and explained how he is able to make them actively take part in certain activities. For example, Sasha (Pittsburgh) remarked: “I think Bono leads these things. Oh yeah, you do what he tells you to do.” Vera (Moscow) confirmed Bono’s qualities as a leader: I think he is special – he is a special person. He is the one who is born to be not only a showman, it is not about the show. He is an artist and he is great. So, he has […] he has this kind of gift. And he decided that he is going to use this gift to help people and teach people how to love each other. And I strongly believe in it. I know it probably sounds naïve and […] but I do believe in it. Weber’s (1947) notion of charismatic authority captures Bono’s power over the fans’ activities, as well as those of other artists such as Zülfü Livaneli. Vera’s (Moscow) remarks about Bono’s “gift” as an artist imply that he possesses charismatic authority. Balandier (1972, p. 26) explains that “charismatic domination, […] is emotional in character and dependent on total

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confidence in an exceptional man, by virtue of his sanctity, his heroism or his exemplary character.” Furthermore, Vera’s comments support the notion that Bono acts as a modern-day secular “shaman.” Cohen (1972, p. 300) explains that the “shaman’s authority is attributed by Weber to charisma based upon his magical powers and epileptic trances.” Vera’s comments suggest that Bono possesses magical powers in terms of his “special” artistic talent. Another fan, Ron (Pittsburgh and Dublin), reflected on how Bono uses gestures to influence the actions of the fans: “But again, it is like Bono: he will do the thing with his hands like […] ‘Mysterious Ways’, he will do this thing when he waves his hand to the left and the right and everybody follows him.” Moreover, Ron remembered: “Bono is always prompting the crowd to do certain things like […] like ‘Streets’, you know, when he started doing that in 1987. He started going up-up-up and everyone just starts jumping up and down.” This research reinforces the notion that fans “place themselves instinctively under the authority of a chief” (LeBon, 2003, p. 129). Ron’s statement about Bono’s instruction to jump, and wave their hands, acknowledges the effect of his authority over the fans. Similarly, Breda’s (Istanbul) admissions about Bono’s leadership highlight the effect the singer has on the audience. Furthermore, Ron’s (Pittsburgh and Dublin) remarks about how the crowd responded to Bono’s gestures and signals demonstrate the impact of his charismatic authority. However, Sally (Dublin and Istanbul) revealed that there was a limit to Bono’s influence over her actions: And well, maybe […] maybe the limit for me goes like […] even if Bono says like “Go in and sign to this site” I won’t do it (chuckles) because of the principle I want to choose myself to which […] things that I sign into. I mean I can […] I am glad to see their concerts and several of them. But my limit goes there. He says like “do this” and “do this” like exactly! So, then I am not very interested in that. Furthermore, Breda referred to an incident when the Turkish fans booed the singer at the Istanbul concert: And as I mentioned before, Bono gave his thanks to one of our ministers […] which we gave “Boo” […] many Turkish people thought that Bono was on the side of the ruler party of Turkey: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the AK Party, and that is why they booed him. Sally’s and Breda’s comments demonstrate that not all U2’s fans support Bono’s populist pitch and political allegiances due to his occasional bad political judgement. Online discussions also considered how the band successfully negotiated with state officials in order to attain certain privileges. For example, a concert

The 2009–2011 U2360° Tour


reviewer explained how Bono thanked the Turkish State Minister Egemen Bag˘ is for “helping his band to fulfil its dream of walking on the Bosphorus Bridge between two continents.” This demonstrates that Bono’s charismatic authority influences state officials, as well as the fans, and other artists. Normally, pedestrians are not permitted to walk across the Bosphorus Bridge. The online comments also highlight how U2’s presence in Istanbul presented the Turkish government with public relations opportunities. Although Bono’s references to, and associations with, various political elites endorsed his legitimacy as a leader, the success of this strategy is flawed, as fans criticised some of these relationships. For example, Vera (Moscow) elaborated on Bono’s references to Mikhail Gorbachev, who was largely responsible for the end of the Cold War and promoted peaceful international relations: As I remember, Bono said a lot of things about Gorbachev, that he respects him so much and all those things. But I wouldn’t say that people […] that people supported this idea […]. Well, it is not so easy with Gorbachev here because you know […] I know that Gorbachev is a massive figure, is a massive person in the world, but for many Russians Gorbachev is the one who destroyed the country and made so many people devastated with nothing in their hands. So, I wouldn’t say that it was the right move to praise Gorbachev during the gig in Moscow. Some fans agreed that part of Bono’s role as a rock star and political activist is to comment on, question and criticise the state’s authority, policies and actions, and respond to political matters during U2’s shows. It appears that others expect Bono to speak on their behalf, which reinforces his legitimacy as the leader of the U2 community and demonstrates their consent to his leadership. For example, referring to the closure of Amnesty International’s temporary marquees, and detainment of its volunteers by the Russian authorities, one fan claimed online that they will be “in shock if Bono doesn’t say something publicly about what transpired.” The fans’ comments regarding Bono’s influence on their attitudes and behaviour align with the idea of Bono acting as a secular “shaman,” and viewing the members of U2 as his “disciples,” who cast a spell over the audience, which enchants the fans in order to persuade them to support their socio-political campaigns and organisations. Rojek (2013a, p. 60) explains that “Bono’s manner seeks to draw the viewer into his confidence.” Similarly, Cogan (2006) refers to the band’s, and in particular Bono’s, ability, to seduce their audience. However, Sally’s (Dublin and Istanbul) remarks show the limitations of Bono’s leadership of the fans; her observations reinforce Rojek’s (2011, p. 98) argument that Bono’s authority is not as successful when “transferred to politics.” This is evident because although Sally responded to Bono as an entertainer, she resisted his request for support of the One campaign. In addition to directing

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the fans’ physical responses, fans also commented on U2’s and Bono’s influence on their views and stances on various socio-political issues.

Conclusion This chapter has highlighted the fans’ multi-layered responses to various radical socio-political themes, narratives, and campaigns that were disseminated within U2’s 360° Tour. The fans’ comments suggest that U2 and Bono utilised their charismatic authority in order to influence their activities and communicate their radical populist pitch, which focused on values, attitudes and beliefs, such as world peace, unity, and support for HIV/Aids projects in Africa that they promoted within the shows. However, the findings also suggest that despite the appeal of the socio-political aspects of U2’s shows for many fans, some did not agree with the band’s political position. Furthermore, some fans indicated that these themes and narratives should not have been included within the concerts. As illustrated by Dafna Kaufman in Chapter 14, popular musical forms operate polysemically and these fans attended U2’s shows to hear the band’s music and were not interested in the socio-political messages within the show; the radical populist pitch of U2’s 360° Tour was not entirely successful. However, that also reveals a fundamental contradiction as U2’s music is inherently political. U2’s shows offered cultural and political resources that empowered many fans by inspiring and motivating them to support campaigns and organisations such as the One campaign and Amnesty International, and heightened their awareness of several global humanitarian issues that were addressed within the shows. In this sense, the political narratives of U2’s 360° Tour focused on improving global society, and so in addition to “ludic energy,” the shows produced a form of “moral energy” (Rojek, 2013b, p. 25), which was framed as a populist pitch to the followers of the band and its charismatic frontman. The notion of “charismatic authority” certainly contributes a deeper understanding of the influence of the band on the audiences’ activities at U2’s shows. This research suggests that Bono acts as secular “shaman,” who is supported by the band members, his “disciples.” Bono and U2 use their charismatic authority to seek to lead, direct, and persuade their audiences, as well as convince other artists to participate in their events, in order to legitimate their moral leadership of the U2 community. The findings revealed how the band’s and Bono’s mediated persona enabled them to achieve their goal of connecting with their audience. The band used their iconic celebrity status, politically motivated speeches and spectacular staging to excite and enchant their fans. However, the extent of their influence is limited, as some fans demonstrably resisted and defied Bono’s political persona and messages. Beyond the site of the rock spectacle the populist message and its reach remain limited. Nonetheless, “festive

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moments” such as Woodstock, Live Aid, and U2’s 360° concerts, as populist modes of address, seem to offer transformative experiences akin to religious gatherings, due to their focus on moral concerns and their ability to engender emotional solidarity.

References Amnesty International. 2019. Turkey: Further information on ‘disappearance’: Fehmi Tosun. Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur44/149/1995/en/ [accessed 21 September 2019]. Balandier, G. 1972. Political Anthropology. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Billboard. 2011. U2’s ‘360’ Is Officially the Most Successful Tour in History. Available at: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/live/472125/u2s-360-is-officially-m ost-successful-tour-of-all-time [accessed 15 May 2011]. Browne, H. 2013. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). London: Verso. Cohen, D. L. 1972. The concept of charisma and the analysis of leadership. Political Studies, 20 (3), pp. 299–305. Cogan, V. 2006. U2: An Irish Phenomenon. Cork: The Collins Press. Corner, J. 2000. Mediated persona and political culture: dimensions of structure and process. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 3 (3), pp. 386–402. Featherstone, M. 1991. Consumer Culture & Postmodernism. London: Sage Publications. Fiske, J. 1992. The cultural economy of fandom. In Lewis, L. A. (ed.). Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media. London: Routledge, pp. 30–49. Foucault, M. 1982. The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8 (4), pp. 777–795. Goodman, M. K. & Barnes, C. 2011. Star/poverty space: the making of the development celebrity. Celebrity Studies, 2 (1), pp. 69–85. Gramsci, A. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Grossberg, L. 1984. Another Boring day in paradise: rock and roll and the empowerment of everyday life. Popular Music, 4, pp. 225–258. Haraway, D. 1988. Situated knowledges: the science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14 (3), pp. 575–599. Jones, D. 2012. From the Ground Up: The Official Story of the Greatest Spectacle in Stadium-Rock History. London: Random House. LeBon, G. 2003. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1896). New York: Kessinger Publishing Co. Marx, K. 1990. Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy. London: Penguin Classics. McGuigan, J. 1992. Cultural Populism. London: Routledge. McPherson, A. 2015. The World and U2: One Band’s Remaking of Global Activism. London: Rowman and Littlefield. One. 2019. About One. Available at: https://www.one.org/us/ [accessed 21 September 2019]. (RED). 2019. How Red Works. Available at: https://www.red.org/how-red-works [accessed 21 September 2019]. Rojek, C. 2011. Pop Music, Pop Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press. Rojek, C. 2013a. Celanthropy, music therapy and ‘big citizen’ samaritans. Celebrity Studies, 4 (2), pp. 129–143.

86 Michael Williams Rojek, C. 2013b. Event Power: How Global Events Manage and Manipulate. London: Sage. Shuker, R. 2008. Understanding Popular Music Culture (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. Storey, J. 2006. Rockin’ hegemony: west coast rock and Amerika’s war in Vietnam. In Storey, J. (ed.). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader. London: Pearson Education, pp. 100–110. Street, J. 1997. Politics and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press. Street, J. 2012. Music and Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press. Sugden, J. & Bairner, A. 1995. Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland. London: Leicester University Press. Taggart, P. 2000. Populism. Buckingham: Open University Press. Turner, D. & Pirie, E. 2016. Problems of Involvement and detachment: a critical approach to researching live event experience. In Lamond, I. R. & Platt, L. (eds.). Critical Event Studies: Approaches to Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers Ltd, pp. 17–35. Weber, M. 1947. The Theory of Social and Economic Organisation. London: Hodge. Weber, M. 1978. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Part 2

National contexts and settings

Chapter 6

Blame Games Sport, populism, and crisis politics in Greece Jacob J. Bustad

Introduction In January 2016, a study abroad programme including students and faculty travelled from Towson University (Maryland, USA) to Greece – the programme included visits to the ancient Olympic sites in Corinth, Delphi, Nemea, and Olympia, as well as to venues and facilities constructed for use during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games. The programme’s title, “Dropping the Baton: Sport and Society in Athens, Greece,” served to emphasise the contrast between the purpose and aims of the ancient Games, and the urban development-driven goals of contemporary Olympic host cities and nations. However, the title also reflected a common sentiment amongst observers of sport at the time – namely, that Greece had seemingly “dropped the baton” in its hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games, at least in terms of promises related to economic growth and rejuvenation via the vast infrastructure projects that the Olympic Games entailed. This sentiment of Greece as a nation in crisis had been particularly pronounced in the preceding months, as presidential elections had been held in September 2015 after nearly five years of political failures that had followed in the wake of the near collapse of the Greek economy in 2009. In response to the following calamitous economic despair – for example, by 2013 the national rate of unemployment was over 25%, and nearly 60% for citizens aged 15–24 (Riley, 2013) – a series of protests and strikes had served to symbolise a growing public discontent, if not outright fury, with the nation’s deteriorating social and economic systems. These actions were also reflected in a broader shift in regard to the nation’s political parties, as voters increasingly left centrist-based designations for populist parties further to the left and right. Such changes to the Greek political structure were made clear in the 2015 presidential election won by Alexis Tsipras, candidate of the leftist, anti-austerity SYRIZA party that had gained power in the parliamentary elections of May 2014. The election of SYRIZA and then Tsipras was initially viewed as a potentially radical change in direction for the nation’s approach to economic and social

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policy, though this government was immediately beset by challenges and perceived shortcomings. Yet at the same time that SYRIZA ascended to power, other forms of populism from both the left and right of the political spectrum were also more evident, including those representing a far-right populism based on exclusionary nationalism and anti-immigration. These shifts in the Greek political landscape serve to emphasise the importance of the nation’s particular economic and social discord, as populism often intensifies in conditions of crisis (Stavrakakis, 2002, cited in Vasilopoulou et al., 2014). This chapter therefore reviews these recent developments in Greece within the context of “crisis” politics and populism, and specifically outlines the interconnections between contemporary Greek politics and international sport. First, I discuss how the 2009 economic crisis resulted in a political vacuum in which populist parties were increasingly powerful, especially given the history of populism in modern Greek politics (Pappas, 2014). This analysis then focuses on how two contemporary Greek populist parties – the leftist SYRIZA party of President Tsipras, and the far-right Golden Dawn party – have engaged in discourses of “blame” to assign fault for the nation’s general socioeconomic decline (Vasilopoulou et al., 2014), and in particular how these discourses have incorporated and involved sport through both the hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games, and Greece’s participation in international football (soccer). While the marked contrast of the political goals and expressions of these parties cannot be understated, this analysis also suggests that each of these forms of populism relies both on the specific conditions and structures of Greek politics, and particular expressions of populist politics that reflect the relationship between contemporary sport and Greek society.

Populism in modern Greece Following Pappas (2014), while most scholarly literature on populism focuses on the emergence of populist parties and figures, and the implications of these forms of populism within existing political structures, there is less consideration for those situations in which populist parties have achieved and consolidated governing power, as in the case of Greece (see also Simon Martin’s Chapter 7 discussion of Italy, Renata Toledo’s Chapter 8 and Bryan Clift’s Chapter 9 discussions of Brazil, and Pablo Alabarces’s Chapter 10 discussion of Latin America). The structure of contemporary Greek democracy therefore reflects shifts that occurred following the abolishment of the military junta and establishment of a parliamentary republic in 1975, in particular the collapse of the major centrist parties and rise in power of populist parties on the left and right. From this point, the development of politics in Greece has consistently exhibited the characteristics of what we can call a populist democracy: “a democratic subtype in which, besides the party in

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office, at least the major opposition party (and even other minor parties) are also populist” (Pappas, 2014 p. 1). This designation therefore serves to underscore the interior role of populism within the democratic process of Greece, as opposed to the more common exterior framing of populism as outside of a particular nation’s normal democratic proceedings. Moreover, the forms of populism most often evident within modern Greek politics have followed a similar strain, whether employed on the left or right – in short, this approach is premised on the message of a “blameless us” and “evil others”, which certainly echoes with populism understood more generally (Vasilopoulou et al., 2014, p. 389). However, and as Pappas (2014) explains, populist parties in Greece have most often fashioned this message of “us and other” through three overlapping and mutually supporting ideas. This includes the assertion that the us/them split is a “single cleavage” between the good common people and evil structure of power – as this chapter emphasises, this “cleavage” has more recently materialised within discourses of Greek populism both on the left in regard to social class and economic globalisation, and on the right in regard to citizenship and immigration. Populist democracies are also marked by the prioritisation of polarising forms of politics ahead of any consideration for consensus with other parties; and a preference for and strict adherence to the idea of majority rule, to the point of what Urbinati (2017) refers to as an “extreme majoritarianism” wherein 51% of the vote is designated as the “will of the people” for just about any, indeed close to all, political issues. These characteristics of Greece’s “populist democracy” were evident in the success of populist parties following the end of military rule in 1974, in particular the Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK), which dominated Greek politics from 1981 to 1990 and then again from 1993 to 2011. However, while previous issues had beset PASOK through these periods – including ongoing tensions with Turkey over Cyprus and other territories, the rise and arrest of leftist guerrilla group Revolutionary Organization November 17, and a longstanding dispute with Macedonia over that nation’s name – the party was at severe loss when responding to the onset of the nation’s worstever economic crisis. Following Vasilopoulou, Halikiopoulou, and Exadaktylos (2014), the “explosive combination” of both internal and external factors – including the failures and imbalances of global capitalism and the clientelist-based networks that often undermine Greek politics and governance – ultimately resulted in the debt crisis of December 2009, when Greece’s national credit rating was downgraded, raising fears from international creditors and economic forums of a possible default on the nation’s sizeable debt and the subsequent potential collapse of the Eurozone and European Union (EU). It was in the context of this economic turmoil that the next shift in Greek politics emerged: as the PASOK government responded with drastic austerity measures and public spending cuts, large-scale protests and national strikes increased, ultimately leading to the resignation of Prime Minister and PASOK leader George Papandreou in 2011.

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Over the next four years from 2012 to 2015, and as the economic crisis continued, the landscape of Greek politics revealed a new generation of populist parties vying for a share of power in determining the nation’s future. As Vasilopoulou, Halikiopoulou, and Exadaktylos (2014, p. 392) explain, a common characteristic across all populist parties in the post-2009 period was in the development and deployment of particular discourses of “blame” that work to shift responsibility to specific individuals and groups, while also entrenching forms of exclusivity between groups. In this mode, while the target of blame would vary between different parties, inevitably it was these discourses that provided prospective voters with a clear distinction of where to point fingers for the nation’s predicament. Among these parties, there were several that became both more widely known outside Greece, and also serve to demonstrate a particular relationship between populist politics and sport. This chapter therefore provides an analysis of the particular discourses of blame involved in the continued development of Greece’s populist democracy, and describes how populist politics often underscore the interconnections between sport and Greek society.

SYRIZA and Athens 2004 While the extent of the Greek economic crisis was recognised by world media during the dour period around 2009, the evidence of potential problems had started to emerge much earlier, including just six months after the hosting of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, when the European Commission issued a formal warning after finding that Greece had falsified budget deficit data in the process of joining the Eurozone (Saragosa, 2004). Such reports led to increasing scrutiny of the 2004 Games as an example of financial overreach and mismanagement brought on through economic globalisation. Yet until this point, the Athens Olympic Games had been celebrated as an opportunity to modernise Athens via large-scale infrastructural investment, and also to showcase Greek culture and particular expressions of national identity rooted in nostalgic connections between the modern Olympics and ancient Greek Games. As Papanikolaou (2013, p. 2) explains: “the motivation for the Greek bid had its roots in history and in the strong national feeling that led the overwhelming majority of Greeks to fervently support such a bid.” More specifically, the bid process and hosting of the Olympic Games reflected populist conceptions of Greece as a modern nation with a unifying history, a “belief in an ancestry that is shared by all true Greeks” (Traganou, 2010, p. 246). Following the work of the Kompreser Collective (2012), the Athens 2004 Olympic Games thus sought to merge goals of neoliberal economic redevelopment with national unity, security, and consumerism in order to present a particular representation of the nation to the rest of the world; yet in doing so, the Games have often come to represent “the crowning and the final gesture” of modern Greece.

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Such analyses point to the enduring and conflicted legacy of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, emphasising the expectations and outcomes of the Games in relation to the everyday lives of Athenians and the Greek economy more generally. As Mangan (2008) explains, the hosting of the Games included plans and promises for the development of sport facilities as well as improved transport systems, infrastructure, and low-cost accommodations that would improve the quality of life for all residents. In the post-Games period, however, the fate of these facilities quickly became a symbol for the economic and social strife that accompanied the growing financial crisis. Many facilities lacked maintenance and fell into disrepair as the consequence of poor planning and financial mismanagement, and these “white elephants” came to symbolise how “the whole business of regeneration has been a blot on the Athenian landscape” (Mangan, 2008 p. xxi). Following Kissoudi (2010 p. 101), the hosting of the Olympic Games served to initiate a general transformation of Athens into a modern urban environment, including the “precious legacy” of Olympic facilities – however, the mismanagement of these facilities after the Olympics instead caused political conflict and increasing public criticism as the economic crisis deepened in the post-Games era. A similar challenge to Olympic legacy related to populist discourse is posed to Brazil and Rio 2016 in Renata Toledo’s Chapter 8 and Bryan Clift’s Chapter 9. This era of crisis politics in turn shaped the ascendency of the SYRIZA party, whose rise to power culminated in the September 2015 election of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. SYRIZA had initially come to power in May 2014 on a leftist anti-austerity campaign premised on two main promises: first, to reverse the impacts of reductions to public spending that had been introduced by previous governments; and second, to renegotiate the debtrelief agreement between Greece and the EU, or more specifically to reassert the country’s negotiating position against what Tsipras collectively called the “troika” of the EU, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund (Elliott, 2015). This positioning of regional and global economic organisations as “external elites” that were primarily responsible for the ongoing crisis was therefore an essential aspect of SYRIZA’s initial campaign, as was the Tsipras bid for the prime ministry (Vasilopoulou et al., 2014). As such, discourses of blame emanating from this party have often designated the “evil other” as the global financial bodies and regional governance structures that are characterised as uncompromising and unrelenting in their handling of Greece’s precarious economic situation. Indeed, as MacMillan (2018) explains, SYRIZA’s campaigning and rhetoric has often included discourses that identify the EU and World Trade Organization (WTO) as complicit in a “dystopian ‘evil empire’” that, rather than accentuating democracy, freedom, and human rights, actually works to undercut these ideals against the “will of the people.” This analysis therefore focuses on how criticism of the Athens Olympic Games was central to the discourses of blame expressed by SYRIZA and

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Tsipras, in that the legacy of the Games – and in particular the “white elephant” status of the Olympic facilities – was incorporated into populist messages critiquing the failure of previous governments and the “external elites” that were complicit in the financial crisis. In this mode, the legacy of hosting the 2004 Olympic Games was primarily invoked by SYRIZA as an example of corruption and fiscal negligence at the hands of both domestic governments and regional and global economic structures. As Tsipras discussed in an interview in 2012: New Democracy and PASOK, the two parties that were in charge of the fate of the country all these years, and took it into the eurozone, worked on the basis of easy profit on the stock exchange, easy loans and the false consumer needs of the Greek people. They didn’t leave anything behind, any infrastructure, when for over a decade, between 1996 and 2008, Greece had a record of positive growth – rates that before the [2004] Athens Olympic Games were at 7% or 8%. Where did it go? It went into the pockets of certain corrupt and wealthy [individuals] and banks, to those who were paid kickbacks for defence procurements and constructions for the Olympic Games. It didn’t go into building a better social state. We didn’t build better schools or better hospitals, and now Greek people are in a much worse place to confront the crisis than, say, the French, the Spanish and other Europeans. (Smith, 2012) Thus, while the rest of the world has contemplated the extent to which the Olympic Games have contributed to the “rotting” of the Greek economy (Berlin, 2015), the legacy of the Games was also continually brought into question by SYRIZA and Tsipras as part of a wider political strategy. In particular, details regarding the cost of the Games work to emphasise the relative failure of the Games as an economic re-generation project taken on by the previous government in conjunction with global and regional financial elites. As one example, the Greek government paid €100 million to the German engineering giant Siemens to build a high tech “anti-terrorist” security system during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games that never worked, including two state-of-the-art high-tech submarines that were deemed too unstable to operate (D’Amato, 2015). These examples of cost over-runs and poor planning and coordination also work to connect the mistakes associated with the Athens Olympic Games with the “blame” of the current situation. In discussing the future of a publicly-owned cultural centre that had been partially closed by a loss of funding in 2017, Tsipras explained that such situations were caused in part by Athens 2004 Olympic Games: “They [the facilities threatened with closure] are due to the fact that many Olympic facilities on which the people spent hundreds of millions [of euros] remain unexploited, virtually in ruin” (The National Herald, 2017). Such statements

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demonstrate that for SYRIZA, the Athens Olympics served as a symbol and constant reminder of the broken relationship between Greece and the “external elites” of global governance and finance that are ultimately to blame for the nation’s predicament.

Golden Dawn and international sport While SYRIZA’s political ascent led to the prime ministry, another party that gained popularity in Greece also demonstrated a new era of populism – the ultra-nationalist, far-right Golden Dawn party, initially formed by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in the early 1980s. In its early years, Golden Dawn remained a fringe right-wing organisation focused on returning a military dictatorship to power, while also making clear its racist and xenophobic stance on immigration. However, it was within the context of the nation’s crisis politics post-2009 that Golden Dawn’s platform was defined against the hegemony of Greek politics, and therefore positioned as an alternative to the approach of governments that had failed to address the enduring social strife (Paraskeva-Veloudogianni, 2018). This does not discount the extremism of the party’s politics and political expressions. The party’s main slogan, “Blood, Honour, Golden Dawn,” is based on the Nazi Youth slogan “Blut und Ehre” (“Blood and Honour”), and one of the party’s elected officials was formerly a member of Greek white power metal band Pogrom, whose song “Speak Greek or Die” became an unofficial party song (Bidelas & Psara, 2014). The song’s lyrics include the following: You come to our country / You have no job / You are hungry like scumbags and you eat children / You speak Russian, you speak Albanian / But now you faggots will speak Greek / Speak Greek or Die! / I see them in city squares, I see them in the mountains / I see them at the sea, polluting the waters / But now you faggots will speak Greek / Speak Greek or Die! (Bidelas & Psara, 2014) As evidenced by these lyrics, Golden Dawn’s message of anti-globalism and euro-scepticism relied on discourses of blame that sought to target immigrants and immigration policy as forms of internal disruption to Greek national identity, character, and culture. Yet in coming to symbolise far-right populism in Greece, it was the association between Golden Dawn and the Greek men’s national football team that led to increased notoriety and media coverage for the party. This relationship was first reported in 1999, following a match between Greece and Albania in Athens. During this match Albanian supporters burned a Greek flag in their stand, an act that was captured and broadcast across Greek media and stoked both nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment. Two weeks later a Greek citizen with previous

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connections to Golden Dawn shot and killed two people and wounded seven others – all immigrants – in central Athens (Neal, 2018). Over the next several years, Golden Dawn members played a vital role in the forming of the Galazia Stratia (Azure Army) ultras firm, a fan group that has since been implicated in a number of violent episodes against both opposing fans and Greek immigrants, including events following the Greek victory in the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship final that included the murder of an Albanian immigrant (Varouhakis, 2004). By 2007, Galazia Stratia had become an unofficial recruitment organisation for Golden Dawn, with affiliations between the two including the establishment of a youth organisation aimed at recruiting potential members (Tipaldou & Uba, 2018). The timeline of this relationship between Golden Dawn and international football (soccer) also coincided with a dramatic rise in the party’s visibility and votes, from negligible returns of 0.29% of the vote in 2009, to 6.97% in 2012 (Henley & Davies, 2012). Yet, as Theofilopoulos and Karabelias (2014, p. 2) explain, this was plausible given the confluence of the nation’s prior history of populist politics and a deepening economic crisis: “to those acquainted with Modern Greece’s turbulent history and political culture, the entrance of an extreme, far right-wing party … had already been prepared, whether intentionally or not, by a variety of political and economic forces, from the domestic arena as well as from the international one.” Indeed, rather than the shock result that it was reported as globally, many scholars have emphasised that the history of modern Greek politics suggests that the nation’s crisis only accentuated already-existing forms of populism. Following Georgiadou (2013, p. 74): “The economic crisis revealed just how deeply rooted Greek right-wing extremism had become in the interim. The crisis brought latent right-wing extremist potential to the surface … hidden under the cloak of anti-capitalist, anti-globalization rhetoric, euro-scepticism, and opposition to multiculturalism, far-right attitudes proved to have appeal across a large swath of the political spectrum.” As Zaimakis (2018) explains, the rise of Golden Dawn and other far-right parties therefore exhibits a continuation of the historical relationship between political parties and football in Greece, while also demonstrating a form of political radicalisation wherein anti-immigrant politics are accompanied with militant violence. The inherent violence of Golden Dawn’s politics has also continued to mark Greek politics; and the investigation of the murder of an anti-fascist rapper by a Golden Dawn supporter in 2013 has since resulted in the arrest and detainment of the party’s main leaders, with the trial ongoing at the time of writing of this chapter (Ekathimerini, 2019).

Blame Games – “mainstream” and “fringe” populism in Greece The relationship between sport and populism in Greece has meant that sport events, teams, and athletes were increasingly incorporated into the discourses

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of blame that often permeated the politics of a nation in crisis. However, it is important to discern between the two parties discussed in this analysis, and their particular strategies for including sport within populist rhetoric and policy. Following Vasilopoulou, Halikiopoulou, and Exadaktylos (2014), contemporary Greek politics can be understood through a typology of populism, focusing on “mainstream” and “fringe” types of populism, that allows for a consideration of the variety and variants of populist platforms that exist across the Greek political landscape. The discourses of blame analysed in this chapter demonstrate that particular parties incorporated sport-related issues and events into political rhetoric in order to operate within the “mainstream” and “fringe” populisms of Greek politics. In Chapter 9, Clift suggests that “corruption” serves a not dissimilar function in Brazil. In regard to SYRIZA, the party’s rise to power in 2014 was often described in terms of the emergence of a relative newcomer to Greek national politics, and a similar narrative accompanied the election of Tsipras in 2015. Yet the discourses of blame developed and deployed by the party could most often be characterised as a form of “mainstream” Greek populism: “a more concentrated form of populism: blame is directed against fewer actors, concentrating upon the major contenders in the system … and external elites” (Vasilopoulou et al., 2014, p. 400). In this analysis, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games – and specifically the mis-used and poorly maintained facilities that served as the Games’ legacy in Greece – provided a useful symbol of the relationship between the country’s dominant political parties and the global elite. Within SYRIZA’s discourses of blame, the “white elephants” that marked the post-Olympic spaces of Athens therefore served as a marker of cooperation and collaboration between PASOK and New Democracy, the two conservative parties (and main rivals to SYRIZA) that had held power during the bidding process and hosting of the 2004 Games, while also implicating the global and regional actors that were involved in the short-sighted financing of the facilities. The legacy of Athens 2004 was often included within these discourses in order to further consolidate SYRIZA’s status as a formerly “fringe” and emergent “mainstream” political option, specifically within the context of the 2014 and 2015 elections in which the party gained power and the prime ministry. Tsipras acknowledged this shift in the party mission and vision during the run-up to these elections in a 2013 interview: SYRIZA is what it is: a radical, left-wing party that feels the pulse of the times, knows what’s at stake and is after a wide consensus and unity for political change in Greece. This is something that departs from the narrow limits of the radical left. (Baboulias & Trilling, 2013) For Golden Dawn, the party’s political messages and actions reflect a type of “fringe” populism: “a less concentrated form of populism entailing that

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blame is spread out, and directed against a wider range of actors including the party of government, the party of opposition, external elites, specific interest groups and the collaboration between them” (Vasilopoulou et al., 2014, p. 400). Drawing on this framework, Golden Dawn worked to construct discourses of blame that clearly identified targets of criticism and displays of symbolic and physical violence, as demonstrated by the party’s close association with Galazia Stratia and the Greek national football team. These discourses expressed a platform of nationalism and anti-immigration that provided backdrop for the violent events against immigrants following national team matches in 1999 and 2004. The association between Golden Dawn and Galazia Stratia also reflected the party’s attempts to express a “fringe” type of populism through football as a means of recruiting new party members. As Koronaiou et al. (2015) explained, sport was part of a wider strategy through which the party attempted to influence Greek youth: [Golden Dawn] put great emphasis on its relationship to young people, carefully planning and organising the diffusion of its political ideology and identity in social milieus where young people are found … football fan clubs, gyms, secondary schools, music-based youth cultures as well as the Internet and social media (Psaras, 2012, p. 240) This incorporation of popular culture and sport was evident through the party’s elected officials as well, as three of the MPs that represented the party were also leading figures in major football fan clubs. Further, Tipaldou and Uba (2018) argue that the party’s use of social and digital media developed a “playbook” for other far-right parties and politicians, as Gold Dawn produced “its own alternative media channels … to distribute its own alternative information.” This strategy included support via social media from Greek athletes, including those competing at the international level. Triple jumper Paraskevi “Voula” Papachristou was expelled from the Greek Olympic team shortly before the London 2012 Games after she tweeted: “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food!” – media reports also focused on her prior social media support for Golden Dawn (Harish, 2012).

Conclusion This chapter has sought to further examine the interconnections between populism and sport within the context of Greece’s “crisis politics.” While many nations are currently rediscovering populism as an emergent force with different potential implications, the Greek economy and sociopolitical structure have been characterised by the impacts and implications of

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populist parties and candidates since at least the 1970s. However, the post2009 crisis of Greece’s populist democracy has demonstrated the importance of specific discourses of blame that have brought success to various parties, whether such blame is attenuated toward the elites of global finance or the great unwashed of foreign immigration. As this analysis has demonstrated, sport has been incorporated into populist discourses emanating from both the left, via SYRIZA’s emphasis on the facilities of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games as a symbol of global financial mismanagement, as well as from the far-right, via the intersection of international sport and the anti-immigrant politics and violence of Golden Dawn. The past decade of Greek socioeconomic policy has been shaped by the nation’s economic crisis, and the vacuum of national political power in the post-2009 era. Both SYRIZA, primarily through the election of Alexis Tsipras as Prime Minister, and to a lesser extent Golden Dawn, as a marker of far-right populism, were involved in the further development of the country’s unique populist democracy (Pappas, 2014). More recent results have also indicated the tenuous nature of political power in Greece, as each party has experienced changes in their popularity. Elections in 2019 meant that New Democracy replaced SYRIZA as head of government, while Golden Dawn finished with minimal returns and was reported to have closed the party’s Athens office (Maltezou, 2019). However, these results do not diminish the role of each party in the further development of particular types of mainstream and fringe Greek politics. In analysing the discourses of blame involved in Greek populism, this chapter has therefore detailed how particular parties reflect what has been called the nation’s “failed experiment” with populist politics (Kalyvas, 2017), while also emphasising that sport, politics, and populism remain inextricable within contemporary Greek society.

References Baboulias, Y. & Trilling, D. 2013. More and more people realise austerity is not viable. There is no other way but to radicalise further – an interview with Alexis Tsipras of Syriza. NewStatesman, 19 March. Available at: https://www. newstatesman.com/austerity-and-its-discontents/2013/03/more-and-more-people-realiseausterity-not-viable-there-no-oth. Berlin, P. 2015. How the Olympics rotted Greece. Politico, 10 July. Available at: http s://www.politico.eu/article/how-the-olympics-rotted-greece/. Bidelas, L. & Psara, M. 2014. Stuff Greek Fascists Like. VICE, 19 March. Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/av43v4/golden-dawn-political-immunity-lift-greece. D’Amato, P. 2015. Turning point in Greece. International Socialist Review, Issue #98, 5 August. Available at: https://isreview.org/issue/98/turning-point-greece. Dinas, E., Georgiadou, V., Konstantinidis, I., & Rori, L. 2016. From dusk to dawn: local party organization and party success of right-wing extremism. Party Politics, 22 (1), pp. 80–92.

100 Jacob J. Bustad Ekathimerini. 2019. Golden Dawn trial resumes on Monday after summer recess. Ekathimerini, 9 August. Available at: https://www.ekathimerini.com/244350/article/ ekathimerini/news/golden-dawn-trial-resumes-on-monday-after-summer-recess. Elliott, L. 2015. Greek crisis: how long can Alexis Tsipras outmanoeuvre the troika? The Guardian, 5 June. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/economicsblog/2015/jun/05/greek-crisis-how-long-can-alexis-tsipras-outmanouevre-the-troika. Georgiadou, V. 2013. Right-wing populism and extremism: the rapid rise of ‘Golden Dawn’ in crisis-ridden Greece. In Melzer, R. & Serafi, S. (eds.). Right-Wing Extremism in Europe: Country Analyses, Counter-Strategies and Labor-Market Oriented Exit Strategies. Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, pp. 75–102. Harish, A. 2012. Greek jumper expelled from Olympic Team for racist tweet. ABC News, 25 July. Available at: https://abcnews.go.com/International/greek-olympicjumper-expelled-racist-tweet-defenders-flock/story?id=16856393. Henley, J. & Davies, L. 2012. Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party maintains share of vote. The Guardian, 18 June. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ 2012/jun/18/greece-far-right-golden-dawn. Kalyvas, S. 2017. What democracies can learn from Greece’s failed populist experiment. The Atlantic, 4 May. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/internationa l/archive/2017/05/greece-populism-syriza-trump-imf-eurozone/525369/. Kissoudi, P. 2010. Athens’ post-Olympic aspirations and the extent of their realization. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 27 (16–18), pp. 2780–2797. Kompreser Collective. 2012. Athens 2004: constructing the city of crisis. City, 16 (4), pp. 461–467. Koronaiou, A., Lagos, E., Sakellariou, A., Kymionis, S., & Chiotaki‐Poulou, I. 2015. Golden Dawn, austerity and young people: the rise of fascist extremism among young people in contemporary Greek society. The Sociological Review, 63, pp. 231–249. MacMillan, C. 2018. Reversing the myth?: dystopian narratives of the EU in UKIP and front national discourse. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 26 (1), pp. 117–132. Maltezou, R. 2019. Golden Dawn loses its luster as Greeks reject militant far-right. Reuters, 8 July. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-election-golden-dawn/ golden-dawn-loses-its-luster-as-greeks-reject-militant-far-right-idUSKCN1U31ND. Mangan, J. A. 2008. Prologue: guarantees of global goodwill: post-Olympic legacies– too many limping white elephants? The International Journal of the History of Sport, 25 (14), pp. 1869–1883. Neal, A. 2018. Greek soccer faces FIFA expulsion after recent wave of violence. People’s World, 15 March. Available at: https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/greeksoccer-faces-fifa-expulsion-after-recent-wave-of-violence/. Papanikolaou, P. 2013. Athens 2004. Ten years later the Olympic infrastructure, the cultural Olympiad and the ‘white elephant’ syndrome. Journal of Power, Politics & Governance, 1 (1), pp. 1–9. Pappas, T. S. 2014. Populist democracies: post-authoritarian Greece and post-communist Hungary. Government and Opposition, 49 (1), pp. 1–23. Paraskeva-Veloudogianni, D. 2018. Political Crisis, Crisis of Hegemony and the Rise of Golden Dawn. In Sotiris, P. (ed.). Crisis, Movement, Strategy: The Greek Experience. Leiden, Netherlands: BRILL, pp. 177–202. Psaras, D. 2012. The Black Book of Golden Dawn (in Greek). Athens: Polis.

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Riley, C. 2013. Unemployment misery deepens in Spain and Greece. CNN, 25 April. Available at: https://money.cnn.com/2013/04/25/news/economy/spain-greeceunemployment/index.html. Saragosa, M. 2004. Greece warned on false euro data. BBC, 21 December. Available at: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4058327.stm. Smith, H. 2012. Alexis Tsipras interview: ‘Greece is in danger of a humanitarian crisis’. The Guardian, 21 May. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ 2012/may/21/alexis-tsiparas-greece-interview-syriza. Stavrakakis, Y. 2002. Lacan and Science. London: Karnac Books. The National Herald. 2017. Tsipras says state won’t let Niarchos Cultural Center go to seed. The National Herald, 27 February. Available at: https://www.thenationalherald. com/152218/tsipras-says-state-wont-let-niarchos-cultural-center-go-seed/. Theofilopoulos, T. & Karabelias, G. 2014. The resurrection of the far right in post-IMF Greece: the case of the Golden Dawn party. 21st International Conference of Europeanists, 14–16 March. Washington, DC. Tipaldou, S. & Uba, K. 2018. Golden Dawn: how the Greek far right wrote the playbook others now use to go mainstream. The Conversation, 17 August. Available at: https://theconversation.com/golden-dawn-how-the-greek-far-right-wrote-theplaybook-others-now-use-to-go-mainstream-100987. Traganou, J. 2010. National narratives in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 34 (2), pp. 236–251. Urbinati, N. 2017. Populism and the principle of majority. In Kaltwasser, C. R., Taggart, P., Ochoa Espejo, P., & Ostiguy, P. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Populism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 571–589. Varouhakis, M. 2004. Anti-racism rally held after deadly soccer game. USA Today, 9 September. Available at: https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/world/ 2004-09-09-greece-albania-march_x.htm. Vasilopoulou, S., Halikiopoulou, D., & Exadaktylos, T. 2014. Greece in crisis: austerity, populism and the politics of blame. Journal of Common Market Studies, 52 (2), pp. 388–402. Zaimakis, Y. 2018. Football fan culture and politics in modern Greece: the process of fandom radicalization during the austerity era. Soccer & Society, 19 (2), pp. 252–270.

Chapter 7

From fascism to five stars Sport, populism, and the figure of the leader in Italy Simon Martin

Introduction Following Italy’s formation in 1861, the state’s absence from Italian sport left a void that astute religious, patriotic, and political organisations exploited to recruit, proselytise, and promote their brand. The four examples to be examined in this chapter have been chosen as snapshots that illustrate sport’s populist appeal across the political spectrum, during the last one hundred years of Italian history. While each is politically distinct, they all share an exploitation of sport as a means of spreading their populist, political message. Fully utilising the fertile sporting terrain of Italy that had been prepared by the Italian Socialist Party and the Catholic Church, the Fascist regime turned sport into a means of mass mobilisation and identity creation. Revealing sport’s effectiveness as a communication tool, populist politicians continued to exploit it throughout the postwar period, such as the Monarchist Achille Lauro whose personality cult and political rule in Naples were developed and strengthened by his ownership and exploitation of the city’s football team that challenged northern Italy’s political and sporting hegemony. A self-made businessman and owner of Serie A football club SSC Napoli, at first glance Lauro would appear to be have been the prototype of the arch-populist Silvio Berlusconi, but with national rather than local ambitions Berlusconi’s exploitation of AC Milan was quite different. The apotheosis of sporting populism, politicians eventually got wise to the need to “have a team,” any team. However, by 2011, Berlusconi’s inability to sell his aspirational dreams any longer, appeared to signal a dramatic turn away from sport as a means of creating political consent. Injecting youth into the political gerontocracy, the only fans that Matteo Renzi sought were those of himself. As will be argued however, the emergence of the populist, antiestablishment Five Star Movement (M5S) showed that sport’s political punch had not weakened. The M5S used it differently, however, announcing its wind of change by opposing the hosting of mega events while serious domestic issues remained unresolved. Its refusal to back Rome’s 2024

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Olympic Games bid was populist, if not necessarily popular, in a way that no previous regime or individual had previously used sport. While the selected examples will reveal the widespread and consistent use of sport by political parties to win support and promote ideas, the difficulty in reaching consensus over what exactly constitutes populism is nonetheless recognised. As Cas Mudde (2004, p. 543) argues: “most definitions of the phenomenon have at least two points of reference in common: ‘the elite’ and ‘the people’.” While this does not help define populism and leaves it somewhat open to interpretation, in the global debate among sociologists, philosophers, political scientists, and historians, since the 1950s, one agreement has been reached: “Italy has been defined as a true ‘populist paradise’ … in which charismatic leaders have won broad consensus” (Robbe, 2015, p. 5). While each of the examples to follow is significantly different in terms of objectives and methods, they all share the populist claim to represent the people against the corrupt political/establishment elite and have each used sport to promote this and their respective leaders.

Benito Mussolini Arguably the first, modern, populist movement/regime, Fascism made the Italian Olympic Committee (Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano, or CONI) responsible for centrally planning and directing sport towards the regime’s needs with the 1928 Charter of Sport (Carta dello Sport). The following, unprecedented period of international sporting success was joyously converted into domestic and diplomatic propaganda, with mythologised athletic battles and victories creating the image of an energetic and virile nation capable of fighting and winning. Educating in the new national spirit and expressing Fascism’s demand for individual dedication to the greater collective need, sport was a means of displaying and imposing what Fascism was about. As Antonio Gibelli (2005, p. 246) shows in his study of the nationalisation of youth, Fascism imposed “its own great tale” through a powerful media apparatus and stories that blurred the boundaries between reality, imagination, politics, and narration. Recounting epic victories and honourable defeats, sports newspapers and magazines grew to well over one hundred titles by 1934. In addition to the enlarged La Gazzetta dello Sport and the launch of the Rome-based Il Littoriale in 1929, which became CONI’s official daily, a huge number of specialised magazines emerged, including CONI’s monthly Lo Sport Fascista. Reporting in standardised Italian, the sports press encouraged literacy and assisted the spread of the national language over dialect. Socialising and uniting the masses around national successes it also stimulated, largely unconsciously, an awareness of commonality and the type of embryonic imagined community that Benedict Anderson (1983, pp. 45–46) has proposed.

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In addition to its golden generation of athletes Fascism also celebrated the physicality and athleticism of its leader, Mussolini, whose body and virility, as presented by the media, contributed to the development of his leadership cult. As Emilio Gentile (1998, p. 229) has argued: “Mussolini’s charismatic authority was pivotal to the whole complex organisation of the totalitarian regime, just as the Duce myth was the regime’s principal way of gathering support beyond the Fascist movement.” As Simonetta Falasca Zamponi has further argued: The myth of the Duce ultimately ensured the unchallengeable supremacy of Mussolini within the Fascist movement, in addition to the state. Mussolini’s ubiquitous presence in visual representations both produced and confirmed his uncontestable leadership. Thus, in the end, the credulous masses were not the only addressees of the propagandized myth of the Duce. Fascist elites and veterans of the movement unwillingly witnessed the transformation of fascism into one man’s rule through the spectacular unfolding of Mussolini’s cult. (Falasca Zamponi, 2007, p. 89) While the extent to which Italians bought into his cult is debatable, sport and its journalists, such as Adolfo Cotronei (1932, p. 9), were key to its construction: “Face of Caesar and the body of a gladiator: Mussolini appeared like this to the sporting legionaries after the March on Rome when he crossed the threshold of our time, our era that is sun and air and has victory as its god.” Highlighting the important role of the media, it was also indicative of Mussolini’s use of his physicality to assert his cult. In his 1927 Ascension Day speech that launched the “Battle for Births” and a national health campaign, Mussolini clarified that: “Men that get a belly are certainly not the Fascist ‘model’. Pallid, sedentary, bespectacled, clumsily awkward, they constitute the absolute antithesis of the Mussolinian ideal” (Ferretti, 1933, p. 1). He went on to say: [I] dedicate 30 to 45 minutes of the day to physical exercise and practice almost everything. I prefer swimming in the summer, skiing in the winter and horse-ride every day. I am familiar with all mechanical sports, from the bicycle to the motorbike, to the car and the aeroplane. Marching is also among my favourites. While my duelling is in the past, fencing is a perfect exercise to keep the body sharp … I turned my body into a controlled and monitored engine that runs with absolute reliability. (Macellari, 1940, p. 15)

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Frequently photographed in action and often stripped to the waist, Mussolini introduced a new style of politics that John Hoberman (1984, pp. 58–63) termed “political athleticism,” as the following quotation describes: A unique photo of the Duce as skier was circulated in early 1937. The picture portrayed Mussolini bare-chest on the snowy slopes of Termillino, near Rome. Coming this late in Mussolini’s career, the picture reaffirmed Mussolini’s virility and young spirit at a time when he seemed preoccupied with aging and its effects on his image. (Falasca Zamponi, 2007, p. 93) Contrasting with his democratic predecessors and political contemporaries, in 1933, he greeted Austria’s thin, formally dressed Chancellor Dolphus on the beach at Rimini, dressed only in a pair of swimming trunks. “Let’s look again at our Duce in the cockpit, at the wheel, on the springboard, riding, swimming: he is impetus, energetic, audacious,” implored Cotronei. “His thoughts remain sharp, his morale strong, his faith intact … despite giving his all as a superb athlete” (Cotronei, 1932, p. 12). The former fascist militant, squadrista Nino Macellari (1940, p. 43) was equally impressed: “Muscles, nerves, respiratory system etc on one hand; intelligence and technical ability on the other; these are the elements that make the perfect sportsman.” Mussolini’s expressions of masculine physicality resonate with the political masculinities explored by Deborah Phillips in Chapter 4. Mussolini’s cult was also reinforced through his presence at major sporting events, which was then connected to unexpected moments of greatness. At the defence of his world heavyweight boxing title in Rome, in 1933, Primo Carnera entered the ring in his military Blackshirt before turning to salute Mussolini. As La Gazzetta dello Sport described him: Bareheaded, with skin bronzed by the sun, agile, athletic, Mussolini is an image of strength, of youth, he is truly the first sportsman among all Italians… The applause that greets him is confused among the hymns and shouts, erupts uncontrollably at the highest level. The clear shout from 70,000 mouths, Du-ce, Du-ce! … lasts for minutes and minutes and becomes almost frenetic when the Head of Government responds by repeatedly raising his arm in a Roman salute. (1933, Intorno al ring di piazza Siena, p. 2) Glossing even most modest of victories and performers with greatness, this further reinforced Mussolini’s god-like status. As Il Littoriale noted following Italy’s 6–0 destruction of the Czechoslovak football (soccer) team, in 1929: Our players had an enthusiasm multiplied by virtue in their blood. From the height of the main stand a Man fed the athletes’ vigour and

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Figure 7.1 Source: © Biblioteca CONI – the librarian of the Italian National Olympic Committee has confirmed that “as the image is taken from the cover of a magazine that was published over 70 years ago,” it is no longer subject to copyright law.

admired them with the look of an insurmountable belief of control and victory: the Duce. The presence of the head of government, who has been missing from a real sporting event for many years, infused the Italian players with an exceptional vigour. The team flew into action on the whistle. In six minutes, two goals. (de Bellis, 1929, p. 1) Hosting the 1934 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup was the ultimate opportunity to develop Mussolini’s cult, with

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his presence at matches adding to the excitement of Italy’s progress to the final against Czechoslovakia. Held in the Fascist Party stadium in front of 50,000 spectators, as the teams entered the stadium the crowd waved handkerchiefs to the cries of “Duce, Duce” while the Militia band played a selection of Fascist hymns, creating the atmosphere of a political rally more than a sporting contest. The second FIFA World Cup tournament and the first to be held in Europe, the finalists competed not only for the Jules Rimet trophy and the honour of being world champions, but also for the Coppa del Duce (The Duce Cup). A gaudy, huge bronze sculpture of footballers in action in front of the symbol of the regime – the fasces – it completed Fascism’s hijacking of FIFA’s tournament. As one anti-Fascist observed in the mid-1930s, as the regime approached its moment of greatest mass consent: “the ‘cult of the Duce’ still has a strong influence on people’s minds. It keeps up faith in the man’s infallibility, even in the face of facts, so the idea of his infallibility is still accepted” (Gentile, 1998, p. 229).

Achille Lauro Shipping magnate Achille Lauro’s period as Mayor of Naples, in the 1950s, was closely associated with his funding of the city’s football club SS Napoli. Under the slogan “A great Napoli for a great Naples” (Papa & Panico, 2000, p. 45), Lauro made marquee signings in an attempt to win the league title for the downtrodden southern city and thereby translate his populist, local, and anti-establishment agenda into the most understandable and easily communicable terms. Lauro’s populism challenged the basis of Italy’s postwar democratic order that was: “built upon the Christian Democratic Party-Italian Communist Party (DC-PCI) axis, ideological enemies as much as they were complementary and reciprocally conditioned to guarantee stability in the political system, at least until the 1970s” (Ridolfi, 2012, pp. 48–49). In his seminal study of Naples, Percy Allum (1975, p. 342) suggested that “Laurism” can be fundamentally considered from two points of view: his intentions and objectives (if indeed he had any), “or one can try to understand what his movement represented, what his appeal was and why he had it?” Football and Napoli were key parts of this. Lauro first made significant money from shipping and the arms trade associated with Fascism’s 1930s African campaign. Charged with aiding and abetting the regime, following the Allied arrival in 1943, he spent 22 months in prison before being acquitted on all counts. He rebuilt his shipping business by “carrying Italian emigrants to Australia and New Zealand and bringing tourists back to Europe” (Forlenza, 2017, p. 251). Aware that he needed a political base of support, Lauro first joined the populist Fronte dell’Uomo Qualunque (The Everyman’s Front)1 having been refused membership of the Christian Democratic Party.

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His leadership style was characterised by a strong personalisation and deep southernness, elements that came to the fore during his election campaigns. Identifying the cultured class and aristocracy as the sources of all problems that beset the city’s poor, he nonetheless spoke to all of its residents rather than any particular class or voter. Thus, similar to the stadium crowd where Napoli represented the entire city on the national stage, his electoral appeal was socially diverse. Lauro’s populism was based upon generous almsgiving. Providing jobs for the unemployed, homes for the homeless, and social care for the poor, he ignored budgets, bureaucracy, and legal formalities. Intent on revitalising the city and developing tourism, he talked about the “taste of money, of wealth, of full wallets, of living a better life at whatever cost.” He talked of cancelling images of “Neapolitan hunger,” of the resignation to that total misery that marked the south, which the liberal bourgeoisie looked at little or never (Kühne, 1985, p. 38). His populist credentials were further bolstered by his membership of the National Monarchist Party (Partito Nazionale Monarchico, or PNM), following the collapse of The Everyman’s Front. Few were convinced by his apparent support for the exiled King but, given that 80% of Neapolitans had voted to keep the monarchy in the 1946 referendum, the party was an obvious choice (Allum, 1975, p. 352). A skilled interpreter of the sentiments and feelings of his fellow Neapolitans, after leaving the PNM, in 1954, he formed his own Peoples Monarchy Party (Partito Monarchico Popolare, or PMP). Lauro exploited a long-established belief/reality that Neapolitans identified with work, subsidies, aid and public displays, and were unlikely to reject monarchy in favour of the unproven Republic. He also mobilised local, anti-Roman feeling that he connected to contempt for the self-interested political establishment. As Federico Robbe has argued: Lauro was the prototype of the leader with a “certificate of non-membership” of the political élite. This naturally brought with it inevitable consequences for the communicative style of the charismatic leader: his language violated the conventions and exhibited “certainties” about “the world of the people”, which he personified with everything about himself. (Robbe, 2015, p. 21) Among Lauro’s various populist practices, his personal investment in and appropriation of SS Napoli was important. A key part of his successful 1952 municipal election campaign: “Napoli became a supplement to his persona and political movement” (Allum, 1975, pp. 387–388). Returning as club President in the same year, following his previous spell from 1936 to 1940, his association with the club cemented his ties with the locality and mass Neapolitan society. As Robbe (2015, p. 11) again suggests, this “explains his

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constant presence on the touchline, the ovation for him from the San Paolo crowd and the impact of his ‘transfer coup’ in buying the Swede Jeppson for 105 million Lire. For Lauro it’s not excessive to talk almost of a ‘cult of personality’.” To maximise publicity from his acquisition of Jeppson, in the autumn of 1952 Lauro led a long line of donkeys dressed in blue through the historic quarter of Naples. Jeppson’s purchase alone was not enough, however, and in his four years at SS Napoli the club finished no higher than fourth place in Serie A, thereby only confirming the financial gulf between the club and its rich northern rivals. Jeppson’s acquisition, however, did underline

Figure 7.2 Source: Public Domain photo, see Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: Achille_Lauro.jpg.

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Lauro’s ambitions for the team and the impending Neapolitan administrative elections. Restoring hope to Napoli fans, he simultaneously translated the south’s battle against Italy’s political centre in Rome and economic power base in Turin and Milan, into an easily understandable, simplified language: “Naples is the capital of the South … [It] takes on and expresses the concerns, the needs, the poverty, the ambitions of the southern population” (Lauro, 1958, p. 74). His local success in the 1952 municipal elections, winning 157,000 votes of which 117,000 were first choice preference votes (Lauro, 1958, p. 68), was followed by his Monarchist Party doubling its support in the 1953 general election, to take almost 8% of the vote. The DC Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi confirmed the impact of Lauro’s use of sport to make politics by concluding his electoral campaign in Naples, with a speech directly referring to football. Equating a vote for Lauro as one for the left, which risked breeching Italy’s anti-Communist defences in the name and ambitions of the “commander,”2 he stated: The Italians that play for you, commander, are risking the cup draw for the nation. They will think about it carefully and be guided by their conscience. But we are not talking about a football match, commander: we are talking about a game in the world stadium, and if we lose, we lose liberty (1953, La gravità della minaccia comunista …, p. 1) Almost tripling his share of the vote at the 1956 municipal elections, Lauro ruled the city for most of the 1950s. Mixing sport and politics, he translated national battles over the economy and identity into easily understandable and supportable terms. One such example came during the 1955 SS NapoliBologna Serie A match. Leading 3–0, SS Napoli was pegged back before a last-minute penalty saw Bologna equalise and the crowd invade the pitch, forcing the referee to seek sanctuary in the dressing room. Napoli was punished with a four-game home ban, after which: “Lauro backed his own supporters, transferring the battle on the pitch into a political battle between ‘us’ and ‘them’, the North and the South” (Forlenza, 2017, p. 256–257). Thus, many years before Silvio Berlusconi would emerge as a club-owning politician, Lauro was already using football politics to promote his brand: [T]he self-made man; the person who started from nothing yet achieved the highest prizes in whatever endeavour he took on; the personal sacrifice made for the common good of Neapolitians and Southerners; the threat to community from Communist forces, from the disorder of republican parties, from Rome and the North; the wholly new type of political venture; and, especially, the equation made between the Christian Democratic Party … and the impersonal power. (Forlenza, 2017, p. 259)

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If we add the use of football to make politics, Lauro was the first of his type and an example to be perfected.

Silvio Berlusconi Television magnate Silvio Berlusconi would do just that, funding AC Milan to global domination in the 1990s as he launched his political career. Selling his capacity to govern and create miracles, via his “winning formula” that was built upon the transference of his business skills and management team across various sectors, his “Forza Italia!” (“Go Italy!”) party was the apex of sport and populism in Italy. As Bolasco, Giuliano and Galli de’ Paratesi (2006, p. 94) have argued: “In 1994, seeking an extra-political legitimacy to stand, given he had no direct political merits, he knew that presenting himself as a sporting tycoon would have won public applause as a successful man.” In 1986, Berlusconi bought the financially stricken AC Milan and, using wealth accrued from his media empire, bankrolled the club to world primacy in the 1990s. A business investment, it was to be repaid with success that would enable him to increase the price of advertising space on his television network during matches. Possessing a high-profile, successful football club and a national television network, he had two special advantages that no businessmen or politician could match. Deborah Phillips in Chapter 4 explores how Donald Trump in the USA and Boris Johnson in the UK similarly mobilise television as a means of blurring lines between media/ entertainment and politics in order to self-brand, for entrepreneurial endeavours, and for political currency; David Andrews and Ben Carrington in Chapter 12 offer a related critical appraisal of Trump as a “blue-collar billionaire.” Launched on 5 November 1993, Berlusconi’s National Association of Forza Italia! emerged from the nationwide network of AC Milan supporters’ clubs that had incubated his political movement (Martin, 2011, p. 210). Two months later, he announced his entry into politics or, more revealingly, his going onto the pitch (discesa in campo). Often leaving the 1994 campaign trail to head to the San Siro stadium, the media, his television network, and AC Milan were vital components of his politics that were rooted in football metaphors. As Berlusconi stated himself: “The political movement that I am proposing to you is not by chance, called Forza Italia!” (1994, L’ANNUNCIO, p. 8). A popular terrace chant and La Gazzetta dello Sport’s headline on the morning of the 1982 World Cup Final (1982, Forza Italia, p. 1), “Come On Italy!” was instantly recognisable by all and few could honestly have opposed its sentiment. Naming his 1994 election team the azzurri (the blues), after the Italian team, and his first cabinet his squad, such symbols that play upon the idea of a people united around the national team “put divisions in the shade and celebrate unity, in this case around a man who represents that world” (Bolasco, Giuliano, & Galli de’ Paratesi, 2006, p. 94).

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As club president he entered directly into Italian homes to self-publicise, talk about football and engage in politics as spectacle. It was, as Alessandro Dal Lago (1994, p. 142) explained: “the era in which Berlusconi appropriated the efforts of the Milan players and attributed to himself the merit of their successes, an era that culminated in the spring of 1992 when he defined Milan’s second title victory as a result of his business strategy.” Clinching a third consecutive league title and the European Cup in 1994, only weeks after winning the general election, Berlusconi promised to make Italy like Milan: “Ours is a winning philosophy that has achieved good sporting results in good time” (1994, Berlusconi: la palla a Scalfaro, p. 2). On 19 May 1994, Parliament held a confidence vote on his first administration, which was less than two months old, at the same time as AC Milan destroyed Barcelona 4–0 in the European Cup Final. As Il Corriere dello Sport reported the following day: “Confidence vote while score 2–0”. With Berlusconi’s parliamentary victory announced contemporaneously with that of his team, La Gazzetta dello Sport had difficulty discerning the more important event: “An incredible evening for the president of Milan: almost at the same time came the confidence vote in the government and the cup.” Distracting from the administration’s severe instability, both events briefly bolstered Berlusconi’s premiership. Blurring his roles as primo Milanista (No. 1 Milan fan) and Primo Ministro (Prime Minister), he “footballised” the language of politics. “Forza Italia from this point of view was an incitement and a promise. A lot more than a political programme. A miracle. Like club presidents and coaches promise the fans at the start every season” (Triani, 1994, p. 86). Moreover, it was part of the process by which Berlusconi reduced politics to the level of sports debate in a bar: The reasons for his identification and use of football metaphors are diverse: the first, which is fundamental, is the reduction of the political universe to that of a game in order to simplify concepts and make himself understood […]. Furthermore, the association with a playful activity serves to give a positive undercurrent to political debate from the emotional perspective (Bolasco, Giuliano, & Galli de’ Paratesi, 2006, p. 94) This “politics of the pub” is one of the two dominant interpretations of populism referred to by Cas Mudde (2004, p. 542): “i.e. a highly emotional and simplistic discourse that is directed at ‘the gut feelings of the people’.” Following the huge Tangentopoli (Bribesville) corruption scandal that engulfed Italy in the early 1990s and forced Berlusconi’s entry into the political arena, this point was especially important. Working on the basis that true sports fans never betray or leave their team irrespective of its incompetence or lack of success, in fact it becomes a strange badge of honour, if

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this could be applied to politics then support and loyalty could equally be acquired and maintained on the basis of the most flimsy of evidence. Considering the absurdities of football some years earlier, the semiotician Umberto Eco’s thoughts were prophetic: In fact […] sports debate (I mean the sports shows, the talk about it, the talk about the journalists who talk about it) is the easiest substitute for political debate. Instead of judging the job done by the minister of finance (for which you have to know about economics, among other things), you discuss the job done by the coach; instead of criticising the record of Parliament you criticise the record of the athletes; instead of asking (difficult and obscure question) if such-and-such minister signed some shady agreements with such-and-such a foreign power, you ask if the final or decisive game will be decided by chance, by athletic prowess or by diplomatic alchemy. (Eco, 1987, pp. 170–171) Found guilty of corruption in 1998, Berlusconi was sentenced to two years and nine months’ imprisonment. Upheld in 2000, it could only be enforced once confirmed at the final level of appeal, the Court of Cassation. Confronted by this possibility, he fought the 2001 election campaign with the considerable resources at his disposal. In addition to huge, national advertising hoardings, voters were bombarded with Berlusconi’s photo and thoughts while 18 million homes received a copy of his glossy brochure, Una Storia Italiana (An Italian Story). Narrating his life, as he wanted it to be told, it focussed upon his political, business, and sporting achievements. In the section devoted to Berlusconi’s football successes, seven of the nine photos capture him either with Milan players or lifting a major trophy (AA. VV., 2001, pp. 62–64). Following Milan’s 2007 victory in the Champions League – a reformed and enlarged successor to the European Cup competition – he took to the field in a lounge suit and football boots before being hoisted aloft by the players with the trophy in his hands. As Carlo Verdelli trumpeted the following day: “[T]his Milan has completed a masterpiece that few (nobody?) could have believed in: notwithstanding the trophy cabinet, notwithstanding Ancelotti’s wisdom, notwithstanding a president like Berlusconi, the best at motivating his squad, all of his squads” (Verdelli, 2007, p. 3). Successful coaches were carefully selected by him “not only for their technical qualities but also … for their capacity to adhere to the ‘Milan-philosophy’” (AA.VV., 2001, p. 64). On his 80th birthday those who had benefited from his benevolence paid homage. Among the various greetings, two stood out in terms of what they said about the importance of football to Berlusconi’s populist appeal. While the Brazilian former Milan player Kakà declared the major part of the club’s great history was down to him, ex-coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed his

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subservience and Berlusconi’s reputation for interfering in team selection: “When the president told me that he wanted two strikers I put two, even three” (Gozzini, 2016, p. 15). One year later Berlusconi sold the club, his parting words indicating how the world had changed and that his populist use of sport was no longer viable: Today, after more than thirty years, I leave the role and title of President of Milan. I do so with pain and emotion but in the knowledge that, if you are to compete at the top European and world levels, modern football needs the investment and resources that one family alone can no longer sustain. (Bianchin, 2017, p. 5)

Virginia Raggi In the 2018 general election, the Italian electorate turned to the populist parties of the Lega and M5S. While the Lega used immigration and race to break out of its provincial heartland and become a national party, the M5S attacked the political establishment and its economic profligacy. Founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo and the editorial and IT businessman Gianroberto Casaleggio, in 2009, the portent of the M5S’ rise was the election of Virginia Raggi as Rome’s Mayor, in June 2016. Basing her campaign upon the promise to resolve the city’s organisational and administrative problems rather than launch expensive, eye-catching capital projects, the threat to pull the plug on Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid was clear. Thus, once elected, Raggi had little choice but to go through with it, despite the intense pressure to do otherwise from the Democratic Party (PD) Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and CONI President Giovanni Malagò, who wrote an open letter in “a last – perhaps desperate – attempt” to convince the Mayor. Coming only days after the closure of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Malagò implored her: We have suffered and enjoyed, won and sometimes lost, but without doubt we have gifted Italy the emotions that only an Olympics can offer. If we play together, no match will ever be lost. United you win, as you showed becoming Mayor and as we did with victories in Rio. Don’t close the door to an unrepeatable opportunity. (D’Albergo, 2016, p. 9) Recent history suggests she had a strong case to slam the door shut, and that a transparent redevelopment of Rome around the Olympic Games would have been difficult: the 1960 Games, which Raggi claimed is still being paid for, was an ecological and infrastructural disaster for the city and a huge success for the speculators3; the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final saw the Vigna Clara station, built close to the Olympic Stadium in an area of the city that

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desperately needed transport infrastructure, closed the day after the tournament ended; while the 2009 Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Aquatics Championships provided contemporary evidence that little had changed in terms of transparency and the capacity to deliver. An unmistakable addition to the skyline in Rome’s southeastern periphery, the Palazzo dello Sport, nicknamed La Vela (the sail), was designed by superstar architect Santiago Calatrava for the Championships and expected to form a key part of Italy’s planned 2020 Olympic bid.4 Four months before the world’s elite swimmers were due to compete, internal works had barely begun and the tournament was moved to the Fascist-built Foro Italico.5 Such examples were almost certainly on the mind of Raggi when she withdrew Rome from the race to host the 2024 Olympic Games, on 21 September 2016. A local and national opportunity to make the Movement’s presence felt, its leading figures Luigi Di Maio and Alessandro Di Battista had repeatedly assured that: “There will be no compromise … on the ‘no’ for Rome 2024” (D’Albergo, 2016a, p. 9). For Raggi, it was an immediate opportunity to deliver early on one of her promises and signal that the city was under new management: “It is irresponsible to say ‘yes’ because ‘you cannot jeopardise Rome and Italy’s future’.” “The Olympics is a dream that becomes a nightmare” (Catapano & Piccioni, 2016, p. 30). Arguably, a logical decision for a city that continues to struggle with managing even the most basic of services, it established her not just as Mayor but also as the representative of those Roman taxpayers constantly betrayed by the political elite. Flagging a new sense of economic prudence, it demonstrated the proclaimed wind of change in action. Most effective in affirming the last point was Raggi’s well-publicised, 45-minute delay in arriving for a meeting with the now CONI president Giovanni Malagò and the Italian Paralympic Committee (CIP) President Luca Pancalli, prior to the official withdrawal announcement. Photographed sitting outside the simple Roman trattoria “Dino”, as apparently no seats could be found inside for the Mayor, she took a leisurely lunch of minestrone soup and greeted passing well-wishers, while Malagò and his team waited in vain. The ultimate “power lunch,” it may also have been simply an act of embarrassed avoidance. Despite her pre-election promises, Raggi had been loath to rule out the bid and such were the doubts about her real intentions, which gave Malagò false hope, that a M5S commission of parliamentary deputies was assembled to assure the “correct” outcome (D’Albergo, 2016, p. IV). Having already been left on stand-by all summer to present his case, after a 37-minute wait Malagò chose to leave, declaring her decision “demagoguery and populism” (Catapano & Piccioni, 2016, p. 30). He also protested that his “dossier” proved her objections were all lies and based upon the old, pre-2020 International Olympic Committee (IOC) candidacy rules and not the new, economic, sustainable format. According to the pro-M5S daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, however, the government’s promise

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to cover the security expenses had already taken the initial zero cost to €400 million (Vendemiale, 2019, p. 2). Declaring Raggi defeatist and lacking faith in the city her opponents were also conducting politics by proxy, using the Games to question her and the M5S’ ability to govern. As La Gazzetta dello Sport’s embittered vice-director retorted: Saying no is admitting to not being able to control costs, contracts and works. It’s a defeat for the 5 Stars even if, from Grillo downwards, they were all singing victory yesterday. It’s saying no because you have no faith in your own means, in your capacity to rule. (Zapelloni, 2016, p. 30) The festering anger surrounding Rome 2024 resurfaced, in June 2019, when following the announcement of the successful Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic bid numerous individuals and outlets seized the opportunity to remind the now beleaguered mayor, and the general public, of the apparent mistake she had made. In La Repubblica’s editorial, Sergio Rizzo claimed: The Olympic challenge would also have offered another opportunity: to show how in spite of previous disasters, resources could have been used to complete projects for the city with the transparency and honesty that the Five Star Movement has always preached. It could have been the ultimate test, but it required courage and independent thinking. It was easier to take refuge in the ideological fury, hidden by a blast of numbers to prove the theories that those events transform into waste and theft throughout the world. (Rizzo, 2019, p. 30) The overjoyed CONI president Giovanni Malagò naturally made his point: “The difference is that Sala and Ghedina[6] trust me and Raggi didn’t. The wounds are perfectly healed but if you look beneath the shirt the scars remain, because Rome is my city” (2019, Olimpiadi a Milano e Cortina). The fruit of a marriage of (self) interest between the culturally and politically opposite, moderate centre-left Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala and the Lega Presidents of the Veneto and Lombardy regions, Luca Zaia and Attilio Fontana, the successful Milan-Cortina bid strengthened each of their positions and showed how pragmatism can prevail over ideology (Sbetti, 2019). It also drew attention to the M5S Turin administration that had withdrawn the city from a bigger, joint bid. Targeting his M5S government coalition partner, the Lega Interior Minister and Vice-Premier Matteo Salvini stated: “Italy, the future and sport are victorious. I’m sorry about who backed out, we could have had the entire Alpine arch” (Gentili, 2019, p. 5). The pro-M5S daily Il Fatto Quotidiano argued it was less clear cut: Turin was “excluded by the strange Milan-Cortina creature, crushed by the pincer movement of Mayor

From fascism to five stars


Beppe Sala with the help of the Lega’s Zaia [and] buried by internal vetoes7 in the Movement” (Vendemiale, 2019, p. 2). Either way, past experience again suggested there was good reason for Turin’s reticence. While the 2006 Winter Games had been an unqualified success for the city, in Piedmont’s Val di Susa there were “beached whales with no future”, such as the €105 million bob/luge track, abandoned due to its huge maintenance costs (Crosetti, 2019, p. 4).8 The ski jump that cost €34 million and is also unused, drains an estimated €1 million per year (Novelli, 2019, p. 2), while the Olympic village, which cost €150 million and promised sustainable future living, quickly fell to pieces. The largest unauthorised squat in Europe, in 2018 it accommodated in the region of 1,400 migrants (Battistini, 2018). The biggest winner of all was arguably Malagò, who only two years earlier was humiliated when coming second to a plate of minestrone soup. With the IOC President Thomas Bach’s announcement awarding the Games to Milano-Cortina still echoing in the room, the victorious CONI President announced he would be standing for re-election and leading the IOC. As he proudly and caustically recalled: I invented this bid. We started with no aces: we didn’t even have two sevens, we had a seven and a six. Our community was wounded, lacerated by the rubbish of Rome. I wasn’t an IOC member. Imagine what it meant to sell the image of Italy to the Olympic community in such a context? […] There’s no point in digging up the Rome bid. It will remain a great, personal disappointment and a lost opportunity. (Bonarrigo, 2019, p. 4) When the Games conclude in 2026, he will only be 67 years old. What will be the price for him standing for the Senate? Those outside the Lombardy and Venice regions could justifiably ask if this really was such a national success as the victory speeches proclaimed and if the event might further widen the north/south wealth gap? As the Corriere della Sera’s editorial recognised: “to say that the country can also win has a high risk of falling into rhetoric, with denial and delusion at the first bend” (Postiglione, 2019, p. 7). Time will tell, but – either way – the game has only just started, and all sides will be looking to score points from the Olympic football. The populist appeal of the sporting mega event is also explored by Jacob Bustad in Greece (Chapter 6), Renata Toledo in Brazil (Chapter 8), Bryan Clift in Brazil (Chapter 9), Alex Gillet and Kevin Tennent in England and Russia (Chapter 11), and Adam Beissel and David Andrews in the USA (Chapter 15).

Conclusion This chapter set out to establish how Italian populist movements, parties, and individuals have used sport to present their agendas and leaders and

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win public support. The overarching conclusion is that sport has clearly been a key communication strategy for all, even if they have each exploited differently. Cas Mudde (2004, p. 563) has argued that populism is episodic due to the establishment reacting with “a combined strategy of inclusion and exclusion: while trying to exclude the populist actor(s) from political power, they will include populist themes and rhetoric to try and fight off the challenge.” Had he looked at sport in Italy, he would have found, arguably, the perfect example to support his case, with populist leaders and movements using and adapting it to promote charismatic leaders and anti-establishment arguments in easy, mass consumable ways. While Fascism used all sport as a means of communicating the nature of its rule to the masses, it was in presenting and legitimising the leader that it proved highly effective. The first modern leader of his type, Mussolini’s political use of his body served to underline his authority and assert his leadership. Achille Lauro also used political athleticism as a metaphor for the political challenge he faced (Forlenza, 2017, p. 258), but his leadership was primarily publicised and bolstered by his funding and exploitation of SS Napoli. While Lauro proved incapable of turning around the impoverished city, he pioneered sport’s potential to create populist appeal in a democracy, which Silvio Berlusconi arguably perfected. Footballising politics to a previously unseen and potentially unrepeatable level, he forced his political rivals to seek even tenuous sporting connections in order to demonstrate their credibility. This rich heritage made sport a very practical means for Italy’s most recent populist incarnation, the M5S, to present its anti-elite agenda and represent the “ignored people.” Doing so through its opposition to mega-sporting events, Virginia Raggi’s refusal to buckle under the extreme pressure to back the Rome 2024 Olympic Games bid in the name of good economic sense and the Romans she represents, was an inversion of previous exploitations of sport to make politics. Confirming the continuing effectiveness of sport as a political tool in Italy, it further underlines how successive populists have continually adapted and reworked the tactic in order to appear innovative and opposed to the elite against which they rail. Sport’s role in the nation’s political future will thus not be peripheral and it is likely that the issue of race will most provoke the populists as Italy’s shift towards the anti-immigration politics of the Lega continues. While its leader Matteo Salvini has shown relatively little interest in sport, when new regulations to combat racism within stadiums were introduced in January 2019, they drew his mirth rather than backing: “Now we have a Richter scale for booing. Come on, don’t make us laugh” (Giuffrida, 2019). Compared to Mussolini during his selfie campaign along Italy’s beaches, in the summer of 2019, wearing little more than a tan, a religious cross, a smile, and swimming shorts, the collapse of the populist Lega-M5S coalition that August also did little to stall his party’s popularity, as victory in the October 2019 Umbrian

From fascism to five stars


regional elections (ruled by the left for over 50 years) showed. Unlike Umberto Bossi, the Lega Nord’s leader from 1989 to 2012, whose parochial agenda demanded he cheer against any team that represented the national flag, the difference in Salvini’s approach to the national football team come the next FIFA World Cup will support the party’s rebranding as simply Lega prior to the 2018 elections. Given it is no longer an enemy of the nation and Salvini’s penchant for the patriotic polos and sweatshirts of state forces, it is hard to imagine he won’t be sporting the national team colours, which would be a highly populist way of promoting the Lega’s dramatic shift from a regional to national force.

Notes 1 Qualunquismo was a postwar populist party whose name was taken from the weekly newspaper l’Uomo Qualunque (The Everyman). Formed in 1946 by the comedian and journalist Guglielmo Giannini, coming from outside politics and parties his success was built upon anti-Communism and zero tolerance of the political profession. Strong in southern Italy where there had been no Resistance experience during the Second World War, unlike in northern and central Italy that was occupied by Nazi forces, the postwar by-product was different. In general, the perception and memory of the now exiled royal family and fascism was not particularly negative. According to Percy Allum, “it [Qualunquismo] quickly became the most important ‘old style’ political movement” (Allum, 1975, p. 347). 2 Lauro was popularly known as “O’ Comandante” (“The Commander”). 3 On land speculation and the Rome 1960 Olympic Games, see S. Martin, 2017, Rebranding the Republic: Rome and the 1960 Olympic Games, European Review of History/revue européenne d’histoire, 24 (1), pp. 58–79. 4 The bid was rejected on economic grounds by Mario Monti, the leader of the post-Berlusconi technical government, who was forced by the EU to introduce serious budget cuts to address Italy’s deficit. 5 On FINA 2008 preparations, see Martin, 2014. 6 Mayors of Milan and Cortina. 7 A number of M5S councillors threatened to split Mayor Chiara Appendino’s majority in the case of a “yes” vote. 8 The costs were estimated at €2 million per year, of which €1.8 million were for the ammonia needed to maintain the ice.

References AA. VV. 2001. Una Storia Italiana. Milano: Mondadori. Allum, P. 1975. Potere e società a Napoli nel dopoguerra. Torino: Einaudi. Anderson, B. 1983. Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (rev. ed.). London: Verso. Bardi, P. M. 1936. La Strada e il Volante. Roma: Quadrante. Battistini, F. 2018. Che fine ha fatto il Villaggio Olimpico di Torino? Corriere Della Sera, 7 September. Available at: https://www.corriere.it/sette/18_settembre_06/ torino-villaggio-olimpico-fa67e53c-af96-11e8-8b32-ed1119b5e5f1.shtml [accessed 14 July 2019].

120 Simon Martin Bianchin, L. 2017. Malinconia Silvio. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 14 April, p. 5. Bolasco, S., Giuliano, L., & Galli de’ Paratesi, N. 2006. Parole in libertà. Un’analisi statistica e linguistica dei discrosi di Berlusconi. Roma: Manifestolibri. Bonarrigo, M. 2019. Canti, festa (e strane alleanze). Corriere della Sera, 25 June, p. 4. Castronovo, V. & Tranfaglia, N. 1980. La Stampa Italiana nell’età fascista. Bari: Laterza. Catapano, A. & Piccioni, V. 2016. Raggi dice no. “Sono costi da incubo”. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 22 September, p. 30. Cotronei, A. 1932. Atleti e Eroi. La Gazzetta dello Sport. Crosetti, M. 2019. Impianti vuoti nelle valli ma la città è rinata. La Repubblica, 25 June, p. 4. D’Agostino, G. 1990. Per una storia politica ed elettorale della Campania nel quarantennio repubblicano. Momenti e problemi. In Macry, P. & Villani, P. (eds.). Storia d’Italia. Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi. La Campania. Torino: Einaudi, pp. 1028– 1086. D’Albergo, L. 2016. Il blitz dei grillini ortodossi per costringere Raggi al “no”. La Repubblica. Roma Cronaca, 22 September, p. IV. D’Albergo, L. 2016a. Roma 2024, ultimo no del M5S. La Repubblica, 8 September, p. 9. Dal Lago, A. 1994. Il voto e il circo. Micromega, 1, pp. 138–145. de Bellis, V. 1929. Gli elementi del successo. Il Littoriale, 25 May, p. 1. Eco, U. 1987. Travels in Hyper-Reality. London: Picador. Falasca Zamponi, S. 2007. Mussolini’s self-staging. In Czech, H. J. & Doll, N. (eds.). Kunst und Propaganda: Im Streit der Nationen 1930–1945. Sandstein: Verlag. Ferretti, L. 1933. Mussolini, primo sportivo d’Italia. Lo Sport Fascista, VI, p. 1. Forgacs, D. 1990. Italian Culture in the Industrial Era 1880–1980: Cultural Industries, Politics and the Public. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Forlenza, R. 2017. Politics, power and soccer in postwar Italy: the case of Naples. In Elsey, B. & Pugliese, S. (eds.). Football and the Boundaries of History. New York: Palgrave, pp. 249–266. Gentile, E. 1998. Mussolini’s charisma. Modern Italy, 3 (2), pp. 219–235. Gentili, A. 2019. Salvini Bacchetta I no di 5Stelle. Il Messaggero, 25 June, p. 5. Gibelli, A. 2005. Il Popolo Bambino. Infanzia e Nazione dalla Grande Guerra a Salò. Torino: Einaudi. Giuffrida, A. 2019. Matteo Salvini mocks move to tackle racism in Italian football. Guardian online, 31 January. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ 2019/jan/31/matteo-salvini-mocks-move-to-tackle-racism-in-italian-football [accessed 29 October 2019]. Gozzini, A. 2016. Silvio, tanti auguri dal mondo. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 30 Settembre, p. 15. Kühne, I. 1985. Napoli Passione Mia. Roma: Lucarini. Lauro, A. 1958. La Mia Vita. La Mia Battaglia. Napoli: Editrice Sud. Longhi, L. 2019. In Italia le Olimpiadi 2026, vince la candidatura Milano-Cortina. Treccani, 25 June. Available at: http://www.treccani.it/magazine/atlante/societa/In_ Italia_le_Olimpiadi_2026_vince_la_candidatura_Milano_Cortina.html. Macellari, N. 1940. Sport e Potenza. Tivoli: Chicca. Martin, S. 2011. Sport Italia. The Italian Love Affair with Sport. London: Tauris. Martin, S. 2014. Roma Sportiva. In Thommassen, B. & Clough, I. (eds.). Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 159–171.

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Martin, S. 2017. Rebranding the republic: Rome and the 1960 Olympic Games. European Review of History/Revue Européenne d’Histoire, 24 (1), pp. 58–79. Mascilli Migliorini, L. 1987. La vita amministrativa e politica. In Galasso, G. (ed.). Storia delle Città Italiane. Napoli, Bari: Laterza, pp. 143–234. McCarthy, P. 1996. Forza Italia, the new politics and old values of a changing Italy. In Gundle, S. & Parker, S. (eds.). The New Italian Republic. London: Routledge. Ridolfi, M. 2012. Al di là della destra e della sinistra?. Tradizioni e culture politiche nell’Italia repubblicana, Memoria e Ricerca, 41, pp. 37–67. Milza, P. 1991. Il football Italiano. Una storia lunga un secolo. Italia Contemporanea, 183, pp. 245–255. Mudde, C. 2004. The Populist Zeigeist. Government and Opposition, 39 (4), pp. 541–563. Novelli, M. 2019. La Torino di Appendino tagliata fuori col fantasma del mega-buco del 2006. Il Fatto Quotidiano, 25 June, p. 2. Papa, A. & Panico, G. 2000. Storia Sociale del Calcio in Italia. Dai Campionati del Dopoguerra alla Champions League (1945–2000). Bologna: Mulino. Postiglione, V. 2019. Il senso di una sfida. Corriere della Sera, 25 June, p. 1 and 7. Rizzo, S. 2019. Roma diventa più lontana. La Repubblica, 25 June, p. 30. Robbe, F. 2015. Il populismo di Achille Lauro nello scenario locale, nazionale e internazionale (1947–1958). Mondo Contemporaneo, 3, pp. 5–24. Sbetti, N. 2019. Italia Olimpica. Limes Online, 25 June. Available at: http://www.lim esonline.com/notizie-mondo-oggi-25-giugno-olimpiadi-milano-cortina-2026-urugua y-narcos-morabito-sanzioni-usa-iran-georgia/113231 [accessed 25 June 2019]. Triani, G. 1994. Bar Sport Italia. Quando la Politica va nel Pallone. Milan: Elèuthera. Vendemiale, L. 2019. Giochi 2026 a Milano-Cortina. Il Fatto Quotidiano, 25 June, p. 2. Verdelli, C. 2007. L’orgoglio ricucito. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 24 May, p. 3. Zapelloni, U. 2016. La fine di un sogno senza veri motivi. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 22 September, p. 30.

Unattributed press sources (authors unknown) 1933. Intorno al ring di piazza Siena. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 23 October, p. 2. 1953. La gravità della minaccia comunista sottolineato da De Gasperi nel discorso di Napoli. Corriere della Sera, 5 June, p. 1. 1982. Forza Italia! La Gazzetta dello Sport, 11 July, p. 1. 1994. Berlusconi: la palla a Scalfaro. La Stampa, 18 April, p. 2. 1994. L’ANNUNCIO. Un discorso tv di otto minuti. La Gazzetta dello Sport, 27 January, p. 8. 2019. Olimpiadi a Milano e Cortina, Raggi: “Complimenti per risultato”. Sul web rabbia e ironia contro la Sindaca’, RomeToday, 25 June. Available at: https://www. romatoday.it/politica/olimpiadi-raggi-complimenti-milano-cortina.html [accessed 4 July 2019].

Chapter 8

Sport, music, and populism in Brazil Renata Maria Toledo

Introduction On 5 August 2016, the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Even with a much lower budget than that of Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Rio 2016’s artistic programme showcased Brazilian culture throughout a spectacle aimed at the domestic audience but mostly designed for consumption by an extensive international viewership. As expected in events of this kind, music was given a prominent place in the ceremony. The soundtrack of the spectacle contained a selection of songs primarily in the samba genre, which is internationally recognised as a cultural symbol of Brazilian national identity (Walsh, 2010). Beyond the artistic programme, this musical genre was also used during two of the other key features of the Olympic opening ceremony1, reminding the spectator of its relevance within Brazilian culture: first, during the playing of the host country national anthem, which was performed by Paulinho da Viola, a celebrated samba singer and songwriter; and, second, during the parade of the athletes from all countries in attendance. Indeed, the Brazilian delegation paraded2 through Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho – more popularly referred as the Maracanã Stadium – to the accompaniment of Aquarela do Brasil, a song that is frequently accepted as a paradigm of samba-exaltação, a subgenre of samba that emerged in Brazil during the first half of the 20th century. Considering its relevance within the history of Brazilian music, as well as the discursive strategies utilised by politicians and sports organisations regarding the project to host the Olympics, it seems that the producers’ choice to play that song as an accompaniment to the Brazilian athletes’ entry into the Maracanã Stadium could not be more appropriate. After all, sambaexaltação was absorbed into the set of cultural policies whose primary goal was to define national identity, as part of a strategy of nation-building, serving to legitimise the populist and authoritarian government of Getúlio Vargas (1930–1945). Several decades later, the attempt to host the Games

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that led to Rio 2016 was also connected with an evocation of a national sentiment related to a form of populism, characteristic of the leftist government of Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or Lula, who served as Brazilian President from 2003 to 2010. Sporting mega events as sites through which populist appeals are made are also explored in Greece by Jacob Bustad (Chapter 6), in Italy by Simon Martin (Chapter 7), also in Brazil by Bryan Clift (Chapter 8), in England and Russia by Alex Gillet and Kevin Tennent (Chapter 11), and in the USA by Adam Beissel and David Andrews (Chapter 15). Notwithstanding the conceptual inconsistencies in use and application of the concept of populism (Gidron & Bonikowski, 2013), this chapter aims to explore some aspects of the relationship between sport, music and populism in Brazil, focusing on Getúlio Vargas’ and Lula’s models of populist practice. The analysis is divided into three sections, with the first and the second devoted to relevant characteristics of their populist governments, respectively, and the third dedicated to a consideration of sport and music as part of the symbolic politics and policies of both governments.

Getúlio Dornelles Vargas: “the father of the poor” In 1930, Getúlio Dornelles Vargas first rose to Brazil’s presidency, as the head of a provisional government, which was established after a civil and military revolt ousting then-president, Washington Luís. The provisional government lasted until 1934, when Vargas convened a National Constituent Assembly, which created a new federal constitution and assured his permanence as Brazilian president by indirect election. In 1937, he led a coup d’état, abolishing the National Congress and ruling under an authoritarian regime until 1945, when he was ousted by the military. In 1951, he returned to Brazil’s presidency, this time through democratic elections, governing the country until 24 August 1954, when he committed suicide (Carvalho, 2001). Vargas is widely regarded as the most representative example of populism within Brazilian political history (Fonseca, 2011). To discuss some of the populist characteristics of his government, such as his leadership style, and a politics aimed at the masses, it is worth examining three brief excerpts from his speech at the celebration of the Worker’s Day, on 1 May 1951. He had just returned to the Brazilian presidency, and he opened his speech by saying: Workers of Brazil! After almost six years of withdrawal, during which the image and the memory of the long conviviality that I had with you never left my mind, here I am again beside you, to speak with the friendly familiarity of other times, in order to defend the most legitimate interests of the people and to promote the indispensable measures for the workers welfare. […]. And it is with deep emotion that I return to your conviviality, in this environment of joy and national celebration, in which we meet each other outdoors, and in which the government

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speaks to the people from friend to friend, in simple, loyal and straightforward language through which I have always spoken to you. (Brasil, 1951, p. 27) This speech is a striking instance of how Vargas built his proximity with the masses, symbolically picturing him as a familial and friendly figure, to reinforce an emotional bond with the working-class. It is telling of Vargas’ strategy to merge himself with the State within the social imaginary (Araújo, 2011), since he says that “the government speaks” in the same way that “I have always spoken [instead of it has always spoken] to you.” A form of direct and unmediated relationship between Vargas, as a populist leader, and the masses that supported him, in the sense that Weyland (as cited in Gidron & Bonikowski, 2013) argues. Indeed, his leadership style not only outgrew the institutions of the State but also the party system: I was not strictly the candidate of one party: I was a candidate of the people, a candidate of the workers. I will govern, therefore, with this people who elected me […]. (Brasil, 1951, p. 28) Levitisky and Roberts (2011, p. 9) stated that populist leaders “challenge established political and economic elites,” acting as representatives of the interests of “the people.” The construction of Vargas’ personal relationship with the masses was complemented by the confrontation of the national elites, on behalf of Brazilian people, as in the following excerpt, of the same speech: Whether the enemies of the people want to hear me or not, I will keep proclaiming aloud that it is not possible to maintain the society divided into zones of misery and zones of abundance […]. It is fair on a worker to have a reasonable salary, commensurate with his lifestyle, enough to support the family, raise the children, pay for housing and medical care, without needing favours nor public charity. It is fair that the law provides them the means to achieve these goals and that the State defends and guarantees the execution of a program of this nature. (Brasil, 1951, pp. 30–31) A central characteristic of Vargas’ populism was the enlargement of social welfare, which he primarily achieved by expanding and refining labour legislation. These policies were widely advertised, and the government frequently stressed that the social rights sprang from the generosity of the President, who was portrayed by his political propaganda as the “father of the poor” (Wolfe, 1994; Carvalho, 2001; De Jesus, 2018). Even though his populist rhetoric characterised the economic elites as “the enemies of the

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people,” Vargas’ administration did the same elites a great service, not only by avoiding class conflict through conciliatory measures between the emerging urban proletariat and industrials (Wolfe, 1994), but also by implementing a state-led programme of economic development, boosting national industry. This industrial policy was associated with (and supported by) a nationalist standpoint which was, in its turn, connected to a wide nationbuilding project engendered during his government (Carvalho, 2001). Vargas’ nation-building project aimed at the construction of Brazilian national identity. Creating a complex apparatus of symbolic production, which mobilised mass media and different fields of cultural production – such as cinema, music, literature, and formal education – his administration established the foundations of Brazilian national identity, which, combined with measures that were taken to promote civic culture and patriotism, constituted an attempt to yield political legitimacy for his authoritarian government (Velloso, 1987; Carvalho, 2001; Parada, 2009). Sport played a significant role within that apparatus, as it did within Italian leadership and history (see Simon Martin’s Chapter 7). Approximately 70 years later, during Lula’s administration (2003–2010), a notable interplay between populism, national identity and sport would also feature in Brazilian politics. The next section briefly characterises Lula’s model of populist practice.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “the people’s takeover” In the past few years, there has been a considerable number of studies focusing on comparisons between Vargas’ administration and Lula’s presidency. These comparisons are relatively controversial, since there are remarkable differences between both politicians and their respective governments. First, in the post-dictatorship era, Lula rose to Brazil’s presidency and governed the country under the rules of democracy, unlike Vargas. Second, they differ from each other regarding their social class background. Whilst Vargas came from the oligarchy, Lula was born poor and, to escape hunger, migrated from one of the poorest Brazilian regions to São Paulo, the richest state in the country. He became a worker in the metallurgical industry and evolved into a trade union leader, and in 1980 he founded the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party), raising himself to spokesman for the working-class (Moura, 2005). Having someone with his biography in Brazil’s presidency represented both a profound symbolic rupture of national politics and an opening for the possibility of seeking to speak for the previously underrepresented populace, since until his presidential victory in 2002 Brazil had only been governed by presidents who belonged to the national elites, including Vargas. The controversy surrounding the comparisons between both presidents is also due to the disagreement over the application of the label “populist” to describe Lula. While Vargas is acknowledged as the most typical case of

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populism in Brazil3, it has been more contentious to use the concept of populism to discuss Lula, as it is suggested by the main points in Pires and Castro (2014). Nevertheless, weighing up some characteristics of his political figure and his administration, it can be argued that there are some grounds for the analogies with Vargas under the populist approach, especially regarding their leadership style and the popular (and populist) appeal of their respective communication strategies. In the case of Lula (see also Bryan Clift’s Chapter 9 discussion of Lula), the myriad ways in which he spoke as the political leader of Brazil conveys his working-class roots and the leftist populism through which he was defined. Having a bare minimum access to formal education, as did Lula, could be considered a disadvantage within other contexts. Conversely, it has become an asset in terms of political communication, since Lula has effortlessly spoken the language of the people. During his administration, he frequently addressed the masses through metaphors, establishing comparisons between complex issues – such as state bureaucracy, macroeconomic dynamics, and political ideology – and elements related to regular people’s lives, such as familial dynamics and planting, among others (Moura, 2005). Moreover, Lula presented his views and positions in a populist discursive style, primarily through the construction of an opposition between “the elites” and “the people,” even though the range of this antagonism has changed over time. During the 1980s and 1990s, this opposition was framed by class conflict. However, in the 2002 presidential campaign, there was a shift in Lula’s rhetoric. He set a much more conciliatory tone, less oriented to the antagonism between bourgeoise and proletariat; instead, he established an alliance with a centre-right political party, which appointed an industrial businessman, José Alencar Gomes da Silva, as Lula’s running mate; and committed to the maintenance of the neoliberal agenda that had been implemented during the previous administration (Almeida, 2013). After his election, Lula resumed his antagonistic rhetoric when politically convenient, especially while addressing the criticisms of his administration, as illustrated by the following example: When we launched ProUni, they said: “This government is levelling education down, putting unqualified poor in college”. After two years, MEC4 was assessing the quality of education in this country: the best students of 14 surveyed college courses were the ProUni poor who had [previously] studied in state school. And why this phenomenon? Because these young people got the opportunity that they thought they did not have anymore, and thus, they do not want to quit, they work on it with the soul of the heart. […]. Now, this fellow5 also put forward a proposition: to make the Reuni. What is Reuni? It is a simple thing. We are going to give a little more money to the federal universities, which will increase the number of students per professor. Currently, the average is

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12 students per professor, we will increase it to 18. We pass it on all of the 56 federal universities boards. Then, there is a type of student, among those you know, who goes to the Rectory wanting to hit the Rector: “Eighteen students in a classroom is a lot, it will disrupt education”. The rich asshole, who already studied, did not want the poor to have a chance to study. (Brasil, 2008b, pp. 7–8) In this excerpt, he was addressing the criticism received by two educational programmes of his administration: (a) ProUni – which essentially consisted of giving tax exemption to private higher education institutions in exchange of scholarships for poor young people; and (b) ReUni – which aimed at increasing the number of students attending public universities, among other goals. Instead of dealing with the criticism by defending the principles of both programmes, Lula reduced the negative remarks on them to a binary moral conflict – in the sense proposed by Hawkins, cited in Gidron and Bonikowski (2013) – between the [evil/privileged] elite (“the rich asshole”), who did not want poor young people attending universities, and the [good/ hardworking] poor, who had never had the possibility to access the higher education system and, because of his government, have been granted the chance to do it. Indeed, his government was committed to transform Brazil into an inclusionary nation. To challenge social exclusion, it implemented a set of inclusionary policies, which produced a significant social and economic impact, considering the high levels of inequality that still characterise Brazilian society. Notwithstanding, they also produced symbolic effects, in the sense argued by Ovink and colleagues (2016). For example, the enactment of educational legislation ordered the inclusion of the history and culture of African, African-Brazilian and Indigenous people into the foci of school subjects such as literature, art and Brazilian history (Brasil, 2008a). An example of the inclusionary policies that produced symbolic effects, such policy agendas provided social visibility and a sense of empowerment for historically marginalised minorities. Traditionally, none of those contents had been in school curricula, which mostly adopted a Eurocentric approach. Lula’s administration embraced the sociodemographic differences, but also intended to reposition the country on the international stage. The foreign policies aimed to make the country a key player in major global issues (Clift & Andrews, 2012). The underlying logic of the rhetoric that accompanied the outlook of affirming the country as a global power was that the time had come for Brazil to be acknowledged not only for the magnitude of its territory and natures, but primarily for the grandeur of its society’s accomplishments. It was time for the country to be a leading player on the international stage, no longer a supporting character. An aspiration that expressed and stimulated Brazilian pride and self-esteem. This perspective

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would also influence the sport policies implemented under Lula. The ways in which the matter of national identity permeated the interrelationship between sport and politics within Lula and Vargas’ populist practices will be discussed next.

From Aquarela do Brasil to Rio 2016: sport, music, and populism in Brazil For the purposes of this analysis, two aspects of the interplay between sport, music, and populism within the Vargas and Lula governments are highlighted: (a) the connection with national/cultural identity; and (b) the presence within mass media. As already mentioned, Vargas’ cultural policies aimed to stimulate a national identity drive. In this sense, one of their remarkable characteristics was the adoption of guidelines that challenged the conservative thinking, typical of the early decades of the 20th century, that had put the blame for Brazil’s underdevelopment on the mixture of races. Conversely, under Vargas, the mixture of races was positively evaluated and forms of African-Brazilian culture, previously rejected, and even repressed, were conceived as genuine representatives of Brazilian national identity. This change affected diverse areas of cultural production. Within the field of music, it led to the acknowledgement of samba as a legitimate cultural form (Velloso, 1987; Oliveira, 2003; Schwarcz, 2008). Music as a cultural modality for populism is also explored by Michael Williams in Chapter 5. The emergence of a sub-genre of samba, the samba-exaltação, between the late 1930s and early 1940s, would play a decisive role in the transformation of samba into a symbol of Brazilian national identity. Aquarela do Brasil, which accompanied Brazilian athletes’ entrance in the Maracanã Stadium at the opening ceremony of Rio 2016, was composed in 1939 and is often considered the most representative song of this sub-genre. Its lyrics encompass a compliment to the country, praising its nature and its people, forged by racial diversity. Aligned with the principles of Vargas’ nation-building project, the song implicitly praised African-Brazilian heritage, associating it with national identity. Yet, the song also overshadowed racial conflicts, therefore converging to the inaccurate idea of “racial harmony” in Brazil (Shaw, 1998). The acknowledgment of the importance of ethnic and racial diversity equally influenced the sporting field, leading to the emergence of football as a symbol of Brazilian national identity (Schwarcz, 2008). Many intellectuals at the time contributed to the transformation of this British cultural practice into something typical of Brazil, by highlighting the uniqueness of Brazilian football style. For example, Gilberto Freyre, a Brazilian sociologist, celebrated the mixture of races and praised the African legacy as the major influences on the conception of Brazilian “football-art.” According to him, the national style was an outcome of “Brazilian mulatto’s” way of playing,

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that “softened in dance, curves or in music the European and North-American techniques, more angular for our taste” (Freyre as quoted in Helal & Mostaro, 2018, p. 28). Freyre is acknowledged as one of the most relevant Brazilian social and cultural analysts. Although reviewing the foundations of his monumental work is beyond the scope of this chapter, it is noteworthy that he was the primary contributor to the conception of Brazil as a “racial democracy.” Even though this conception has been challenged since its generation, in the 1930s, it was significantly disseminated within many social fields, and still prevails in some of them. His analysis of Brazilian football style was, therefore, in line with his general assumption that the mixture of races led to a democratic social formation and was the source of the richness of Brazilian culture. Like composer Ari Barroso, he highlighted the “racial harmony,” but was silent about the racial conflict that took place during the formation of the country. Samba-exaltação and the “invention” of Brazilian football style are vivid reflections of the principles which guided the construction of national identity under Vargas. On the one hand, that identity acknowledges the diversity of Brazilian people and the attempt to produce a “sense of belonging” to a national community. On the other hand, the efforts to obliterate race, class and regional conflicts, were replaced by an image of “harmony.” The underlying notion was the enhancement of a camaraderie of equals, regardless the social stratification, which is very similar to the concept of “imagined communities” proposed by Anderson (2008). The subject of identity was also associated with the cultural policies under Lula, but the way it permeated the initiatives related to sport presented some distinctions, in comparison with those associated with music. In the case of sport, the focus was on elite sport, and the prime goal was to put Brazil on the map of sport mega-events. Among other measures, the main efforts were employed to bring to the country the most relevant sport events worldwide, namely, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup and the Olympic Games. Regarding the former, Brazil was the only bid and was chosen by FIFA, in 2007, to host the 2014 World Cup. Conversely, in the bidding process to host the 2016 Olympics, there were other contenders and Brazil had to earn the right to organise the event. Within the bidding process, Lula played a central role in the victory of Rio de Janeiro’s candidacy. Brazil and Rio de Janeiro had previously attempted to host the 2004 and 2010 Olympic Games, but did not advance beyond the first round of either bidding process. In its third attempt, Lula’s administration provided the financial support that was crucial to provide the guarantees required by the International Olympic Committee. Lula was personally involved, assuming an unusual commitment to the candidacy, in comparison with other heads of state (Clift & Andrews, 2012). On 23 June 2008, there was a ceremony in

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Rio de Janeiro, in which Lula announced the measures that his administration would take to support the Olympic bid. At this ceremony, he said: Firstly, it is not any given little country. Whatever is the parameter we want; Brazil is among the 10 largest countries in the world […]. If this country could organize the [2007] Pan-American Games like it did, in such a short space of time, why cannot we organize the best Olympic Games that has ever taken place in any country? (Brasil, 2008c, p. 6) Whilst the chances to outgrow previous and much wealthier editions, such as Beijing 2008 and London 2012, were practically non-existent, Lula’s discursive strategy was aligned with the rhetoric that accompanied his administration’s foreign policy. The ideal of grandeur, stimulating Brazilian people’s pride and self-esteem, would symbolically steer the entirety of Rio’s Olympic entrepreneurship. The choice, by the Local Organising Committee, of Aquarela do Brasil, a song that lauded the greatness of the country in a previous era, to accompany the entrance of Brazilian athletes’ into the Maracanã Stadium, at the opening ceremony of Rio 2016, can be taken as an indirect sign of that aspiration. The matter of identity also permeated the measures related to the music field, although from a different perspective. Music was part of a broader policy that, instead of a “nationalist” guideline, was oriented by the principles of multiculturalism. Social stratification, racial and class conflicts were not erased. On the contrary, inequalities were exposed and the main goal of Lula’s administration, regarding the cultural field, was eliminating the gap between elitist and popular forms of culture production and consumption. In this sense, his government implemented programmes that addressed social groups that were not reached by cultural policies in the past, such as indigenous people, elderly, LGBTQ+ community, among others, reinforcing the governmental platform of providing visibility and a sense of empowerment for all minorities (Calabre, 2014). The second aspect of sport and music that influenced their interrelationship with the populist governments of Vargas and Lula was their constitution as forms of mass communication. As products of the entertainment industry, both reached an impressive number of people and, therefore, represent a privileged source to convey distinct sorts of message, explicitly or implicitly. Vargas’ authoritarian government had the control over the mass media and implemented a plan of fascist-inspired political propaganda (Melo, 2009). At the time, the most important means of mass communication was the radio, which played a relevant role in the development of Vargas populism and nation-building project. Its relevance was due to its territorial reach, which allowed inhabitants from the various regions of the country to engage with the events of national life, providing some sense of

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unity for a significantly diverse society. The fact that radio broadcasting was frequently characterised by an emotional and sensory tone also contributed to the creation of connections between individuals and the messages related to the formation of a national community (Pereira, 2012). The radio was employed to boost Vargas’ populism by disseminating the political propaganda of his authoritarian government, which cultivated the bond between leader and masses and announced the measures taken by his social policies, portraying them as resultant from Vargas’ generosity (De Jesus, 2018). The Radio Nacional, the main radio station at the time, played a crucial role in the popularisation of samba-exaltação, including it in its cultural programming and supporting its music production (Vicente, 2009). The popularity of football, as well as its connections with national symbolism, especially with the advent of the FIFA World Cup, were established (Schwarcz, 2008; Melo, 2009). The popular cultural forms thus became important sources for the construction of a national sentiment communicated and consolidated through radiobroadcasting. Unlike Vargas, Lula built national sentiment within the television era. The advent of television provided the possibility to construct a direct relationship between political forces and millions of people, unmediated by the party system. During the last quarter of the 20th century, when Lula’s political career was boosted, television was the main source of information regarding politics in Brazil, thereby influencing, although not exclusively, the way that the masses’ political views were shaped (Porto, 1997). These characteristics, combined with the high popularity of football in Brazil and its massive presence within national television, nurtured Lula’s populist discursive strategies. For example, a few days before the ending of his second term, he said: When the end of the term is coming, we get the feeling that we were watching a football match and I’m going to talk about football, because the humblest people who are watching us right now understand more if I philosophize about football than if I philosophize about Philosophy. So, in this football match, I have no doubt that we are winning the game from four to zero, five to zero … Then, we have three types of fans: we have that very optimistic fan, who thinks it was impossible to do more; that we did everything; that the goals were the most beautiful ever seen inside Maracanã; and that, therefore, the team does not have to do anything else. We have that pessimist [fan], the one who stays: “Wow, just five to zero! Why did not you score 10? Why did not you score 15? You should have score more!” It is not going to happen either. And the one that […] think the team could have scored more if they have not lost the ball so much; if they had not passed the ball wrongly. Politics is a bit like that. I know we have done a lot, but I also know how much remains to be done in this country. After all, you cannot fix 500 years of sloppiness in eight years […]. (Brasil, 2010, pp. 1–2)

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In this excerpt, his analogy with football is used to assess his administration. Football as a metaphor for the act of governing was a recurrent strategy in his discourse, playing a pedagogical role, by simplifying political affairs to the “humblest people” who frequently were not familiar with them. Moreover, Lula has always highlighted for which football team he rooted, namely, the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, or simply Corinthians (Mascarenhas et al., 2014), one of the most popular Brazilian football teams. By speaking the “football language” and evoking the image of a president who was a football fan that, according to the context, shifted to a football fan who happened to be the President, Lula reinforced his symbolic proximity and identification with the people, strengthening his personal and charismatic leadership of the nation.

Conclusion As Lula and Vargas attest, sport and music are relevant mechanisms in the development and formation of individual identities in political leadership. They are also important forms of mass communication, reaching significant audiences through mass media. It seems relevant to take these characteristics into account when exploring the connections and dynamics between both cultural practices and the phenomenon of populism. This chapter attempted to discuss the interrelationship between these three elements within the context of Brazilian politics, specifically during the governments of former presidents Getúlio Dornelles Vargas and Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. By concisely examining their administrations, it was possible to observe that, despite relevant differences, there were also significant similarities between both, especially related to their personal leadership styles and the popular (and populist) appeal of their administrations. Stated briefly, Vargas and Lula developed their careers within Brazilian politics founded on charisma and on a personalistic relationship with the people, which outgrew de facto political party systems (see Bryan Clift’s Chapter 9 for additional discussion of Lula’s charisma and its challenges after his tenure). Facing the challenges of their respective eras, both have chosen the enemies against whom they would build their populist discourses as much as they have adopted political strategies of implementing inclusionary policies in one of the most exclusionary societies in the world, thus earning the support and the loyalty from the masses. The overall picture is that both Vargas and Lula absorbed sport and music in the apparatus of symbolic production that each developed in their administrations, which aimed at conquering political legitimacy for the government. In the case of Vargas, the use of both cultural forms was essentially related to his nation-building project and the endeavours of conceiving Brazilian national identity, as well as to the development of a civic culture to assure social cohesion under his authoritarianism. Sport and music were

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also connected with the topic of identity during Lula’s administration. However, the approach was different. Whilst sport policies focused primarily on the reception of mega-events and elite sport, and therefore stimulating national pride, music was absorbed in a wider set of cultural politics that was oriented to highlight the ethnic and racial diversity of Brazilian people. On balance, it seems to be that, due to their capability of reaching a considerable number of people through mass media, sport and music tend to be mobilised to transmit distinct types of messages. In the cases of Vargas and Lula, they served to the purpose of building identities and reinforcing the populist bond between both leaders and the masses, in accordance to the political guidelines that steered each government.

Notes 1 Currently, the key features of the opening ceremony are: “1. Entry by the head of state; 2. Playing of the national anthem; 3. The parade of participants; 4. The symbolic release of pigeons; 5. The head of state declares the Games open; 6. Raising the Olympic flag and playing the Olympic anthem; 7. The taking of the Olympic oath by an athlete, an official and a coach; 8. The Olympic flame and the torch relay; 9. The artistic programme” (International Olympic Committee, 2019, p. 1). 2 As dictated by Olympic tradition, the delegations entered into the Maracanã Stadium as follows: (a) Greece, which led the parade since it is the country where the first edition was held; (b) the other countries that had athletes competing in the Games, organized in alphabetical order according to Brazil’s official language; (c) the team of refugees, preceded by the Olympic flag; and (d) the athletes representing the host country. 3 In the last three decades, a wave of studies on populism have challenged the early studies on the topic, from which the acknowledgment of Vargas as the most exemplary case of populism in Brazil came. Alongside the broader controversy surrounding the concept of populism, this more recent approach primarily criticises two key aspects of the early studies: (a) how they disregarded political ideology and its influence over the political arena, by conceiving Brazilian populism as a political regime, that had taken place from Vargas’ rise to presidency, in 1930, to the deposition of President João Goulart by the military coup, in 1964; and (b) how they neglected the working-class’ agency, portraying the masses as easily manipulated by populist leaders (Gomes, 1996). 4 MEC is an acronym for Ministry of Education and Culture. 5 Lula is referring to Fernando Haddad, the Minister of Education of his administration from 2005 to 2010.

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134 Renata Maria Toledo Araújo, M. S. 2011. Linguagem do poder, poder da linguagem: estratégias argumentativas em discursos de Vargas e Lula. Revista de C. Humanas, 11 (1), pp. 125–138. Brasil. 1951. Discurso pronunciado em 01 de maio de 1951. Available at: http://www. biblioteca.presidencia.gov.br/presidencia/ex-presidentes/getulio-vargas/discursos/1951/ 07.pdf/view [accessed 30 November 2019]. Brasil. 2008a. Lei n° 11.645, de 10 de março de 2008. Brasília, 2008. Available at: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_Ato2007-2010/2008/Lei/L11645.htm#art1 [accessed 8 October 2019]. Brasil. 2008b. 20-08-2008 – Discurso do Presidente da República Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, na cerimônia de inauguração do campus Cariri da Universidade Federal do Ceará. Available at: http://www.biblioteca.presidencia.gov.br/presidencia/ex-presidentes/ luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva/discursos/2o-mandato/2008/20-08-2008-discurso-do-presidenteda-republica-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-na-cerimonia-de-inauguracao-do-campus-cariri-dauniversidade-federal-do-ceara/view [accessed 4 December 2019]. Brasil. 2008c. Discurso do presidente da república, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, durante a solenidade de anúncio de medidas de apoio à candidatura do Rio de Janeiro aos Jogos Olímpicos e Paraolímpicos de 2016. Available at: http://www.biblioteca.presidencia. gov.br/presidencia/ex-presidentes/luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva/discursos/2o-mandato/2008/ 23-06-2008-discurso-do-presidente-da-republica-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-durante-asolenidade-de-anuncio-de-medidas-de-apoio-a-candidatura-do-rio-de-janeiro-aos-jogos/ view [accessed 7 June 2016]. Brasil. 2010. 13-12-2010 – Discurso do Presidente da República, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, na entrega do Prêmio Nacional de Direitos Humanos e encaminhamento ao Cong. Nacional da Convenção Internacional para a proteção dos direitos humanos dos trabalhadores migrantes. Available at: http://www.biblioteca.presidencia.gov. br/presidencia/ex-presidentes/luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva/discursos/2o-mandato/2010/ 13-12-2010-discurso-do-presidente-da-republica-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-na-entregado-premio-nacional-de-direitos-humanos-e-encaminhamento-ao-cong.-nacional-daconvencao-internacional-para-a-protecao-dos-direitos-humanos-dos-trabalhadoresmigrantes/view [accessed 18 December 2019]. Calabre, L. 2014. Política cultural em tempos de democracia: a Era Lula. Revista do Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros, 58, pp. 137–156. Carvalho, J. M. 2001. Cidadania no Brasil: O Longo Caminho. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira. Clift, B. C. & Andrews, D. L. 2012. Living Lula’s passion? The politics of Rio 2016. In Lenskyj, H. J. & Wagg, S. (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 210–229. De Jesus, C. V. 2018. Desenvolvimentismo, Populismo e Distribuição de Renda. MSc Dissertation, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Fonseca, P. C. D. 2011. O mito do populismo econômico de Vargas. Revista de Economia Política, 31 (1), pp. 56–76. Gidron, N. & Bonikowski, B. 2013. Varieties of populism: literature review and research agenda. Weatherhead Working Paper Series, n. 13–004. Gomes, A. C. 1996. O populismo e as ciências sociais no Brasil: notas sobre a trajetória de um conceito. Tempo, 1 (2), pp. 31–58. Helal, R. G. & Mostaro, F. 2018. Foot-ball Mulato e o imaginário nacional: a atmosfera de sentidos da Copa de 1938. ALCEU, 19 (37), pp. 16–35.

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International Olympic Committee. 2019. FactSheet Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad: update – January 2018. Available at: https://stillmed.olympic.org/ media/Document%20Library/OlympicOrg/Factsheets-Reference-Documents/Games/ Ceremonies/Factsheet-Opening-Ceremony-of-the-Olympic-Winter-Games.pdf#_ga= 2.136861686.717450290.1567357026-1296528548.1566838079 [accessed 7 July 2019]. Levitsky, S. & Roberts, K. M. 2011. Latin America ‘left turn’: a framework for analysis. In Levitsky, S. & Roberts, K. M. (eds.). The Resurgence of the Latin America Left. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, pp. 1–28. Mascarenhas, F., Silva, S. R., & Santos, M. R. 2014. Lulismo e futebol: os discursos de um torcedor presidente. Movimento, 20 (2), pp. 495–517. Melo, V. A. 2009. Esporte e propaganda política: um estudo comparado dos governos de Vargas (1930–1945) e Perón (1946–1955). Materiales para la Historia del Deporte, VII, pp. 43–58. Moura, E. M. M. 2005. As Representações Metafóricas no Discurso do Presidente Lula: Um Estudo da Metáfora Cognitiva. MSc Dissertation, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo. Oliveira, F. 2003. Diálogo na grande tradição. In Novaes, A. (ed.). A Crise do EstadoNação. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, pp. 445–464. Ovink, S. M., Ebert, K., & Okamoto, D. 2016. Symbolic politics of the state: the case of in-state tuition bills for undocumented students. Socious: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 2, pp. 1–15. Parada, M. B. A. 2009. Cultura cívica e memória no Estado Novo brasileiro. Diálogos, DHI/PPH/UEM, 13 (2), pp. 401–412. Pereira, M. F. F. 2012. Comunidade imaginada sonora: a Rádio Nacional e o engendramento da identidade brasileira no Estado Novo. Rádio-Leituras, 2, pp. 129–149. Pires. T. M. C. C. & Castro, M. C. P. S. 2014. Lulismo: entre o popular e o populismo. Revista Contracampo, 30 (2), pp. 24–43. Porto, M. P. 1997. O poder da televisão: relações entre tv e política. Comunicação & Educação, 8, pp. 14–18. Schwarcz, L. M. 2008. Apresentação: imaginar é difícil (porém necessário). In Anderson, B.R. (ed.). Comunidades Imaginadas: Reflexões Sobre a Origem e a Difusão do Nacionalismo. Translated from Portuguese by Bottman, D. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, pp. 9–17. Shaw, L. 1998. São coisas nossas: samba and identity in the Vargas Era (1930–45). Portuguese Studies, 14, pp. 152–169. Velloso, M. P. 1987. Os Intelectuais e a Política Cultural do Estado Novo. Rio de Janeiro: Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil. Vicente, E. 2009. Samba e nação: música popular e debate intelectual na década de 1940. Revista Comunicarte, 25, pp. 39–56. Walsh, L. 2010. Brazil is Samba: Rhythm, Percussion and Samba in the Formation of Brazilian National Identity (1902–1958). BA Thesis, Wesleyan University. Wolfe, J. 1994. “Father of the Poor” or “Mother of the Rich”?: Getúlio Vargas, industrial workers, and construction of class, gender, and populism in São Paulo, 1930–1954. Radical History Review, 58, pp. 80–111.

Chapter 9

Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian cultural politics, and the Rio 2016 Olympics Left in Lula’s wake1 Bryan C. Clift

Introduction During the Opening Ceremonies of The Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, 5 August 2016, the individual who recited the Games’ opening declaration – and thus officially commencing the event – was not democratically elected to the highest political office in Brazil; he was the then Acting President Michel Temer. The significance of this was not lost on Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials, none of whom formally introduced the Acting President during the course of the opening ceremonies; this was a marked deviation from the typical practice of introducing the host nation’s head of state during the ceremonies. Arguably, the person who should have opened the Games was Dilma Rousseff, the first woman to be elected President in Brazilian history, who just 85 days earlier had her powers of office suspended for the duration of her impeachment trial – her formal removal came on 31 August 2020, ten days after the conclusion of the Games. That the Games were opened by the translucent figure of Temer symbolised the broader political, economic, and social climate in Brazil, from its initial efforts to win the right to host the Games through to their implementation. Over the course of the events, the Rio Games and Paralympic Games came to represent a wake for the Leftist populism that had achieved formal institutional power for the previous 14 years. Several others in this volume discuss how sporting mega-events figure into populist leadership in specific nation-states: in Greece, Jacob Bustad (Chapter 6); in Italy, Simon Martin (Chapter 7); also in Brazil, Renata Toledo (Chapter 8); in England and Russia, Alex Gillett and Kevin Tennent (Chapter 11); in the USA, Adam Beissel and David Andrews (Chapter 15). The Olympic Games are not an autonomous institution into which politics creep uninvited (Senn, 1999), despite the original de Coubertin vision attempting to position the Olympic movement as non- or apolitical. Rather, the Games produce and are produced by the domestic and international politics of the moment. Further, as VanWynsberghe and Ritchie (1998) suggested,

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national organising committees and events surrounding the Games are often politically motivated and incorporated into the Olympics’ branded identity. Now more than three years from the conclusion of the Games, it is evident that the Rio 2016 bid and Games were rooted in the vernacular political agenda of then Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Clift & Andrews, 2012), as well as his successor, former President Dilma Rousseff, and the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, or Workers’ Party), which they both represented. In this chapter, I put forward an analysis of the political, economic, and social context of Rio 2016 as produced by and productive of the political populism of Lula, Rousseff, and the PT. The Games became entangled in the perils of populist politics as Rousseff suffered the gendered and misogynist discourses associated with a right-wing backlash. Rather than servicing the left-wing populism embodied by Lula, the Games instead came to represent a wake for the left.

Lula’s leftist populism, Rousseff, and the Olympics Elected in 2002, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly referred to as Lula, assumed power in 2003. French and Fortes (2012) referred to him as an improbable President when he won. He had completed only the fourth grade of primary school, worked in the streets since he was eleven years old, and his manual occupation and dark skin stigmatised him within Brazil’s powerful racialised class hierarchy. Yet, it was those humble origins and sense of genuine concern and empathy for Brazil’s impoverished or marginalised that provided the foundation for his rise within the PT (Hunter & Power, 2005). Within a Brazilian society afflicted with widespread inequality and a disillusionment with the political leaders who had failed to confront them, Lula appeared a truthful, genuine, charismatic, and paternalistic leader who was “just like the people” (Matos, 2003, p. 185). Upon entering office, Matos (2003, p. 183) described the public’s response confirming Lula’s populism: Similarly to many Hollywood celebrities, Lula gave autographs, received gifts and flowers, was chased by normal citizens and experienced many emotional moments in his presidential debut. Lula’s harassment in public was comparable by some to the idolatry that was awarded to the populist politician Getulio Vargas during the 30s. Lula’s victory was marked by big street parties that resembled samba schools practicing for Carnival. In what seemed to resemble the idolatry afforded to another legendary world leader such as Nelson Mandela, Lula’s victory was celebrated in the best melodramatic form possible. The population’s excessive motion reflected an urge for the “good side” to finally prevail over the forces of “evil”, which were associated in Brazil to political corruption, corporate greed and backward mentality of the ruling elites.

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While his popularity was undeniable, it was his charisma tied to a collective project of social emancipation (or Lulismo) that provided many with the idea that Lula was a “living repudiation of the country’s entrenched prejudices” (French & Fortes, 2012, p. 24) and proof of upward mobility. Further, he symbolised that the lives of common people can be made better by politicians – provided that is their real priority. Renata Toledo in Chapter 8 also discusses the populism of Lula and Getulio Vargas. Lula’s first term in office disappointed many and was marked by an extension of the policies and practices of his predecessor, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Hunter & Power, 2005). Needing to moderate the anti-capitalist rhetoric upon which he ran for office, he (perhaps) necessarily strategically engaged with global capitalist forces. Maintaining economic orthodoxy and limited foreign policy, he risked failing to live up to expectations. But his investment in large-scale social programs and global SouthSouth trade provided a bedrock moving forward (Bourne, 2008; Hurrell, 2008; Goodman, 2009). Slowly, the PT administration first with Lula and then with Rousseff enacted a series of domestic policies that supported the poor and working class. Lula’s flagship initiative, Bolsa Família, presented a conditional cash transfer plan aimed directly at taking care of the poor and working-class (Hunter & Power, 2007). Other initiatives included: subsidised credit lines for low-income citizens, improved support for the elderly and family agriculture, proposals for universal electricity, improved subsidisation of college/university education, expansion of the federal university system, and a rise in the national wage. Such policies reaffirmed the social movements that galvanised Lula and the PT during the 1980s and 1990s. Even while moderating somewhat their progressive agendas, the PT under Lula and Rousseff created social programmes that assisted in lifting more than an estimated 30 million people out of poverty. Hosting the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup and notably 2016 Olympic Games was part-and-parcel of Lula’s vision for Brazil, servicing both international and domestic agendas. Brazil has long been characterised, in the words of former President Fernando Collor, as “the first of the developing countries” or “the last place in the developed countries group” (quoted in Almeida, 2009, p. 170). Others have described it as a “late-developed” society (Tosto, 2005, p. 158), an “emerging third world power” (Harris, 2005), or even a “craft superpower” (Brainard & Martinez-Diaz, 2009). In the Games, Lula saw an opportunity to confirm Brazil’s international ascendancy (Clift & Andrews, 2012). In sporting terms, hosting the Games substantiated Maguire’s (1999) fifth stage of sportisation, the rise of non-Western nations playing, administering, and delivering major international sport. Like the activities of Brazil and Lula amongst the World Trade Organization, United Nations, and the G20 (Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors), the Games would enable Brazil to become involved with multilateral organisations. Following in the

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footsteps of post-1992 Barcelona Olympic hosts, Lula sought to mobilise the Games as a means through which to re-energise Rio’s status as a “world-class city” (Whitson & Macintosh, 1993). The attraction of such events is that they can project the host city to a global audience, which in turn can serve as a motor for political and economic globalisation (Short, 2008). The enormity of the Games, in its contemporary form as a global mega-event (Roche, 2000), necessitates the intermingling of national and local political, economic, and social investment. The task for a left-populist administration was to ally such city branding with the overall interests and needs of the populace. Dilma Rousseff was intimately involved in actualising Lula’s Olympic passion. She fulfilled several roles in Lula’s administration: as his Chief of Staff, she was the chair of Petrobras’s board – the state-run oil company – between 2003 and 2010; she also oversaw the Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (Program of Growth Acceleration, or PAC), which was the largest development program ever launched in Brazil and aimed at infrastructure construction and industrial capacity. The PAC would become a cornerstone of the public funding that would support the infrastructure for the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games (International Olympic Committee, 2008). Lula fondly anointed her “the mother of the PAC.” A key feature of Rio’s bid for the Games was its promised use of public funds: cutting across city, state, and federal levels, $2.82 billion in public funding covered the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG); a further $11.1 billion was to be derived from the PAC. Vitally, this would be used to support an assembly of urban improvements beyond the four specific sites of the Games, or “venue clusters”, including: a high speed rail system; metro and suburban rail upgrades; bus transport (BRT); automobile lanes; improving Rio’s international airport; environmental management systems; power and security infrastructure; and Wi-Fi access across the city. As a strategic tool for the deployment of urban agendas, the City of Rio de Janeiro attempted to build more infrastructure in seven years than in the previous 50 (Canales, 2011). In Oliveira’s (2006) terms, Lula’s Olympic aspirations were emblematic of the “neo-populism” that came to define his Presidency. In foresight, Lula recognised the need for continuing his social, political, and economic momentum, as well as legacy and the Games’ imbricated position. Waiting in the wings was Dilma Rousseff whose position was widely recognised as that of the second most powerful person in Brazil. Having worked with Lula since 2002, serving as his chief of staff and directing the PAC, amongst other responsibilities, she was well placed to drive forward Lula’s legacy, the PT, and the Olympics.

Gendered populist politics: from Lula to Dilma to Temer Lula was the most popular President in Brazilian history (Bertazzo, 2012). He achieved economic growth and stability, reduction of poverty and income

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inequality, and strong public support, thus making him a tough act to follow (Pereira, 2011). Although Rousseff was Lula’s handpicked successor, she was not the obvious choice. Rousseff had never run for political office prior to running for President; previously, she had held only appointed positions. Morais and Saad-Filho (2011, p. 41) commented that she lacked “Lula’s charisma, track record, and popular roots, and she has the additional vulnerability of being a woman.” Her position within the PT and its subsequent decline may be partly characterised as a politics of personality, but it was also the outcome of a gendered politics of populism. As Kampwirth (2010) remarked, populist politics is about passion, emotion, and personal charisma rather than the politics of abstract policy. The power of Lula’s populism in the case of Rousseff represented both the boom and bust for the Left and the PT. The vacuum left by Lula’s departure from the Presidency, combined with a shifting/declining economic outlook and the political challenges of Brazil’s multi-party system, set the stage for a tumultuous lead up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. Unlike Lula, Rousseff’s origins were not considered humble. Born in Belo Horizonte, she was raised in an upper-middle class household; her father was a Bulgarian immigrant and lawyer, and her mother a teacher. Without a comparable humble narrative, it was Rousseff’s activist roots that eventually led her to begin working with the PT and Lula, and which differentiated her from her middle- and upper-class peers (French & Fortes, 2012). During the 1964 coup, she was active in protests against the military dictatorship before joining Política Operária (Polop, or Workers’ Politics) – a section of the Brazilian Socialist Party – which would merge with leftist activists and militants to form the militant group National Liberation Command, and went on to fight guerrilla warfare in rural areas in opposition to the military dictatorship. Her activism eventually led to her arrest on challenges of subversion. Imprisoned for three years, wherein she was tortured, she was released in 1973 and pursued a degree in Economics at the publicly funded Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Becoming more involved in politics, over time she eventually became the Finance Secretary for Porto Alegre in 1986. While pursuing her Economics PhD, she returned to politics as Secretary of Mines, Energy, and Communication for Rio Grande do Sul. Called back to government, she met Lula and became affiliated with the PT. In 2002, she left her government job to serve on Lula’s successful 2002 presidential campaign. In 2005, she became the chief of staff for Lula’s Presidency before becoming his successor. The pathway of Rousseff’s ascendency generated critiques of her rise: de Souza (2011) suggested that Rousseff rode Lula’s coattails through a somewhat artificial Presidential bid; Bertazzo (2012) asserted her to be an accidental President. There is a case to be made for both of these observations in going some way towards understanding her meteoric rise as largely Lula’s creation. Continuity, Rousseff’s campaign theme, presented a candidate who

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would sustain what Lula had been doing (de Souza, 2011; Pereira, 2011). True to Lula’s roots and the platform of the PT, Rousseff inherited the successful social domestic policies and social programs aimed at redressing inequalities felt by the poor and working classes. Pereira (2011) argued that continuity does not mean lack of change. Rousseff’s administration – as part of the democratic and leftist shift in Brazil – ushered in an unprecedented period of change in Brazilian society. Bertazzo (2012) communicated this with several important indicators: job creation; labour demand; improved income, notably amongst families; inequality reduction; and generally strong public support for government amongst the wealthiest and poorest. As Rousseff entered office, continuity made sense. Rousseff, however, would face a different context than Lula. de Souza (2011, p. 87) commented just as Rousseff came into office: “The circumstances that transformed Lula into the most popular president Brazil has ever had may no longer exist.” da Silva and Pérez (2019) outlined several examples that illustrated this shifting landscape. Lula approached managing Brazil’s multi-party system by bridging centre and right-wing parties, which in the fallout from political scandal weakened the PT with the Brazilian electorate, and thus Rousseff, who would inherit a less cohesive congressional coalition than Lula (Sola, 2008; da Silva & Pérez, 2019). This led to Rousseff needing to attend to domestic efforts and political cohesion rather than the international agendas (Veiga & Rios, 2011). Economically, Rousseff’s administration had to grapple with the fallout of the 2008 global economic recession, which through a combination of impacts resulted in a considerable economic slowdown. The BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the association of these five major emerging national economies – for all their increasing international consideration in the early 2000s, “never materialized into the international system-altering force it set out to be” (da Silva & Pérez, 2019, p. 176). In her foreign policy agendas, Rousseff’s leadership style and occasional missteps led to less success amongst Brazilian diplomats compared to previous successes under Lula (Burges, 2013). Brazil’s Lula-inspired aspirations of becoming a global player struggled to translate into success as foreign and domestic agendas struggled amidst a shifting context. The World Cup and Olympic Games serve as equal reminders of this. Barbassa (2017, p. 48) commented: “The venues and infrastructure associated with the World Cup and the Olympics, which were supposed to showcase the country’s capacity, modernity, and ambitions, became the embodiment of the most clichéd of Brazilian vices: corruption.” Former Mayor Eduardo Paes commented just one month before the Games: “This is a missed opportunity … We are not showcasing ourselves. With all these economic and political crises, with all these scandals, it is not the best moment to be in the eyes of the world. This is bad.” (Watts, 2016). It is difficult to be precise about the range and specificity of Paes’s charges as he simultaneously insisted that the problems of the Games in the media were

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over-exaggerated. Certainly, he recognised the waning economy; he also referenced the political scandals that engulfed Lula and Rousseff. The investigations into Petrobras, the state oil company, known as Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash) is the largest political scandal in Brazilian history. It investigated more than 50 politicians, several of whom were part of the PT, and Lula was charged in several connected corruption cases. Paes, too, faced charges of corruption related to infrastructure projects. Or perhaps Paes was referring to the crisis in democracy raised by Rousseff’s impeachment. As for a missed opportunity, this could have meant many things. Despite modest gains, for example in transport infrastructure, including the somewhat expanded subway and bussing systems, there is much else Brazil surely wishes could have prospered and benefitted from the events. Just prior to the Games, the outbreak of the Zika virus brought fears amongst athletes and tourists; pacification of favelas and the resulting increased violence and police presence in the city provided a stigmatised view of the city; strikes amongst firefighters, police, and other public workers threatened the safety of the public and visitors; and it wasn’t clear whether the transit or events infrastructure for the Games would be ready (Zimbalist, 2017). The legacy projects of the event – environmental clean-up in Rio, upgraded urban housing, or improved public transit – would not (and did not) materialise anywhere near the levels initially projected. For any leader, these would be daunting times. Whereas Lula was largely credited with galvanising the PT, Rousseff’s weaker position within the organisation derived primarily from her association with Lula himself in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As she ran for and took up the Presidency, Rousseff negotiated both Lula’s imperious presence and the “double binds and constraining factors of women in power” (Sosa, 2019, p. 718) – Renata Toledo’s Chapter 8 also discusses charismatic personas outgrowing political parties. In populist politics, gender is of vital consideration (Kampwirth, 2010): gendered analyses can at different societal levels articulate how women have benefited, participated, or been excluded compared to men; they also can unpack the gendered elements that construct populist leaders. Evoking the gendered nature of both dilemmas, Rousseff was commonly referred to as “Lula in a skirt.” The PT may well have recognised that positioning Rousseff in this way offered a rhetorical means of linking the two for the purposes of continuity (Downie, 2010); others suggested that the phrase positioned her as embodying both strength and weakness at the same time (Savarese, 2014). Such framings underscored the notion that Rousseff’s presence in office was achievable only because of Lula and that she was merely a place-holder until he could run for office, again (Chalhoub et al., 2017; Sosa, 2019). Used by supporters and the opposition, the differential gendered reference served to undermine her. To address her public image and negotiate the star-power of Lula, she underwent several cosmetic and physical alterations in order to improve her popular appeal. Costa (2010) noted that dental work softened her smile, eyelid

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surgery made her look more youthful, and a series of cosmetic changes improved her facial features (e.g., sunscreen, specific lipstick and power blush, and hair lightening). Obvious cosmetic efforts to improve her image communicated the gendered ways in which she had to respond to criticism of being a serious or hard woman – common descriptions of her personality – in contrast to Lula’s affable demeanour. More alarming, though, were the openly pernicious gendered and misogynist discourses. The foundation for gendered and misogynist attacks on Rousseff stemmed at least in part from the policies of the PT. One of the direct and indirect benefits of PT policies was the positive impact that they carried for women, notably poor and working-class women. These policies are unsurprising given that a key aspect of the social movements that brought the PT in to power were its gendered dimensions (Snyder & Wolff, 2019). Matos and Alvarez (2018) submitted that the establishment of the National Conferences on Policies for Women – bringing together women from across Brazil to consider and advance policies – was one of the most important policy creations for women in Brazil during Lula’s and Dilma’s tenure. Shortly after his election to office, Lula spoke at the First National Conference on Policies for Women. There, he insisted that: “[C]ontemporary democracy cannot be limited to economic and political rights. In the world of today, gender equality is an inalienable part of social justice” (as cited in French & Fortes, 2012, p. 7). Three years later at the second National Conference, he hailed and spoke of several women leaders in Latin and North America. Other initiatives across the Lula-Rousseff administrations included: the Bolsa Família, a social and anti-poverty programme in 2003 that provided small sums of federal financial assistance to low-income families who kept children in school; the Maria de Penha Law, which in 2006 targeted and criminalised violence against women; the Minha Casa Minha Vida, a housing programme in 2009 that sought to provide new homes for low-income families and that prioritised women in financing; and the domestic workers PEC, which in 2013 provided more rights to domestic workers. Undoubtedly, the policies enacted benefited marginalised peoples and groups (e.g. ensuring rights or higher/basic income), and significantly benefited women (Fernandes, 2012; French & Fortes, 2012; Snyder & Wolff, 2019). In electing Rousseff, the PT pushed forward a new first for the nation. As a figurehead of a PT whose actions benefited women in its social, political, and economic agenda, Rousseff became the target of resentment from both men and women in more privileged classes (Snyder & Wolff, 2019), and more vicious misogynist attacks from social and political conservatives (Snyder & Wolff, 2019; Sosa, 2019). In order to understand the attacks on Rousseff, their gendered dimensions, and her eventual impeachment, Snyder and Wolff (2019) suggested that some fundamental dynamics about the country must be understood. Historically, Brazil has a significant history of inequality, a product of slavery and the formation of

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white elitism. Brazil’s economic, political, and social structural formations, and its institutions (e.g., media, education, and the church) have all been shaped by the power of a white elite: these systems and institutions have often been mobilised to dominate those of African descent and indigenous people, the poor, and women (Hanchard, 1999; Reichmann, 2010). From the nation’s formation through the early 21st century, its major political changes have seen diverse women’s and feminist groups fight for social, political, and economic inclusion (Snyder & Wolff, 2019). In the process of doing so, women’s roles and positions in politics and society were brought into tension with gendered ideologies. For example: entering the workforce was tolerable so long as doing so did not interfere with motherhood; the 1964 military coup enabled a male-dominated dictatorship wherein those in power stayed in power; or, as feminist groups gained political recognition, they were challenged by the accommodation of centrist ideas and negotiation with other social movements. Several policies of the Lula, Rousseff, and PT administrations, to which Snyder and Wolff (2019) pointed, generated dissatisfaction in the middle class: labour rights that provided domestic workers (mostly black women) the same rights as other workers, quota policies for the preservation of 50% of places for black and indigenous people and those from public schools, and the Bolsa Família programme. The response to such programs intending to reduce inequalities, which disproportionately benefited women, and often women of colour, fostered the re-emergence of a “deep-seated misogynist discourse” (Snyder and Wolff, 2019, p. 87). The opportune moment for the resurgence of misogynist discourse came during a historically consistent catalyst of urban discontent: problems of public transit (Fortes, 2016; Sosa, 2019). An increase in bus fares in 2013 resulted in street demonstrations in Sao Paulo. Simultaneously, the provision of public services came into sharp contrast with the significant amount of state funding going to the nation’s sporting mega-events, notably the forthcoming FIFA Confederations Cup to be hosted in late June 2013, 2014 FIFA World Cup, and 2016 Olympic Games. Initially, informal sector workers and working-class university students propelled a revolt by occupying the streets. After a few weeks, however, protests were joined by the middle classes, some of whom were disgruntled with decreases in their standard of living. Fortes (2016) highlighted three specific areas of discontent with the PT amongst these groups: loss of abundant low-wage labourers resulting from the expansion of work, labour rights, and educational opportunities; affirmative action policies that threw into question the privileged status of many and meritocratic ideologies; and the growing presence of the poor Brazilians in public spaces (e.g., airports or shopping malls), notably those of African descent, which had historically been the privilege of the white upper classes. While the arguments of the middle classes had little to do with the problems of public transit, the protests became a repository for advocating a range of gripes, policies, and actions.

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The media narrative of the protests also began to change with the influx of other groups, from one of a group of marginal radicals to a more diverse set of participants. In order to accommodate the diverse ideological positions of protestors, the media portrayed a unifying message of the “fight against corruption” (Fortes, 2016). Laclau (2005) wrote that populism is a mode of political articulation that is derived from and fashioned together in the context of an unstable order. Unifying categories, such as “the people,” yoke together frustrated or neglected social demands opposed to a current or dominant order. In Rousseff’s case, alleged “corruption” served as the unifying force that tore open her own left-wing government. An anti-corruption expression came into focus that called attention to bribes for politicians and kickbacks to construction companies during major infrastructure projects. In retrospect, Chade (2017) reported for The Guardian that: six of the 12 stadiums built for the World Cup came under investigation for irregularities and bribery; Former Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes was probed for bribery; those responsible for the new Rio subway line were suspected of fraud; and Jonas Lopes, the president of the accountability tribunal of the state of Rio, was investigated for bribery in the exchange of contracts for the Maracanã. Behind accusations, Fortes (2016) and Sosa (2019) suggested, was the anti-PT sentiment from the new ideological and activist Right. Although Rousseff would go on to win her 2014 re-election campaign, the protests and their increasing conservative swing catalysed the Right into action. In 2015, the anti-corruption campaign turned wholly on the PT and constructed an antipettismo (hatred of the PT) (Telles, 2015). Rousseff became the embodied focus of conservative vilification (Sosa, 2019). During protests calling for her impeachment, Sosa (2019, p. 718) relayed how she was regularly referred to as a “vagabunda comunista (communist tramp), as a cow or a donkey, or with hashtags such as #tchauquerida (bye darling!) or #calabocadilma (shut up, Dilma!).” Sosa (2019) delineated three tropes mobilised to use her feminism against her, denigrate her, and undermine her: the subversive, the mother, and the killjoy. The subversive trope took Rousseff’s resistance of the military dictatorship as a way to incite over-the-top rhetoric that conservatives used to tap into cultural narratives regarding sexual subversion, which fuelled and framed misogynist vitriol against her. The mother brought into focus the ideological tension between Rousseff as the Latin American “supermadre” (supermom), her kinship with Lula, and the PT policies on abortion, same-sex marriage, and legalisation of marijuana against the Evangelical right, which sought to mobilise language of family as a proxy for opposing reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights. The killjoy took shape during Rousseff’s impeachment, where her accusers tactfully evaded the facts of the case while Rousseff insisted on the rule of law: the Right sought to turn Rousseff and her defenders into feminist killjoys. On 12 May 2016, Rousseff was stripped of her presidential powers and responsibilities by the Senate in a vote of 55–22 in favour of impeachment,

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which suspended her from office for 180 days or until the conclusion of her trial. The charges levied against her included spending money without gaining congressional approval and the use of unauthorised loans from state banks to increase the appearance of the national budget. In brief, these were issues of meddling with Brazil’s finances wherein administrating the national budget required using common, accepted financial techniques for the purposes of projecting taxes and government expenditure. The claims of Rousseff’s illegality were dubious at best; she would be later cleared of all illegal allegations made against her. Prior to and during her impeachment, she consistently made a public case in her defence wherein she called the impeachment minute and trivial, said that she was handling the current economic crisis responsibly, and highlighted her personal honesty and fortitude – characteristics by which Lula chose Rousseff as his successor (Sosa, 2019). Critics, pundits, and academics have understood the impeachment as a parliamentary coup d’etat by the PT’s political rivals. Temer’s installation as Acting President, and as a representative of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), resulted from the party leaving its PT alliance and forming a new coalition. In 2019, Temer admitted that the impeachment of Rousseff was a parliamentary coup, in spite of his protestations as such during the process. After the impeachment vote and during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Rousseff commented on the possibility raised by her impeachment of not presiding over the opening of the Olympic Games: “If that happens, I will be very sad … I would very much like to take part in the Olympic process, because I helped build the effort from day one.” The period of Rousseff’s suspension would stretch over the entirety of the Games. On 31 August 2016, Rousseff was officially removed from the Office of the President at the conclusion of impeachment proceedings. The vote in the Senate to remove her from office was 61–20. Temer, as Rousseff’s now former Vice President and in his capacity as Head of State at the Olympics, was roundly booed at the opening ceremonies, the only event he attended. His approval ratings at the time were in the low teens. Fora Temer became a popular chant in Brazil during and after the Games amongst the disenchanted, which is roughly translated as Out with Temer, or Anyone but Temer. Discontent with him stemmed from several sources: as Rousseff’s former Vice President, he was still linked with the ruling and increasingly detested PT coalition despite being a member of the PMDB; he also turned on President Rousseff during the impeachment process and was widely accused of gaining the power of the Presidency by means of a congressional coup, if not its architect, and thus incurring the wrath of Rousseff supporters; two weeks prior to the commencement of the Games, public opinion dwindled from an initial 85% in support to two out of three Brazilians believing that the Games would do more harm than good (Associated Press, 2016); and the challenging optics associated with the Games came to a head, notably visible amongst rises in crime,

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forced displacement, and reduced state expenditure while resources were diverted to the Games completion. Despite being suspended from her powers, Rousseff still could have attended the opening ceremonies and any events, which she, with Lula, outright refused to do. In an interview with Radio France Internationale, she explained that she would not be in a “secondary position” at Temer’s side (Reuters in Brasília, 2016). It was thus that two of the Games’ biggest champions, Lula and Rousseff, were nowhere to be seen when the events finally occurred. Lula himself was implicated in the Operation Car Wash investigation and was, at the time of the 2016 Games, awaiting trial on charges of obstructing justice. Leading up to and during Rousseff’s impeachment, the response to Temer taking office by the Brazilian populace expressed the turmoil inundating the country. Temer did not attend any further Olympic events, including the closing ceremonies.

The return of machismo politics and “the Trump of the Tropics”: Lula’s wake Latin American nations have seen eight women rise to the level of President since Isabel Martínez de Perón in Argentina first achieved the office in 1974. Until Rousseff, Brazil lagged behind its counterparts and showed the nation’s patriarchal vestiges (Encarnación, 2017). Tellingly, Brazil ranks among the worst nations in the world in female representation in politics: The World Bank (2019) indicated that approximately 15% of political seats in Brazil are occupied by women, ranking 132nd behind nations such as Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Pakistan. These are indicators of a lasting patriarchal social order in Latin America generally and Brazil in particular. Male-dominated bases of political and economic power have long been held amongst the landed oligarchy, state, church, and military. In the backlash against Rousseff, she became the target and victim of the deeply rooted and historical “retro-macho politics” of Brazil. Encarnación (2017) argued that Rousseff confronted the retro-macho politics endemic to Brazil. In doing so – through the empowerment of women and people of colour – she incurred a response characterised by “swashbuckling masculinity, overt sexism, and misogyny” (Encarnación, 2017, p. 83). Undoubtedly aware of this, during her impeachment defence, she directly addressed the gendered dimensions of her ousting: “There are certain elements of machismo and misogyny in this impeachment … I have always been described as a hard woman. Yet I have never heard a man described as a hard man” (as cited in Encarnación, 2017, p. 82). In pointing out the differential gendered characterisation of her, Rousseff asserted the skewed representations of her personality and leadership style (Sosa, 2019) while refusing the need to conform to traditional notions of femininity. The physical embodiment of political and social retreat in Brazil was evident almost immediately as Temer proceeded to

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install an all-white, all-male cabinet, many of whom had been accused of corruption themselves (Fortes, 2016). Judging by the way that Rousseff was treated during her trial and the changing political scene afterward, machismo politics in Brazil had returned. Deborah Philips in Chapter 4 also explores the relationship between masculinity and populism. Drawing on Ahmed (2010; 2012), Sosa (2019) articulated how Rousseff’s Presidency, defence of her conduct, and presentation at her trial were portrayed negatively as a kind of feminist killjoy performance. During her tenure, she was seen as unwilling to play political games, engage in give-and-take political practices, or conduct business as usual in the Brazilian political system; in contrast to Lula, she also contended that she did not need to be charming to do her job. During her trial, she adopted a bureaucratic and technical presentation of facts insisting that she broke no laws, and in doing so highlighted political and institutional problems to others. Removed based on financial technicalities, her impeachment was more a vote of no-confidence on the Rousseff administration than an impeachable offense (Chalhoub et al., 2017; Encarnación, 2017; Sosa, 2019). In these ways, she refused to play the game, while exposing it; she was the obstacle to the enjoyment of the status quo. Thus, instead of political or institutional systems being recognised as problematic, Rousseff became the problem and needed to be removed. In their denial of the status quo, the anti-Rousseff bloc was being denied the spoils they sought through political means (Sosa, 2019). For several commentators (Chalhoub et al., 2017; Fortes, 2016; Encarnación, 2017; Snyder & Wolff, 2019; Sosa, 2019), her successful removal brought forward a retreat of the Left while raising serious questions of democratic processes and institutions; her removal also obscured Brazil’s broader political, social, and cultural rightward shift. As the backlash against Rousseff took on a heavily gendered and misogynist tenor it spawned the right-wing machismo populism of Jair Bolsonaro. A stunning portent of things to come was Bolsonaro’s comments during Rousseff’s initial impeachment vote in the House of Representatives. During the vote, Bolsonaro, a representative at the time, voted “yes” to impeachment and took the opportunity to remark the following: They lost in ’64. They lost now in 2016. This is for family and for the innocence of children in the classroom, which the PT never had. Against communism, for our freedom, against the court ruling of São Paulo, in memory of Coronel Carlos Alberto Bilhante Ustra, the terror of Dilma Rousseff. (Falcão, 2016) Snyder and Wolff (2019) articulated the meaning of this statement, observing that it served to link together Rousseff’s political activism with misogynist discourse. Rousseff, during her political activism in the early 1970s

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participated in armed resistance against the military dictatorship. For that participation, she was arrested and tortured. In 2014, Rousseff established The National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional Da Verdade, or CNV), which sought to officially document those arrested, tortured, or disappeared during the military dictatorship. Bolsonaro made a direct connection between the 1964 military coup that led to a 21-year dictatorship and the 2016 coup against Rousseff and the PT. Snyder and Wolff (2019, p. 94) submitted that Bolsonaro made such a connection precisely to link both coups “to a moral question of family and children’s innocence,” a frequent defence from conservative politicians, and to justify action in order to combat communism, an accusation intended to discredit the PT and Rousseff. Moreover, Bolsonaro ended his retributive commentary with a dedication to Colonel Usta, who oversaw the Departamento de Operações de Informações – Centro de Operações de Defesa Interna (Department of Information Operations – Centre for Internal Defence Operations, or DOICODI), which was a torture site between 1970 and 1974, and the same period of Rousseff’s imprisonment and torture (Fortes, 2016). In Sosa’s (2019) terms, here is Rousseff the subversive and the mother. Clear in Bolsonaro’s intent is the condemnation of progressive, leftist, activist women, who in his view and the view of the Right that he represented are a danger to the idea of family and to children. As Snyder and Wolff (2019, p. 95) phrased it: “the protagonists of these historic resistance movements [many of whom are women] became targets of scorn and vitriol during the 2016 conservative backlash.” This is the man that would go on to mobilise and be mobilised by that backlash for his own successful Presidential election, an effective continuation of the coup (Snyder & Wolff, 2019). Tapping directly into the anticorruption mantra that vilified and dislodged Rousseff and the PT, and enveloped the Olympics, Bolsonaro framed his campaign around law and order. From a relative backbencher to the Presidency, Bolsonaro escaped the corruption that plagued roughly one in three members of congress while installing himself as someone who could respond well to Brazil’s political and economic issues (e.g., economic recession, corruption, crime, and lack of strong rival candidates) (Hunter & Power, 2019). In emphasising his military service in the army under the military dictatorship, here was someone who could be seen to be credible in the problems of tackling crime, violence, and corruption. With Bolsonaro, though, came his history of racism, misogyny, and bigotry. Before he assumed the power of the Presidency in 2019 (having won the 2018 election), The Intercept magazine (Greenwald & Fishman, 2014) referred to Bolsonaro as “the most misogynistic, hateful, elected official in the democratic world.” After his first year in office, Waldron (2020) provided an extensive list to this effect: he leads the fight against climate action in Brazil by loosening environmental regulations and gutting agencies overseeing environmental enforcement; he has rolled back legal protections of LGBTQ

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+ people, raging against “gender ideology,” and once previously stated that he would rather have a dead son than a gay one; reducing police scrutiny, which has seen violence and police killings increase while expressly supporting torture for drug dealers and kidnappers; Trump-inspired attacks on the press; and culture and religious wars against progressive views. The machismo-populist Bolsonaro is perhaps best evident in his 2014 treatment of Maria do Rosário, a PT Congresswoman: after she praised the National Truth Commission, and shamed the military’s use of torture, murder, violence, and sexual abuse during the dictatorship, Bolsonaro stood and barked: “I would not rape you. You don’t merit that.” This was the second time he had said something to this effect to her, previously calling her a slut, pushing her, and telling her to cry, which is on film (Greenwald & Fishman, 2014). Moreover, he is proud of his behaviour and prominently posts his bigotry on his personal website (https://www.bolsonaro.com.br). Bolsonaro, as Greenwald and Fishman (2014) stated, “is the most extreme and repellent face of a resurgent, evangelical-driven right-wing attempt to drag the country backwards by decades, in exactly the opposite direction most other civilized countries are headed.” He has rightfully earned his moniker as “The Trump of the Tropics” (see also in this volume, Chapter 4 and Part 3: Trump Times). Encarnación (2017) wrote that retro-macho politics is on the rise in Brazil, but whether that revival is a return to a patriarchy-dominated society, or the last gasp of a dying order is yet to be determined. Left to Bolsonaro, however, the future does not bode well, as indicated by his pursuit of antidemocratic politics – expressed dictatorial desires, attempts to silence media organisations and universities critical of his administration, threatening and condoning attacks on Brazil’s indigenous communities, and most recently opening the door for legal changes legitimising state-sanctioned violence – which threaten to build the foundations of a new dictatorship (Garcia, 2019). This rightward-populist shift mars the legacy of Lula, Rousseff, the PT, and the Games; they are very much intertwined. As Tomlinson (2014, p. 149) phrased it, the “rhetorical bandwagon [of legacy] keeps rolling, with the local, the national and the global all woven together into the same formula.” Rousseff, instead of presiding over the Games and being remembered first and foremost as the first woman President in Brazil may well be remembered for the recession and scandals permeating her time in office, and possibly for the parliamentary coup against her. For the Olympics, Lula’s capacity to deliver a Games, and by extension Roususeff and the PT, that reintroduced Brazil to the world through presentation of its modernisation and progression while attending to the nation’s domestic challenges seem little more than a neopopulist illusion (Oliveira, 2006). The hope of Brazil and Rio advancing a sporting mega-event that renegotiated or challenged the political, economic, and social inequities appear to have washed away, becoming instead what Zirin (2014) referred to as a neoliberal Trojan Horse.

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Boykoff (2014) has framed the Olympics as an expression of “celebration capitalism”: that is, that hosting the Olympics, or any other global sporting mega-event for that matter, is a celebratory spectacle intended more for the economic benefit of a few than economic prosperity for the many. He suggested that such events thrive on an illusory sense of social euphoria. In the case of Rio, Lula’s social, economic, and political agendas, especially in his second term, won the hearts and minds of the poor and working class in Brazil; his charismatic populism combined with Brazil’s economic boom ushered in the requisite euphoria to win the right to host the Olympics and begin preparing for it. Unfortunately, as Lula left office PT appeal suffered, which when coupled with the economic and political challenges faced by the Rousseff administration and gendered dynamics of populism stimulated the Right. Graff, Kapur, and Walters (2019, p. 541) contended: “Everywhere you turn […] some version of right-wing populist, xenophobic, demagogic conservativism seems to be on the rise.” In Brazil, sexism and misogyny, as Sosa (2019, p. 738) wrote, “provided a framework to connect right-wing ideologies of corruption, subversion, and family values in the figure of Rousseff so as to distract from and confuse questions of popular sovereignty and the rule of law.” Contextualised within these dynamics, the 2016 Olympics demonstrated the political perils of populism and events planned to service a populist agenda. In stark contrast to celebration, the 2016 Games may well be remembered as a spectacular collective social, economic, and political wake.

Note 1 I appreciate and am thankful for the comments and discussion of early versions of this chapter at the 39th and 37th Annual Conferences of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), and at the “(Re)Making cities: Urban transformation and sport mega-events in Brazil” colloquium hosted at the University of Bath in 2016.

References Ahmed, A. 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Ahmed, S. 2010. The Promise of Happiness. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Almeida, P. R. 2009. Lula’s foreign policy: Regional and global strategies. In Love, J. L. & Baer, W. (eds.). Brazil under Lula: Economy, Politics, and Society under the WorkerPresident. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167–184. Associated Press. 2016. Poll find strong opposition among Brazilians to Rio Games. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/sports/ olympics/poll-finds-strong-opposition-among-brazilians-to-rio-games.html. Barbassa, J. 2017. Brazil’s Olympic rollercoaster. In Zimbalist, A. (ed.) Rio 2016: Olympic Myths, Hard Realities. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, pp. 35–56.

152 Bryan C. Clift Bertazzo, J. 2012. An initial survey of the Dilma Rousseff Administration in Brazil. Critical Sociology, 38(6), pp. 889–892. Bourne, R. 2008. Lula of Brazil: The Story so Far. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Boykoff, J. 2014. Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games. London: Routledge. Brainard, L. & Martinez-Diaz, L. (eds.). 2009. Brazil as an Economic Superpower? Understanding Brazil’s Changing Role in the Global Economy. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution. Burges, S. 2013. Brazil as a bridge between old and new powers? International Affairs, 89 (3), pp. 577–594. Canales, F. 2011. The Olympic Games and the production of the public realm: Mexico City 1968 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Architectural Design, 81(3), pp. 52–57. Chade, J. 2017. Stadium deals, corruption and bribery: the questions at the heart of Brazil’s Olympic and World Cup ‘miracle’. The Guardian. Available at: https:// www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/23/brazil-olympic-world-cup-corruption-bribery. Chalhoub, S., Collins, C., Llanos, M., Pachón, M., & Perry, K-K. Y. 2017. Report of the LASA fact-finding delegation on the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Latin American Studies Association, 25 April. Available at: https://lasa. international.pitt.edu/members/reports/Brazil DelegationReport-2017.pdf. Clift, B. C. & Andrews, D. L. 2012. Living Lula’s passion: the politics of Rio 2016. In Lenskyi, H. J. & Wagg, S. (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 210–229. Costa, A. C. 2010. Dilma Rousseff gets an extreme makeover. Huffington Post. Available at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dilma-rousseff-style-photos_b_802187# s214263title=April_2004. da Silva, A. L. R. & Pérez, J. O. 2019. Lula, Dilma, and Temer: The rise and fall of Braziliian Foreign Policy. Latin American Perspectives, 227 (46), pp. 169–185. de Souza, A. 2011. The politics of personality in Brazil. Journal of Democracy, 22(2), pp. 75–88. Downie, A. 2010. In Brazil, Lula’s heir prepares for power. Time. Available at: http:// content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2022661,00.html. Encarnación, O. G. 2017. The patriarchy’s revenge: how retro-macho politics doomed Dilma Rousseff. World Policy Journal, 34 (1), pp. 82–91. Falcão, M. 2016. Bolsonaro fez apologia de crime na votação do impeachment, diz OAB. Folha De S.Paulo, 17 April. Available at: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/ 2016/04/1763027-bolsonaro-fez-apologia-ao-crime-na-votacao-do-impeachment-dizoab.shtml. Fernandes, S. 2012. Dilma Rousseff and the challenge of fighting patriarchy through political representation in Brazil. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 13 (3), pp. 114–126. French, J. & Fortes, A. 2012. Nurturing hope, deepening democracy, and combating inequalities in Brazil: Lula, the workers’ party, and Dilma Rousseff’s 2010 election as president. Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, 9(1), pp. 7–28. Fortes, A. 2016. Brazil’s neoconservative offensive. NACLA Report on the Americas, 48 (3), pp. 217–220. Garcia, R. T. 2019. Bolsonaro is laying the foundations of a new dictatorship. Al Jazeera. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/bolsonaro-layingfoundations-dictatorship-191209153455904.html.

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Greenwald, G. & Fishman, A. 2014. The most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world: Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. The Intercept. Available at: https:// theintercept.com/2014/12/11/misogynistic-hateful-elected-official-democacratic-worldbrazils-jair-bolsonaro/. Goodman, J. 2009. Brazil: the global power looking for a backyard. SAIS Review, 29 (2), pp. 3–10. Graff, A., Kapur, R., & Walters, S. D. 2019. Introduction: gender and the rise of the global right. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44(3), pp. 541–560. Hanchard, M. 1999. Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Harris, J. 2005. Emerging Third World powers: China, India and Brazil. Race & Class, 46(3), pp. 7–27. Hurrell, A. 2008. Lula’s Brazil: a rising power, but going where? Current History, 107 (706), pp. 51–57. Hunter, W. & Power, T. J. 2005. Lula’s Brazil at midterm. Journal of Democracy, 16(3), pp. 127–139. Hunter, W. & Power, T. J. 2007. Rewarding Lula: executive power, social policy, and the Brazilian elections of 2006. Latin American Politics and Society, 49 (1), pp. 1–30. Hunter, W. & Power, T. J. 2019. Bolsonaro and Brazil's illiberal backlash. Journal of Democracy, 30(1), pp. 68–82. International Olympic Committee. 2008. Working Group Report. Lausanne, Switzerland. International Olympic Committee. 2009. Report of the 2016 IOC Evaluation Commission. Lausanne, Switzerland. Kampwirth, K. (ed.). 2010. Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics. University Park: Penn State Press. Laclau, E. 2005. Populism: what’s in a name? In Panizza, F. (ed.) Populism and the Mirror of Democracy. London: Verso, pp. 32–49. Maguire, J. A. 1999. Global Sport: Identities, Societies, Civilization. Cambridge: Polity Press. Matos, C. 2003. ‘Lula is pop!’: A critical analysis of a ‘celebrity’ politician. Contemporanea, 1 (1), pp. 181–203. Matos, M. & Alvarez, S. (eds.). 2018. O Feminismo Estatal Participativo Brasileiro. Porto Alegre: Editora Zouk. Morais, L. & Saad-Filho, A. 2011. Brazil beyond Lula: forging ahead or pausing for breath? Latin American Perspectives, 177 (38) 2, 31–44. Oliveira, de, F. 2006. Lula in the labyrinth. New Left Review, 42 (November/December), pp. 5–22. Pereira, C. 2011. Brazil under Dilma Rousseff: similar policy directions maintained. Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center, 21, pp. 1–25. Reichmann, R. L. (ed.). 2010. Race in Contemporary Brazil: From Indifference to Inequality. University Park, PA: Penn State Press. Reuters in Brasília. 2016. Dilma Rousseff will not attend Rio Olympics torch ceremony opening. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ 2016/jul/26/dilma-rousseff-rio-olympics-torch-ceremony-michel-temer. Roche, M. 2000. Mega-Events and Modernity: Olympics, Expos and the Growth of Global Culture. London: Routledge. Savarese, M. 2014. Winner of Brasil’s Presidential elections: Lula da Silva. Brasil Wire. Available at: https://www.brasilwire.com/winner-of-brasils-presidential-electionsis-lula-da-silva/.

154 Bryan C. Clift Senn, A. E. 1999. Power, Politics, and the Olympic Games. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers. Short, J. R. 2008. Globalization, cities and the Summer Olympics. City, 12 (3), pp. 321–340. Snyder, C. K. & Wolff, C. S. 2019. The perfect misogynist storm and the electromagnetic shape of feminism: weathering Brazil’s political crisis. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 20 (8), pp. 87–109. Sola, L. 2008. Politics, markets, and society in Lula’s Brazil. Journal of Democracy, 19 (2), pp. 31–45. Sosa, J. J. 2019. Subversive, mother, killjoy: sexism against Dilma Rousseff and the social imaginary of Brazil’s rightward turn. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44 (3), pp. 717–741. Telles, H. 2015. A Direita Vai às Ruas: o antipetismo, a corrupção e demo- cracia nos protesto antigoverno [The Right goes to the streets: Anti-PT sentiment, corruption, and democracy in the anti-government protest]. Ponto e Vírgula [Period and Comma], 19, pp. 97–125. Tomlinson, A., 2014. Olympic legacies: recurrent rhetoric and harsh realities. Contemporary Social Science, 9 (2), pp. 137–158. Tosto, M. 2005. The Meaning of Liberalism in Brazil. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. VanWynsberghe, R. & Ritchie, I. 1998. (Ir)Relevant ring: the symbolic consumption of the Olympic logo in postmodern media culture. In Rail, G. (ed.), Sport and Postmodern Times. New York: State University of New York Press, pp. 367–384. Veiga, de, P. M. & Rios, S. P. 2011. A política externa no governo Dilma Rousseff: os seis primeiros meses. Breves Cindes, 53, pp. 1–14. Waldron, T. 2020. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is the far-right authoritarian he promised he’d be. Huffington Post. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/bolsonarobrazil-authoritarian-far-right_n_5e0a3afdc5b6b5a713b24bce?ri18n=true. Watts, J. 2016. Interview: Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes: “The Olympics are a missed opportunity”. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ 2016/jul/11/rio-mayor-eduardo-paes-2016-olympics. Whitson, D. & Macintosh, D. 1993. Becoming a world-class city: Hallmark events and sport franchises in the growth strategies of western Canadian cities. Sociology of Sport Journal, 10 (3), pp. 221–240. World Bank. 2019. Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (%). The World Bank. Available at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SG.GEN.PARL.ZS. Zimbalist, A. (ed.). 2017. Rio 2016: Olympic Myths, Hard Realities. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Zirin, D. 2014. Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Struggle for Democracy. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.

Chapter 10

Populism and sports in Latin America Old and new ways of narrating the nation Pablo Alabarces

From conservative protection to popular practice In 1912, Argentine President Roque Sáenz Peña sent former President Julio Argentino Roca (1880–1886 and 1898–1904) on a diplomatic mission to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Roca took advantage of the simultaneous visit of an Argentine football (soccer) team to Brazil and accompanied the players in two friendly matches against squads from Rio de Janeiro (Carioca) and from São Paulo (Paulista); the Brazilian national team had yet to be invented. The former president had already taken the Argentine squad on a diplomatic visit in 1908: in the match between the national team and a combined Carioca-Paulista side, the Argentines won 3–2. The two new matches in 1912 were held in both Brazilian cities, allowing Paulista (who lost 6–2) to play at home in São Paulo and Carioca (who lost 4–0) in Rio de Janeiro. Evidently, the former President was also a football fan, since in 1904 he had already been the first Latin American President to attend an international football match – the 3–0 defeat of Argentine club Alumni to Southampton of England, the first international match in the history of football in Argentina and possibly the entire continent of Latin America. On the day of the second match in Rio de Janeiro, another legend was born. At the end of the first half, with goals from Ernesto Brown, Alberto Ohaco, and two from Harry Hayes, Argentina was already leading 4–0. Roca went to the Argentine changing room and asked the players to: “let themselves be beat for the homeland.” As the numbers confirm, the match ended with the same four goal difference; it is worth wondering if the political influence of Roca – military officer and politician who dominated the Argentine scene over thirty years from 1879 until his death in 1914 – was inversely proportional to his footballing influence. On the other hand, a parallel legend claims that the captain of the Argentine squad, the mythical Juan Brown, star of Alumni, responded to Roca’s request: “General, politics are politics and football is football.” Beyond the legend, the matches did actually exist, and there are photographs of Roca at Das Laranjeiras stadium alongside Brazilian

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President Marshall Hermes Rodrigues da Fonseca and Minister Manuel Ferraz de Campo Sales, the senior politicians of both nations. During the first years of the twentieth century, the presence of Latin American heads of state at sporting events was persistent: inaugurating stadiums, attending important matches, including football in school curricula, intervening to solve institutional crises within the football associations as in the simultaneous Argentine and Uruguayan cases in 1926. From the very beginning of the 20th century, and especially once the processes of popularisation were advanced, leading to football’s transformation into a mass phenomenon, politicians of every ideology and, in reality, all conservatives immersed themselves in football avatars. They imagined, suspected, or understood that popular desires had found in football a fertile field to grow, and they decided to apply the old saying panem et circenses (bread and circuses) to the (fallacious) idea that football entertainment would protect them from other risks such as strikes and rebellions. Of course, this is a field of opposing opinions, which has never settled the discussion one way or the other. A quick look at Latin American history reveals that despite the vain attempts of the political use of football to avoid or prevent, or at least impede, them, strikes and rebellions spread throughout the entire continent; even revolutions in some cases. In general, political history has not paid much attention to the greater or lesser presence of football in a society to explain the causes or consequences of political, economic, and social phenomena; no one has ever dared to affirm that some popular insurrection or protest was halted because the subjects were too busy watching Pelé’s matches. Nevertheless, the discussion regarding the political efficacy of power’s instrumentation of football “smokescreens” does concur on one thing: Latin American leaders believed and believe without a doubt that this efficacy is indisputable. The more football they offer the masses, the less these will tend toward riots or protests; the more sporting successes accredited to a politician during his term, the greater his chances to be eternalised in history, or at least in the popular memory. In other words, this relationship does not exist and it has never been verified, but the dominant groups believe in it as though it were an indisputable truth. Sporting efforts to consolidate political power are discussed in a Greek context in Chapter 6 by Jacob Bustad, in an Italian context in Chapter 7 by Simon Martin, and in Brazilian contexts by Renata Toledo and Bryan Clift in Chapters 8 and 9, respectively. It is difficult to find cases in which political attention toward sporting phenomena stems from a popular and democratic vocation, a sports policy that posits the need to expand the practice and consumption of sport simply as a popular right, for example. Perhaps, some exceptions have been the sport policies implemented during the first Argentine Peronism or, more drastically, in the case of Cuba after the 1959 Revolution, or even its Sandinista Nicaraguan imitation in 1979 (Alabarces, 2009; Sugden et al., 1990).

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Nonetheless, in each case, football was not involved. Then again, football had become a mass phenomenon very early on and, consequently, also had become a spectacle, or commodity, which national governments had very little opportunity to appropriate and even less intentions of distributing democratically. It is possible that the most noteworthy example was the very recent nationalisation of the television broadcasting rights of football in Argentina between 2009 and 2016, but even this initiative, the most notorious advance on the “private” property of the television monopoly on the continent’s football narratives, was much closer related to the Peronist government’s goal of attacking the multimedia conglomerate Clarín – the holder and beneficial owner of the broadcasting rights – than with the alleged “democratisation” they proclaimed (Alabarces, 2014). Anyway, we return to this case later. Nevertheless, even until today the presence of government leaders and state policies has accompanied the whole process we are narrating. If mere match attendance was already an indicator – Argentine President Alejo Julio Argentino Roca Paz’s presence at the fixture between Alumni and Southampton in 1904 shared, at the very least, a spectacle of his own social class put on for itself – after 1930 this would become procedure during the dictatorship of Getulio Vargas in Brazil through to the subsequent democratic government, according to German historian Stefan Rinke (Rinke, 2007). Until then, a more or less active, or merely honorary intervention, such as the presentation of an award, existed at the school or institutional level. Since the 1930s, active involvement appeared in the construction of stadiums throughout the entire continent, in some cases the property of local government. Nacional of Lima was inaugurated by the dictator Augusto Leguía as early as 1923 and re-inaugurated in 1952 by the dictator Manuel Odría. Nacional of Santiago de Chile was inaugurated by Arturo Alessandri in 1938 and re-inaugurated (for the football World Cup) by his son, also President, Jorge Alessandrini in 1962. Nonetheless, this also occurred with club stadiums: both the Monumental Stadium of River Plate (1938) and the Bombonera of Boca Juniors (1940) were constructed in the same decade. Both projects were made possible thanks to the concession of cheap loans from the national government presided by General Justo, who rose to power through the conservative fraud of that era. As a “colourful” aside, River Plate’s stadium was later remodelled and re-inaugurated in 1978 by General Jorge Rafael Videla’s dictatorial regime to be the headquarters of that year’s football World Cup. The period of Brazilian political history from 1930 until Vargas’s suicide in 1954, known as Varguism, was the first successful populism in Latin America (see also Chapter 8 this volume for further discussion of Vargas’s populism). Its significant interest in sport could only be emulated by the second great populism; Argentine Peronism between 1945 and 1955, with various returns to power (1973–1976, 1989–1999, and 2002–2015). This

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interest was manifested in the construction of stadiums like the Pacaembú in São Paulo, inaugurated in 1940, though the Maracaná was not built by Vargas but rather by his successor, Gaspar Dutra. We can also see this attention to sport in the creation of the Conselho Nacional de Desportos (National Council on Sport) in 1941, the first political institution dedicated to developing specific athletic programmes on a national level. Brazil was, until those years, a poorly integrated nation due to its geographic expanse as well as its social economic, political, and cultural disparities. Furthermore, the coverage provided by the newly founded National Radio, created by Vargas in 1936, based out of Rio de Janeiro but with a national reach, contributed to the diffusion of football across the whole country. On a wider scale, what Varguism deployed was an operation through which the great popular culture formations were captured – samba, football, carnival, capoeira. These were transformed into national symbols proposed by the central state, according to the Brazilian anthropologist, Renato Ortiz (1991). The footballing triumphs from 1938 onwards, on a continental and eventually international level, contributed to this operation: they allowed for the suppression of racial inequalities with the myth of a footballing racial democracy and aided in the fight against the “complexo de vira-lata” (an approximate translation would be “stray-dog complex”), an expression coined by journalist and dramaturge Nelson Rodrigues to label a supposed Brazilian “inferiority complex,” which would be debunked by the footballing triumphs between 1958 and 1970. The sports journalist and devout Varguist Mario Filho, a great proponent of the football World Cup in 1950, as well as the construction of the Maracaná stadium, would invent the first samba school parade at the Carioca Carnival. His journal, Mundo Esportivo (Sporting World), invented the parade in 1932 to cover the slow sporting months due to a lack of competitions. Soon after, as we know, carnivals would become one of the greatest tourist attractions of the city and another national symbol.

The first Argentine populism As analysed in Fútbol y Patria (Football and Fatherland (Alabarces, 2002)), the relationship between the Argentine State and football has been ever changing, but took off during Peronism: sporting accounts, in which plebeian heroes obtained international glory representing the “people”, were meticulously aligned with the narratives proposed by the administration of Juan Domingo Perón between 1945 and 1955. This can be observed in journalistic and cinematographic accounts. The state edited a weekly massive sporting publication, Mundo Deportivo (Sporting World), which presented the “Peronist interpretation” of sporting events not in the State’s name, but organised by the purported “climate of the times”. However, Peronism also acted on a more concrete and pedestrian level, not just in narratives. In a recent book

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on the period, Israeli historian Raanan Rein (2015) indicates that Peronism represented itself simultaneously as many things: government propaganda, of course, and attempts of social control under the cloak of “class reconciliation” that populism tried, and tries, to achieve; at the same time, Peronism proposed, as we said, the production of democratic narratives in which popular sporting heroes could represent patriotism. It also established massive athletic programmes. In the cases analysed by Rein and his collaborators, it can be clearly seen that State intervention in sport was complex. For example, during the football players’ strike in 1948, the negotiation between various actors can be seen: civil servants, key government figures – Eva Perón herself – sporting directors, labour unionists, with postures that even contradicted the official administration and were not stifled or suffocated in an authoritarian manner. Conflict resolution was far from following official expectations. Likewise, Rein’s research stems from the base that sport clubs, civil associations in Argentina, were key mediators in the organisation of the phenomenon: the analysis of different cases shows the different relationships in which the popular clubs engage with the national or provincial government, meticulously negotiating honour and benefits from the moderate to the excessive, generally in the form of loans for athletic facilities, or simply to get out of tough situations. Although a certain mythology focuses on the case of Racing Club, favoured by state credits for the building of its new stadium, named President Perón. Historical research reveals two things. On the one hand, the principal actor involved was Minister Ramón Cereijo, fanatic of Racing Club, not Perón directly. Nobody knew with complete certainty if the president was a supporter of Racing Club or Boca Juniors or if he didn’t even care for football. On the other hand, a 1947 law enabling the concession of loans to athletic institutions imitated a similar one dictated by the conservative Presidency of General Justo ten years earlier. In 1951 at Wembley stadium (London), Argentina and England played their first football match in history: the English team won 2–1, a result which the Argentines judged as a dignified defeat in which goalkeeper Miguel Rugilo was the indispensable hero (nicknamed “the Lion of Wembley”). The rematch was played two years later in Buenos Aires, and Argentina defeated the “perfidious Albion” for the first time, 3–1. This time, the hero was Ernesto Grillo who converted a goal which would be called “rioplatense” (from the River Plate region) by the euphoric sports press of the era – the characterisation alluded to the goal’s combination of surprise, dribbling, and quality, traits typical of the “estilo criollo” (“creole style”). Argentine author Osvaldo Bayer, in his script for the documentary film Fútbol Argentino (Argentine Football), asserts that he found a newspaper of the time which said: “First we nationalised the trains [Perón had done so in 1949], today we nationalise football.”

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This match was played on 14 May 1953: in its memory, the Day of the Argentine (Male) Footballer is celebrated, a new wrinkle in the nation’s unwavering local narcissism.

Military times A few years later, already into the 1960s, almost the entire subcontinent was living under military regimes, which would consolidate their power in the following decade. In 1978, only Mexico, Costa Rica, and Venezuela enjoyed democratic administrations, while Colombia was amidst a civil war. The ways in which football felt the consequences of Latin American totalitarianism were very different, but the climax can be found in the organisation of the 1978 football World Cup in Argentina. Argentina was chosen in 1966 as host of the 1978 football World Cup, twelve years earlier when there was a democratic President. When the administrators returned to Argentina, the dictator Juan Carlos Onganía was in power. The first serious steps of the organisation were taken during the democratic government of 1973, but the definitive organisation was carried out by the most infamous dictatorship in Argentine history, which began in 1976 and lasted until 1983. Argentina won its own World Cup; it was the last country-host to do so until France 1998, and since then it has not happened again. Both the organisation and the elaboration of the tournament took place in an ominous and repressive climate, which included the explicit prohibition of criticism of the national football team in the press. The stadium where the inauguration and the final were played, River Plate’s Monumental, was located 200 metres from the worst concentration camp and extermination facility of the dictatorship, the sinister Mechanical School of the Navy (ESMA). The costs of the tournament were extremely high; it was more expensive than the following tournament in Spain, even though eight fewer teams participated. The groups of political exiles in Europe moved in favour of a boycott by the European teams, accusing the military government of the disappearance and torture of dissenters, but no government or football association adhered. Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was even less inclined to boycott; at that time the governing body was led by the only Latin American to reach the presidency, Brazilian João Havelange, who explicitly supported the Argentine dictatorship; he was, after all, a recognised party member of the Brazilian dictatorship of the time. Unconvinced by the support at FIFA, in the following years, Havelange named the Argentine Carlos Lacoste, a high-ranking navy officer, as Vice President with responsibility for the organisation of the tournament. Lacoste was widely and repeatedly accused of much of the uncontrolled corruption surrounding the competition. At any rate, football was also played, with the presence of a still strong Peruvian team which would win its group, and a Brazilian squad which finished far short of the post-Pelé legacy, barely making it through to the

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second round. However, in the next round, the three Latin American teams ended up in the same group along with Poland. Peru lost to Brazil and Poland to Argentina in the first match. The second fixture saw Peru lose once again but this time against Poland, while Brazil and Argentina ended in a goalless draw. In the third match, Brazil defeated Poland 3–1 two hours before the match between Argentina and Peru, obligating the home team to win by at least four goals in order to make it to the final against Holland. As the world now knows, Argentina would go on to win 6–0. The controversy surrounding the match with Peru began significantly after the tournament. In Argentina, nobody doubted the legitimacy and legality of the triumph, though in the rest of the world, principally in the Brazilian press, the game was quickly and repeatedly classified as the product of an act of corruption, of negotiations between governments, of massive bribes. In 1979, Peruvian player Rodulfo Manzo, who had recently joined Argentine club Vélez Sarsfield, confirmed in a conversation with his new teammates that all the Peruvian players were paid bribes, except Juan José Muñante. Argentine journalist Pablo Llonto managed to obtain the testimony of Peruvian player Juan Carlos Oblitas who, in 1986, affirmed that: “Four or five Peruvian players received money” (Llonto, 2005). At the same time, Ricardo Gotta, the Argentine journalist who worked the most thoroughly on that fateful fixture, lists Manzo’s confession, suspicious calls between Argentine and Peruvian government officials, the donation of wheat (estimated at $2 million), the fluid contact between both dictatorships, and the fact that the son of Peruvian dictator Morales Bermúdez presided over the delegation (Gotta, 2008). The best interpretation of this scandal was offered by the 2003 documentary film Mundial 78: la historia paralela (World Cup 78: the parallel story), scripted by Argentine journalist Ezequiel Fernández Moores. The film was the first to affirm that the dictator Videla visited the Peruvian changing room, accompanied by none less than former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, to speak about Latin American unity and wish the athletes luck. In the documentary, Juan Carlos Oblitas does not hesitate to label the action as a kind of pressure, though he claims to be unaware of any bribes or other explicit suggestions, despite his 1986 statement to the contrary. It seems that the presence of the dictator was enough to pressure the Peruvians. It is unknown whether Videla violated the intimacy of the Argentine changing room before any of the matches, though he routinely visited the players afterwards; it seems nevertheless that his presence with the Peruvians that night functioned as a successful and suggestive manoeuvre. With or without bribes and/or grain shipments, the presence of Videla must have sufficed.

The opium of the people? Amidst the pain and the repression of the dictatorships, football sometimes functioned as a free space. Of course, this supposes the contradiction of the

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modern opium of the people hypothesis, which was popular amongst intellectual sectors at the end of the 1960s on the southern continent. According to this premise, football emerged as a kind of substitute for religion to desensitise and derange the popular conscience. Thanks to football, the public’s attention would be distracted from what was actually important – the exploitation, the totalitarianism – to be preoccupied with such banalities as the goals of Pelé or Maradona. In Latin America, this hypothesis was, systematically, tied to conservative right-wing military dictatorships, never to “populist” regimes. This theory was emphatically refuted in the early 1980s by the first scholars of sport on the continent, specifically Brazilian anthropologist Roberto Da Matta. In a compilation titled O universo do futebol (The Football Universe), Da Matta (1982) rejected this interpretation, demonstrating how the world of football facilitated a representation of the dilemmas and conflicts of Brazilian society – its injustice, its racism – and not their concealment. However, at the same time, football enabled the development of a fiction that all fans recognise as such but still enjoy: about a transitory equality, a democracy imagined on the field of play, a place where the weak can defeat the powerful, as is remarked by Allen Guttmann (1994). In this manner, the Brazilian dictatorship could celebrate the triumph of Mexico 1970 as its own while the crowds (astutely?) gave themselves up to carnivalesque celebrations, to that form of celebration which inverts hierarchies and frees bodies and souls, at least temporarily. The same could be said of the popular celebrations in Argentina in 1978: it was the only time when the streets could be occupied during the dictatorial terror, celebrating a sporting victory that did not, necessarily, include the oppressors. The mobilisations in Buenos Aires avoided Plaza de Mayo, the political centre of the nation, where popular political demonstrations were regularly held. The fans were celebrating their players, not necessarily their dictators. Undoubtedly, both dictatorships hoped to capitalise politically on the successes, but neither could prove, undoubtedly, that their goal had been achieved.

Brazil 2014: the return to the state–populist machine The situation changed with the democratic transitions at the end of the 1980s in Latin America. The same dictatorial excess of the previous decades generated certain reservations toward the use of sport. The open association of the dictatorships with football competitions and their political utilisation drove the new democratic governments to approach the relationship with caution; the actual efficacy of such political interventions was never, as previously noted, proved in terms of social behaviours. The 1990s, known as the “neoliberal” era on the entire continent, came with the arrival of conservative administrations which, nonetheless, employed right-wing neo-populist rhetoric. At any rate, the

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relationship between politics and football continued to be understood according to the myth we have already explained: the elites’ absolute confidence in football’s capacity to “distract the masses”, with absolutely no proof to confirm its efficacy. As analysed in Football and Fatherland (2002), a neo-populist rhetoric, the celebration of a presumed “national unity” of football consumers, would dominate the market – journalism, advertising, and marketing. The arrival of the new century meant the emergence in almost all of Latin America of progressive administrations, characterised as a “pink tide” among North American political scholars (such as Marc Zimmerman and Luis Ochoa Bilbao). Conservative groups decided that the most appropriate way to describe these governments was as “populists”; however, the only trait in common was in several equal-income distribution policies. The football rhetoric was not modified: it was still more market than government related. It is worth noting that the Latin American President who gave the most importance to football symbolism was the Colombian conservative Juan Manuel Santos (2010–2018), who even campaigned for the presidency wearing the national team’s jersey. This was not about a “populist”, not even close. He clashed relentlessly with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez (1999–2013), a kind of symbol of the progressive “populisms” of the continent. In that sense, a good case for analysis is the experience of the Kirchnerist administrations in Argentina (led by Néstor Kirchner and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, democratic presidents between 2003–2007 and 2007–2015, respectively). Kirchnerism had proposed a new legitimacy of traditional Peronist discourses: the old national-popular narrative, adjusted slightly to the new times, which included the condemning of the neo-liberal decade – though it was also led by a Peronist, Carlos Menem (1989–1999). This new legitimacy implied the explicit affirmation of the return of the State as a central actor in social and economic life. Although this was not completely verified – the organisation of the economy remained in large part in the hands of private corporations – the affirmation was resounding: the State had returned to fulfil the functions it should never have lost, its narrative functions included. The central role of the State as patriotic narrator in Argentine society had returned with force. Before this, football could not propose alternative discourses because it had never done so, not even in conservative times. When the figure of Diego Armando Maradona enabled a somewhat autonomous tale, it had consisted in exhibiting the continuity of the old national-popular Peronist narrative. By bringing this back to the scene, in its newly State-proposed version, as in the old and nostalgic days of the first Peronism – which continues to operate as a kind of Golden Age of modern Argentina – football could not embody any efficient national narrative again. It could barely present its survival as a commodity, controlled by the market, with commercial advertisements as the great foundation of its texts. As the meanings of the fatherland had once again returned to discussion in political contexts, football

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was left only with the empty yet grandiloquent rhetoric of its sponsors, which continued to be plagued with the clichés of patriotic sermons. The problem is that the Argentine government did the same. In 2009, the programme Fútbol para Todos (Football for All) appeared, the nationalisation of the broadcast of Argentine domestic football, which was later complemented in 2011 by Deporte para Todos (Sport for All) which established the mandate for the open transmission on public television of any sporting event involving decisive competitions for Argentine athletes. Thus, a policy of patrimonialisation of sport was presented, framing the consideration of certain intangible goods, insomuch cultural and mediatic products, as public patrimony. The Argentine government had produced a legal instrument that finally confirmed the relationship between sport and fatherland, at least as patrimony of a national-popular culture: a kind of definitive affirmation of the nationalist possibilities of sport. Nevertheless, it limited itself to produce sport – it could only produce it – as a cultural commodity, a kind of ratification that, despite democratic temptations, the dominant logic is that of a cultural industry. At this point, there is no patriotism which is more than simply merchandise. The sports that the national government incorporated as patrimony were, of course, just those with significant television audiences: the rest were not worth worrying about. In 2014, however, things got complicated. Once again, Fútbol para Todos had acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for the football World Cup in Brazil, monopolising almost the entire voice on television, at least on open access channels (the cable network TyC Sports as well as the satellite network, Direct TV, also transmitted Argentina’s matches). First, the programme presented its journalists in a formation like a football team, wearing suits but also with jerseys and football boots, singing the national anthem on a pitch while imitating the movements of players with the slogan “a football team and a team of journalists for one unique Argentine passion.” In this way, the press coverage resembled the game itself, as though representative. Let us put it this way: the journalists also went for the conquest of the Cup, which could explain why the commentaries were so unbearably patriotic, loudmouthed, xenophobic and even racist, and also homophobic. Along with the journalistic performances, State advertisements were also promulgated. As in the transmission of domestic football matches, the public broadcast prioritised the slots to promote the State’s advertisements. One politically correct advertisement condemned human trafficking at megaevents. Others banalised the State’s supposedly successful social “inclusion” programmes – obtaining a credit for a home, graduating at a new university – transforming them in goal celebrations of their beneficiaries (another now explicit turn of the screw in the footballisation of the social and political). However, the culmination was the advertisement “Nobody wins a World Cup alone,” which assimilated all the “achievements” of the Kirchner administrations with the avatars of the national team: “to win, the

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country must be united.” Journalist Horacio Verbitsky, a Kirchnerist activist, affirmed that it was a: fallacy which descended directly from the rhetoric used by the dictatorship during the 1978 World Cup and which was reiterated in the unbearable commentaries of the commentator of Argentina’s matches […] This piece constitutes an unbearable banalisation and a spurious use of serious issues (Verbitsky, 2014, p. 10)

A theoretical, as always provisional, conclusion Of course, the resemblance that Verbitsky finds with the dictatorship’s discourse is just that, a resemblance. It is not about identity. The continuity is in the desire, common to democratic and authoritarian, conservative or populist, governments, to use the supposed benefits of football to their favour: to manipulate or to transfer athletic success to political success. As we have pointed out, the dictatorship aimed for both the famous “smokescreen” and civil consensus whereas in the case of Kirchnerism, the administration attempted to tie a strong athletic performance to a national– popular narrative of an era. In the 2018 football World Cup, the new conservative administrations of Argentina and Brazil – which replaced the allegedly “populist” and progressive prior administrations – along with the already conservative governments of Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Costa Rica, employed the same nationalist rhetoric that associated athletic success with supposed or disputed national grandeur. There were no differences between them, but rather levels: the persistent use of Colombia’s national team jersey by President Santos; the systematic utilisation of football language by Argentine President Mauricio Macri; embanderamiento ceremonies such as the assignment of an official flag of the Mexican team by President Enrique Peña Nieto. All of them are conservative presidents and opponents of an alleged populism. Essentially, it involves a combination of two logics, which the literature had tended to describe as opposing or irreducible: on the one hand, the nationalpopular logic which understands the State as a machine that produces democratic meanings and, on the other hand, the neoliberal-conservative logic that trusts the market – which it calls civil society – as the only enunciator and narrator. In reality, here we see the points of contact between populism and neoliberalism: populism only adds passion, affectivity, and massiveness to what neoliberalism has already transformed into televisual merchandise. In short, even with the novelty of the patrimonialisation of televised Argentine sport – radically original in the context of Latin America, where no other government has dared to interfere with the colossal business of the networks – these

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processes can be described as another twist: the reconciliation of both political and narrative logics. Or we can suggest another definition: ultimately, they are all populists. Conservative populists or progressive populists, even when the former strongly refuse to be qualified as such; all of them propose a discourse in which sports representation implies national representation. As we have discussed here, they all firmly believe that this association means political revenue among their communities; because Latin America is a fundamentally football continent, all of them privilege football over any other sport; and they all shift women’s practices to a forgotten background, accepting that national representation is only effectively exercised by men. All of them trust, ultimately, although they cannot state it explicitly, that sport – and football specially – is the modern opium of the people. It is, in short, a populism with very little confidence in the people.

References Alabarces, P. 2002. Fútbol y Patria. El Fútbol y las Narrativas de la Nación en Argentina. Buenos Aires: Prometeo. Alabarces, P. 2009. El deporte en América Latina. Razón y Palabra, 69, julio–septiembre, pp. 1–19. Alabarces, P. 2014. Héroes, Machos y Patriotas. El Fútbol, Entre la Violencia y los Medios. Buenos Aires: Aguilar. Alabarces, P. 2018. Historia Mínima del Fútbol en América Latina. México: El Colegio de México. Bayer, O. 1990. Fútbol Argentino. Buenos Aires: Sudamericana. Da Matta, R. 1982. O Universo do Futebol: Esporte e Sociedade Brasileira. Río de Janeiro: Pinakotheke. Gotta, R. 2008. Fuimos Campeones. La Dictadura, el Mundial 78 y el Misterio del 6 a 0 a Perú. Buenos Aires: Edhasa. Guttmann, A. 1994. Games and Empires: Modern Sports and Cultural Imperialism. New York: Columbia University Press. Llonto, P. 2005. La Vergüenza de Todos. Buenos Aires: Editorial de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo. Ortiz, R. 1991. Lo actual y la modernidad. Nueva Sociedad, 116, pp. 94–101. Rein, R. 2015. La Cancha Peronista: Fútbol y Política 1946–1955. San Martín, Argentina: UNSAM. Rinke, S. 2007. ¿La última pasión verdadera? Historia del fútbol en América Latina en el contexto global. Iberoamericana, VII (27), pp. 85–100. Sugden, J., Tomlinson, A., & McCartan, E. 1990. The making and remaking of white lightning in Cuba: Politics, sport and physical education thirty years after the Revolution. Arena Review 14 (1), pp. 101–109. Verbitsky, H. 2014. Vamos, Argentina. Página, 12, 6/7/14, p. 10.

Chapter 11

Populism and political motives for hosting the FIFA World Cup Comparing England 1966 and Russia 2018 Alex G. Gillett and Kevin D. Tennent

Introduction As a popular field of endeavour, sport has always been exploitable for political capital. As modern sport emerged as a commercial enterprise open to entrepreneurs, opportunities for its exploitation by power elites increased (Hardy, 1986). Large sporting events, described as “mega-events”, involve large-scale project management of resources, often involving public infrastructure (Flyvbjerg, 2014). Flyvbjerg identifies such large projects as often risky regarding finance and reputation because they involve many players, longitudinal timescales, and finance of a scale that often requires public subsidy. He extends Frick (2008) by summarising four “sublimes” (or motives) for investing in mega-projects:   

Technological Sublime: The excitement that engineers and technologists get in pushing the envelope for what is possible in “longest-tallest-fastest” types of projects. Political Sublime: The rapture politicians get from building monuments to themselves and for their causes, and from the visibility this generates with the public and media. Economic Sublime: The delight businesspeople and trade unions get from making lots of money and jobs off mega-projects, including money made for contractors, workers in construction and transportation, consultants, bankers, investors, landowners, lawyers and developers. Aesthetic Sublime: The pleasure designers and people who love good design get from building and using something very large that is also iconic and beautiful, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.

Gillett and Tennent (2017) extend the sublimes, by asserting that the Political Sublime involves not only the politics of national and local governance, but also that of sports governing bodies such as Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). They identify these sublimes as dynamic, as opportunities present themselves to be exploited by actors, who often change in the long

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gestation process of a mega-event. The multi-faceted investment in sporting mega-events by populist figures, parties, and governments is discussed by several in this volume: Jacob Bustad discusses Greece (Chapter 6); Simon Martin discusses Italy (Chapter 7); Renata Toledo and Bryan Clift discuss Brazil (Chapters 8 and 9, respectively); and Adam Beissel and David Andrews discuss the USA (Chapter 15). This phenomenon is arguably more pronounced in representative democratic systems such as the bipartisan “first past the post” political system found in English speaking countries, which allow for the relatively frequent transfer of power between broad coalitions of political actors without violence. The USA enshrines a four-year political cycle while post-war United Kingdom (UK) saw relatively frequent general elections, often taking place before the notional five-year parliamentary term had ended. Such cyclical political systems present an opportunity for a different form of populism to those found in the authoritarian or dictatorial systems seen in Latin America or 1930s Europe (Skidmore & Smith, 2005; Merriman, 1996). Since the 1990s there has been a trend in European democratic systems of “outsider” parties starting small, apparently with views outside of the conventional spectrum. Swank and Betz (2003) relate right-wing populism to the growth of globalisation; to some extent such parties were a response to a shift in emphasis towards the “middle ground” by mainstream parties, which leaves gaps or vacuums around specific issues such as immigration or industrial planning. However, the emphasis on the middle ground can itself be viewed as a form of populism as mainstream politicians sought to consolidate their grip by capturing the Zeitgeist. For example, in the mid-1990s the leader of the British Labour Party, Tony Blair, tapped into the revival of British popular culture in the fields of music and sport under the banner of “Cool Britannia.” This revival was encouraged by England hosting the Euro ’96 football (soccer) tournament and the relative success of its team (which reached the semi-finals) stimulating reminiscence and a feel-good factor about England’s famous 1966 World Cup victory, the last time that England had hosted a major international football tournament (Tennent & Gillett, 2016). To some extent Blair was capitalising on decisions made under prior governments, for example to provide certain assurances to football’s governing bodies in exchange for hosting the tournament, and also the introduction of a National Lottery partly to provide a non-governmental funding stream for sports, heritage, arts and culture. Following the example of 1966, existing stadiums upgraded following the 1990 Taylor Report – which recommended all-seated facilities and better health and safety provision – were used to host the Euro ’96 tournament. This contributed to the re-launch of English football in the 1990s to appeal to a broad family focused, higher value and middle-class demographic (Home Office, 1990). Leveraging these policies partly helped Blair to upstage sitting Prime Minister John Major and propel himself to power in the 1997 General Election. Less successful attempts by UK

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politicians to use sport to capture the Zeitgeist have been provided by Boris Johnson, who memorably attempted to exploit World Cup mania in 2006 by appearing in a televised charity football game, then fronting London’s preparations for the 2012 Olympics by dangling from a zipwire holding two union flags. Similarly, former Prime Minister David Cameron gaffed by proclaiming his support for West Ham United when he had previously announced his support for Aston Villa (the team also supported by Prince William, and which perhaps confusingly wears similar colours to Aston Villa). Investigative journalism and academic studies indicate that politicians find it useful, or indeed necessary, to legitimise regimes by connecting them to football, the world’s pre-eminent game. In particular, the FIFA World Cup as the peak global spectacle of football has been exploited as a platform for such legitimisation efforts (Goldblatt, 2019). We now report the case of the 1966 FIFA World Cup final, held in England. Government support was awarded after England had been chosen to host the tournament, in order to achieve several political and economic objectives around boosting inward currency, and trade exports, particularly in the region, as well as showcasing the country’s national plan of infrastructure and economic development on an international stage. We then offer some contrasts with the case of Russia 2018, the most contemporary at the time of writing.

FIFA 1966 World Cup, England The 1966 FIFA World Cup came before the commercial revolution in international football that followed the election of João Havelange to the role of FIFA President in 1974 (Sugden & Tomlinson, 1998). While not a commercial event on the scale of later competitions, it was an important international event, with more than 400 million watching the final globally on television, as well as substantial attendances in the stadiums (Tennent & Gillett, 2016). This might seem low key by modern standards, but the expectation that the mundial would represent the pinnacle event of world football was already established internationally by the time England was awarded hosting rights in 1960. Interest in the tournament also grew as it progressed, playing a key role in reinforcing the iconic nature of the World Cup in the then “club and home nations” oriented world of British football fandom. Further, the World Cup was already the “product” that financially sustained the FIFA organisation, with revenue from each tournament being spread through the following four years. Chile in 1962 provided relatively lean financial returns to Zurich, and so it was imperative that 1966 was financially successful (Tennent & Gillett, 2016). The English Football Association’s (FA) initial intentions and preparations for the 1966 tournament were relatively unambitious, attracting scant

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attention from the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan and then Sir Alec Douglas-Home. The FA’s Sir Stanley Rous and England team manager Walter Winterbottom devised the initial plan for the tournament. Despite being fairly ambitious in scale and reach across the country, they did not include any budget for permanent improvements to football grounds of any sort, nor any sense that there might be much impact from the tournament beyond the football world. There was certainly no vision that the government would get involved. After the FA formally convened an organising committee in 1962, an approach to the government for support was made. However, they saw little to be gained and apart from offering moral support, proposed only to ensure that visiting teams and officials were given police escorts as they travelled around the country (Tennent & Gillett, 2016). By early 1964, the FA Secretary Denis Follows was openly admitting the FA’s financial difficulty in funding the World Cup. On the macropolitical stage, the Alec DouglasHome government, beset by scandals, was declining in popularity. At a mandatory election Harold Wilson’s Labour Party was elected with an overall majority of four seats. The World Cup was not a big election issue, but Labour would take a very different approach to the Conservatives, one that included elements of a populist pitch to the general public. The Wilson government was perhaps the first British government to incorporate sport into public policy making, seeing domestic benefits for the management of public order and juvenile delinquency, and foreign policy benefits in terms of improving UK’s image abroad, both in terms of encouraging exports and projecting soft power. The Wolfenden Committee on Sport and the Community had reported on this basis in 1960 (Green, 2006), and the Wilson government would pursue a “sport for all” agenda with the establishment of a Sports Council to administer government grants to community organisations. This fit within a broader focus on the fields of science, technology and education (Millward, 1994), as sport was considered a component of educational policy. Wilson appointed the Birmingham MP (and former Football League referee) Denis Howell as a junior minister in the Department for Education and Science with Special Responsibility for Sport. He perceived the political opportunity for the government of aligning with the World Cup. At the meeting with Wilson at which he was appointed, Howell managed to persuade Wilson to ring-fence a £500,000 subsidy to help organise the World Cup (Howell, 1990). This news was not publicised immediately, as in December an article in the left-leaning Daily Mirror (1964b) warned of “a tremendous black eye for English sport” if overseas fans ended up standing in England’s dated stadiums, but this article certainly suggests the grounds for political intervention was being prepared. Howell keenly understood the potential of the Political Sublime in megaprojects. Starting from early 1965 he managed to build a coalition of interests across Whitehall that enabled him, assisted by principal advisor Sir John

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Lang, to overcome the scepticism of the Treasury, perhaps the most institutionally powerful of government departments, as well as some opposition politicians. When he announced government funding for the tournament, Howell was able to gather support from the Foreign Office, and crucially, the Board of Trade, who welcomed the positive implications of the World Cup for visitor numbers and the balance of trade (The Times, 1965). Later in the same month Howell and Sir John toured the six proposed host stadiums, which further legitimated government intervention by encouraging media coverage focusing on the FA’s shortcomings. Perhaps demonstrating a mistrust of the FA’s establishment image, and of capitalism all at once, the leftleaning newspaper The Observer (1965) claimed the FA had delayed action as it was unable to independently finance hosting the tournament, while the wealthier Football League had done nothing despite receiving annual rights payments from the Pools Promoters Association. Although only eight stadiums were used, Howell further underlined the case for modernisation, directing government funds towards improved facilities to welcome foreign dignitaries as well as increasing the level of seating available such that each stadium had at least 18,000 seats.1 Howell and Wilson’s largesse did not come entirely free to football; the 1968 Chester Committee Report into the state of football in the UK was commissioned as a condition, although the FA and Football League largely chose to ignore its recommendations that clubs further invest in their facilities and professional structures. Preparations for the World Cup were seemingly a political success for Wilson and Howell, but not in economic terms. The Board of Trade may have lent its support in the hope of an export boost, but despite attempts by local governments to market industrial products to visiting fans through organising tours of factories and workplaces, for instance steel in Sheffield (Warwick, 2017), the visible impact on exports was slight while there was no increase in tourist numbers. To justify the expenditure on hosting tournaments to local ratepayers, local authorities and community groups organised art shows and theatre performances in attempts to generate public interest among locals and visitors, although local interest was disappointing in some cases. Many visiting fans preferred to take advantage of London’s swinging nightlife and commute to group matches by train, meaning that many of these efforts were in vain. There is even evidence to suggest the way that overseas visitors were managed, in addition to on-thefield controversies, may have had a negative impact on the UK’s political and economic image abroad (Tennent & Gillett, 2016; Tennent & Gillett, 2019; Rofe & Tomlinson, 2019). Wilson also attempted to exploit the political opportunities afforded by the England team’s performance. General cynicism during the preparation process (Daily Mirror, 1964a; Daily Mirror, 1964b) gave way to World Cup fever by the time that England won the tournament. A further innovation which contributed to excitement in the media was the introduction of a

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mascot, World Cup Willie, a character dreamed up by advertising experts and licensed to a plethora of products, from food and drink to clothing, as well as a pop song (Tennent & Gillett, 2018). This gave the impression that the World Cup was ubiquitous in everyday life, and football forced the establishment’s favoured sport, cricket, off the back page of the newspapers. England’s success brought football onto the front page too with headlines jokingly making the link to the contemporary crisis in the value of sterling, the Sunday Mirror (1966) headline quipping “Golden Boys! World Bankers Please Note: Britain’s reserves went up yesterday by one valuable gold cup”, while the London Evening Standard (1966) went with the more straightforward “England! Top of the World.” The tournament provided an excellent distraction from real problems of political economy – the escalating balance of payments crisis, exacerbated by a growing economy shifting from exports to services, was posing a real risk to a source of British political and economic power in the real world – Sterling’s status as a reserve currency. Currency values were fixed following the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, and from 1949 until 1967 the UK supported a rate of US$2.80 to the pound (Feinstein, 1994). The UK was forced into a humiliating devaluation of the currency, as Commonwealth countries converted their Sterling holdings to the US dollar. The win provided a useful cultural and image boost at a time of decolonisation and retrenchment, when the UK was finding it difficult to maintain its international prestige. Wilson returned directly from crisis summits with the US President and Canadian Prime Minister, driving straight from the airfield to attend the “dramatic” final, and the subsequent government reception (Wilson, 1971). This was followed by the broader implementation of the “sport for all policy” after 1966 (Houlihan, 1991). This victory seems to have improved the national mood sufficiently to allow the government to smooth over the announcement of a Prices and Incomes Bill which would freeze wages and prices in a number of sectors on the Thursday before the final (Daily Mirror, 1966). But it is important to remember that the victory was a short-lived euphoria: by Monday morning most people who hadn’t had to work through the weekend were back to work and “business as usual,” and football was soon relegated to the back pages of the newspapers (Tennent & Gillett, 2016; Tomlinson, 2016). The next World Cup, held in Mexico during 1970, would perhaps cause Wilson to regret attaching his government’s fortunes so closely to 1966 and the England football team. First, England captain Bobby Moore was arrested for shoplifting before the start of the tournament, which ended with the Prime Minister’s office interceding to secure Moore’s release (Prime Minister’s Office, 1970). England exited to Germany in the quarter-finals just four days before a General Election, called a year early by Wilson on the strength of a 7.5-point poll lead. Labour ended up losing to Edward Heath’s Conservatives by a majority of 31. Howell (1990) claimed in his memoirs that

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England’s defeat had soured the national mood: “The moment the goalkeeper Bonetti made his third and final hash of it on the Sunday, everything simultaneously began to go wrong for Labour for the following Thursday”. Grass roots campaigners reported that voters turned against Labour on the doorstep (Keating, 2010), and coverage of England’s defeat was one of the first stories to appear in the newspapers following a printing strike which Wilson himself had brokered a settlement to (Wilson, 1971). It is impossible to prove that England’s loss caused Labour to lose the 1970 General Election, but it seems plausible that Wilson’s decision to associate his government so closely with the national team was not totally unrelated.

FIFA 2018 World Cup, Russia We now examine Russia, which hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Goldblatt (2019) identifies football as an increasingly important tool for President Putin’s regime as the ownership of the country’s clubs has been taken over by its oligarchs and state-owned companies. He identifies how the relationship between state and football began as a “marriage of convenience” and evolved into a chance to showcase the regime to a global audience. To explain the 2018 case, it is first useful to provide some background. Economically, from the early 1990s the implementation of a market-based system had been followed by a currency collapse coupled with high inflation. To many Russians, the “new” so-called democratic and capitalist system was not suitable – even though the Russian version of capitalist democracy had been more Soviet than “Western” in its nature, with the Communist party maintaining a majority in parliament. Vladimir Putin was made President in 2000, and in contrast to his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, was perceived by many to have resisted absorption by “the West” and appealed to the populist element in the Russian vote. Putin, like Soviet era leaders, used sport tactically to support his rhetoric of Russian strength (Arjakovsky, 2017; Gorst, 2014). Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, claimed by Putin to be the world’s positive judgement on Russia, because such an event could only be organised by a global power (MacFarquhar, 2018). The host city, Sochi, was transformed at great cost (reportedly US$50 billion – the most expensive Olympics ever) from seaside resort to modern, Olympic standard sports hub to symbolise Russian progress (Gorst, 2014). However much the Sochi games appealed to sports fans and Russian voters, Western leaders including President Obama (USA) and Prime Minister Cameron (UK) resisted attending the event, “apparently in protest at the Kremlin’s suppression of human rights”, whilst other critics alleged corruption and cronyism (Gorst, 2014). Perhaps most controversially, during the period of the Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Russia flexed its military muscle (seemingly

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leveraging the global publicity brought about by the Games) to annex the Crimean Peninsula, previously an autonomous region within Ukraine (Arjakovsky, 2017). Putin’s popularity soared, rising from around 60% to 80% within the year (BBC, 2018a). In 2010, Russia had also been awarded hosting rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. England had also bid to host, represented by a number of political and sporting experts and administrators, former footballers (David Beckham) and even royalty (Prince William), as well as others with political connections, such as Lord Sebastian Coe (Gibson, 2010). After the financial cost of Sochi, its apparent use as a platform upon which to deploy military intervention, as well as subsequent introduction of laws deemed discriminatory by Western standards, there were concerns as to what might happen at a Russian World Cup (e.g., Senett, 2018). As well as speculation about foreign policy there was also concern about the geographic span of the tournament, threats of terrorism, hooliganism and security, infrastructure, racism and doping (Walker, 2016). Despite the cost, which “mushroomed from an initial estimate of around $640 million to some $11 billion” (MacFarquhar, 2018), the tournament ultimately appeared to run smoothly, with fears of political, economic or military controversies averted. Russia used the tournament to instead showcase itself in the image of an efficiently organised and peaceful destination. The extent to which the spotlight was on Russia is evidenced by some facts and figures relating to media broadcasting, attendances at the stadiums, and inward tourism. A television audience of 34.66 billion people was recorded, and although this total was 5.1% lower than the overall figure of 36.52 billion who had tuned in to the previous 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it still comprised an increase in the Asian and European audiences (FIFA, 2018a). Goldblatt (2018a) reports that in Iceland, 99.6% of viewers were watching their game with Argentina, while England’s opening game with Tunisia attracted the country’s biggest audience of the year, with six million more viewing it than did for the wedding of Prince Harry. Regarding stadium attendances for the games, FIFA (2018b) report an aggregate of 3,031,768 including spectators, hospitality, media/broadcasting, and other constituent groups. Whilst this was the lowest since the 2002 edition co-hosted between Korea Republic and Japan, it still claimed over 98% stadium occupancy, and ranks as the sixth highest of the 21 editions to date. Russians were unsurprisingly allocated the most tickets (1,175,592). England was the tenth largest market for ticket allocations (35,295 tickets). The “business” of Russia 2018 was impressive, but the legacy of the tournament was not only financial – there was also an official sustainability strategy to address social, economic and environmental concerns associated with holding a sporting mega-event,2 and to leverage a broader bottom-line (e.g., Elkington, 1999).

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There were interesting predictions for tourism relating to the event, with Russia viewed by some commentators as a sleeping giant, and the World Cup a great opportunity. Up to a million tourists were predicted during the event by market research firm Euromonitor (Gedvilas & Rowman, 2018) which also suggested a positive stimulation for incoming tourism to Russia in the following years. Magazine National Geographic (Kamenar, 2018) and UK newspaper The Independent (Calder, 2018) heralded the waiving of Russia’s usual visa requirements (replaced by special Fan IDs) and the provision of free trains between host cities and free transportation to games. By making Russia more accessible to overseas tourists, the country showcased itself to a potential larger number of international visitors than usual and generated positive public relations and political capital for the controversial Putin presidency (Calder, 2018). Apart from cheap and convenient travel infrastructure, the overall “world cup experience” was enhanced by the “FIFA Fan Fest”, which has been part of the Official Programme of the FIFA World Cup since the 2006 edition in Germany. FIFA figures state that 7.7 million visitors attended these events at Russia 2018, a significant increase on the 5.2 million fans at the 2014 edition in Brazil. These free-of-charge events enabled fans to consume televised live football as well as cultural entertainment (FIFA.com, 2018). Some commentators have been more critical in their summation of the Russian approach. Goldblatt (2018b) observed the pattern of using football for political purposes, and highlighted the economic costs involved, temporary suspension of sovereignty, and tax exemptions for FIFA that typify the hosting of a modern-day World Cup. Goldblatt (2018a) compares the Russian hosting to a form of distractive performance. Security forces tolerated “hitherto unacceptable levels of public assembly and drunkenness” in tourist zones, but on the other hand, the withdrawal of rented space for FARE’s (Football Against Racism and Extremism) Diversity House was deemed to be a “classic” example of how Russia manages it opponents. Furthermore, Goldblatt (2018a) claims the decision of the Russian government to announce that they would be raising the country’s pension age was timed to coincide with the opening of the tournament, and that the opposition leader “called for protests in 20 non-World Cup cities, where some modicum of freedom of assembly might pertain” but questioned whether they would receive due attention from the media “and if they will be policed with the same kind of laxity that the craziness around football has been receiving.” The protests were ultimately organised for after the tournament had ended, though the reforms were still passed, even with President Putin’s approval rating having declined to a level approximately the same as it had been prior to the Crimea intervention (BBC, 2018a). The sideshow comparison is further supported by Mathews (2018) writing for The Spectator, who made similar points about the World Cup acting as a distraction from deeper-rooted problems, showcasing the country “as a

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vibrant, safe and strong nation” whilst masking vast reductions in schools, hospitals, and living space declared unfit for habitation, whilst the bureaucracy has itself almost doubled in size from 1.2 million personnel to 2.2 million at the time of the article. Whilst these figures might be explained as the result of increased efficiencies and productivity, other measures suggest otherwise: “Despite years of high oil prices, Russia’s GDP remains in real terms smaller than it was in 1990. China’s economy, over the same period, has more than quadrupled; America’s has nearly doubled” (Mathews, 2018).

In conclusion: populism and the Political Sublime We have analysed government involvement (and at times, intervention), and its aims and objectives relating to two FIFA World Cup Finals – 1966 and 2018, to identify the use of the sporting mega-event as a platform to achieve a populist consensus. Thus, politicians and government agencies have viewed the FIFA World Cup as an opportunity or set of opportunities; the Political Sublime (Flyvbjerg, 2014). These opportunities can emerge or change over the duration of a mega-event project if a new politician or party gains power, or if they seek to improve their approval ratings by boosting the economy on the world stage, playing to national pride, legitimising a regime or economic/political ideology, demonstrating power to other nations, and/ or even distracting the public from other “bad” news (Gillett & Tennent, 2017) – in Chapter 9, Bryan Clift explores contextual and political shifts in Brazil during the lead up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. From the perspective of FIFA, the Political Sublime is also relevant, but with a slightly different angle: if we view FIFA as a powerful and influential institution and governing body with global reach, it is comparable to political governments in some ways. The World Cup is a means by which FIFA can extend its reach into new markets, fund its activities, and grow its power and influence. Thus, the aims and objectives of FIFA and of national governments appear to dovetail over a common ground, and arguably help to sustain each other by offering mutually beneficial opportunities. England 1966 is an example of an “Anglo Saxon” type polity, and consistent with the regularity of elections, demonstrates a turnover of leaders within the timeframe of the World Cup projects. In England, there was a shift in power from Conservative to Labour ruling parties between being awarded hosting rights in 1960 and the delivery of the tournament in 1966, and this was at the root of the Political Sublime and the Economic Sublime, as the new government identified the potential to showcase the national plan, and thus boost tourism and exports to boost the economy and to fund spending plans. Contrastingly, in Russia Putin served as either Prime Minister or President throughout the project time period. There was undoubtedly more state funding and control in Russia, whereas in England 1966 – the sum of £500,000 was unprecedented in the UK for

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sport event funding at that time – the shift in government, and with it, ideology and approach to spending money, meant that the project became less “make-do-and-mend” than it otherwise might. However, the English reused existing stadiums with relatively minor adjustments compared to Russia, and thus required relatively little additional public funding of venues or even infrastructure beyond what was already happening within the National Plan. In both cases the tournament was used to appeal to the “home” population by stimulating national pride (although this was enhanced in 1966 when England won) as well as demonstrating, or at least suggesting, something to the wider world other than just the sport spectacle. Both also used the tournament to distract from uncomfortable economic events. If, as Putin claimed, events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games are projects for advanced nations, then they do provide a platform to send a message to the world (accurately or not) of “civilisation” or at least the national capacity and capability for the various activities required to put on such an event: effective and even innovative engineering, an effective public and private sector, peaceful and fair law and order, and that it is an attractive place to visit or invest in for leisure or business, as well as richness/depth of culture and world-class hospitality. The World Cup thus offers opportunities to develop international countryof-origin effects, but also to address diplomacy, particularly post-conflict: in 1966 there were implications from the Cold War, Korean War, and Second World War, for example, the appearance of delegates, representatives, and symbolism from “North Korea,” USSR, and West Germany (Polley, 1998; Tennent & Gillett, 2016; Rofe & Tomlinson, 2019). For Russia 2018, the world waited to see how human rights would be honoured and whether there would be a repeat of the 2014 invasion of the Crimea which coincided with the Winter Olympics. The tournament went relatively smoothly, internationally, and there was no invasion (despite controversy at home about pensions). Perhaps Russia wanted to show the world a compassionate image and to challenge “foreign” perceptions of the old Soviet ways? This seems plausible, as tourism would offer route to economically (if not politically) reduce Russian dependency on oil and gas. And perhaps this was in fact more predictable than critics prior to the tournament would have it, and also consistent with the historic “iron fist is still very much in the velvet glove” (Forsyth, 1984, p. 64) or “Hard-Soft” element-of-surprise approach that has come to stereotype Russian foreign policy (Fleming, 1957, p. 46), as portrayed in Cold War popular culture/cultural discourse.

What next for research of populism and the FIFA World Cup? The projection of soft power through football mega-events is clearly another objective worthy of deeper examination. Tennent and Gillett (2019) have

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already considered some aspects of this related to the 1966 World Cup and Latin America, while more contemporary events, including Qatar 2022 and Brazil 2014 respectively, have been considered by Brannagan and Giulianotti (2018) and Grix, Brannagan and Houlihan (2015). We suggest that this topic presents an interesting way forward for the study of populism and megaprojects, as regimes attempt to legitimise themselves globally. Flyvbjerg’s (2014) Political Sublime provides a useful theoretical space for this development. Mega-projects from the Panama Canal to the Channel Tunnel are notoriously fickle, are usually subject to cost overruns, affect the interests of multiple stakeholders, and in democratic systems, often controversial because they require public funding or bailouts. Politicians may also mislead about the economic or social outcomes of such a project in order to benefit from the rapture of holding it, and in a system like that in Russia where institutions are young and flexible and thus can be bent to serve the interests of those in power some of the democratic concerns of stakeholders can be suppressed or overlooked. The FIFA World Cup has since its inception in 1930 been a project that politicians, sometimes authoritarian, have sought to gain rapture from, perhaps most notoriously the 1934 tournament in Mussolini’s Italy which aimed to boost sport, tourism and national propaganda distracting from an increasingly aggressive and expansionist foreign policy (Tennent & Gillett, 2016) – see also Simon Martin’s Chapter 7 for an extended discussion of sport and populism in Italy, including Mussolini. Later in the twentieth century, the Argentinian military junta used the 1978 tournament to distract attention from the forceful and violent suppression of opposition (Smith, 2002) – we should therefore not be surprised that more modern regimes seek to use the World Cup project to build legitimacy at home and abroad too. These cases clearly represent opportunities for future research into the Political Sublime of the World Cup and other sporting mega-events.

Notes 1 For a more detailed breakdown of how the £500,000 was spent, see Tennent and Gillett (2016), pp. 87–109. 2 See Gillett and Tennent, 2017 for a review of typical criticisms.

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180 Alex G. Gillett and Kevin D. Tennent Gillett, A. G. & Tennent, K. D. 2017. Dynamic sublimes, changing plans, and the legacy of a megaproject: the case of the 1966 Soccer World Cup. Project Management Journal, 48 (6), pp. 93–116. Goldblatt, D. 2018a. Football, the craziness and the world. Al Jazeera.com, 22 June. Available online: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/football-crazinessworld-180622094246821.html [accessed 8 September 2019]. Goldblatt, D. 2018b. The politics behind the pageantry of the World Cup. Al Jazeera. com, 15 June. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/politicspageantry-world-cup-180615114908278.html [accessed 8 September 2019]. Goldblatt, D. 2019. The Age of Football: The Global Game in the Twenty-first Century. London: Macmillan. Gorst, I. 2014. Sochi throws a spotlight on the dark side of Putin’s Russia. The Irish Times, 8 February. Available at: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/ sochi-throws-a-spotlight-on-the-dark-side-of-putin-s-russia-1.1684244 [accessed 8 September 2019]. Green, M. 2006. From ‘sport for all’ to not about ‘sport’ at all?: interrogating sport policy interventions in the United Kingdom. European Sport Management Quarterly, 6 (3), pp. 217–238. Grix, J., Brannagan, P. M., & Houlihan, B. 2015. Interrogating states’ soft power strategies: a case study of sports mega-events in Brazil and the UK. Global Society, 29 (3), pp. 463–479. Hardy, S. 1986. Entrepreneurs, organizations, and the sport marketplace: subjects in search of historians. Journal of Sport History, 13 (1), pp. 14–33. Home Office. 1990. Hillsborough Stadium Inquiry: Final Report. London: HMSO. Houlihan, B. 1991. The Government and Politics of Sport. London: Routledge. Howell, D. 1990. Made in Birmingham: The Memoirs of Denis Howell, London: Macdonald. Kamenar, S. 2018. Why I always travel to the World Cup. National Geographic Online. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/how-toworld-cup-soccer-tourism/ [accessed 7 September 2019]. Keating, F. 2010. The World Cup defeat that lost an election. The Guardian, 21 April. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2010/apr/21/world-cup1970-harold-wilso| [accessed 28 August 2019]. Lee, J. & Grohmann, K. 2019. Diplomatic gold? Joint North Korea-South Korea Olympic bid faces long odds. Reuters, 12 February. Available at: https://www.reuters. com/article/us-northkorea-southkorea-olympics-analys/diplomatic-gold-joint-northkorea-south-korea-olympic-bid-faces-long-odds-idUSKCN1Q10Y5 [accessed 11 September 2019]. London Evening Standard. 1966. England! Top of the World. London Evening Standard, 30 July, p. 1. MacFarquhar, N. 2018. Putin has a chance to woo the world. Thank soccer, and Trump. The New York Times, 13 June. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/ 06/13/world/europe/world-cup-russia-putin.html [accessed 7 September 2019]. Mathews, O. 2018. Putin’s rot. The country has been bolstered by European disunity but that obscures a multitude of ills. The Spectator, 9 June. Available online: https:// www.spectator.co.uk/2018/06/putin-says-hes-making-russia-great-again-in-reality-itscrumbling/ [accessed 7 September 2019]. McCurry, J. 2019. North and South Korea to launch joint bid to host 2032 summer Olympics. The Guardian, 12 February. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/

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sport/2019/feb/12/north-and-south-korea-to-launch-joint-bid-to-host-2032-summerolympics [accessed 9 September 2019]. Merriman, J. 1996. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Millward, R. 1994. Industrial and commercial performance since 1950. In Floud, R. & McCloskey, D. (eds). The Economic History of Britain Since 1700 (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 123–167. Polley, M. 1998. The diplomatic background to the 1966 Football World Cup. Sports Historian, 18 (2), pp. 1–18. Prime Minister’s Office. 1970. London: UK National Archives, PREM 13/3497. Rofe, J. S. & Tomlinson, A. 2019. The untold story of FIFA’s diplomacy and the 1966 World Cup: North Korea, Africa and Sir Stanley Rous. The International History Review, pp. 1–21. Online First. Senett, K. 2018. World Cup: Safety fears for gay fans heading to Russia. BBC News, 13 June. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44447115 [accessed 8 September 2019]. Skidmore, T. E. & Smith, P. H. 2005. Modern Latin America (6th ed.). New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, B. L. 2002. The Argentinian Junta and the Press in the Run-up to the 1978 World Cup. Soccer & Society, 3 (1), pp. 69–78. Sugden, J. & Tomlinson, A. 1998. FIFA and the Contest for World Football: Who Owns the People’s Game?Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 83–94. Sunday Mirror. 1966. Golden Boys! world bankers please note: Britain’s reserves went up yesterday by one valuable gold cup. Sunday Mirror, 31 July, p. 1. Swank, D. & Betz, H. G. 2003. Globalization, the welfare state and right-wing populism in Western Europe. Socio-Economic Review, 1 (2), pp. 215–245. Tennent, K. D. & Gillett, A. G. 2016. Foundations of Managing Sporting Events: Organising the 1966 FIFA World Cup. London: Routledge. Tennent, K. D. & Gillett, A. G. 2018. Opportunities for all the Team: Entrepreneurship and the 1966 and 1994 Soccer World Cups. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 35 (7–8), pp. 767–788. Tennent, K. D. & Gillett, A. G. 2019. Filip’ or flop? Managing public relations and the Latin American reaction to the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Soccer and Society. Online First. The Guardian. 2009. Barack Obama issues support for USA 2018 World Cup bid. The Guardian, 14 April. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ 2009/apr/14/barack-obama-world-cup [accessed 12 September 2019]. The Guardian. 2018. Trump takes credit for Olympics talks between North and South Korea. The Guardian, 6 January. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2018/jan/06/trump-north-south-korea-talks-olympics [accessed 11 September 2019]. The Observer. 1965. World Cup preparations: a shabby story of dithering and neglect over four years. The Observer, 28 February. Pasted into TNA T227/1567. The Times. 1965. Government aid pledged for World Cup: vital to improve facilities. The Times, 10 February, p. 5. Tomlinson, A. 2016. Stanley Rous, FIFA and the making of a World Cup. In Perryman, M. (ed.). 1966 and not all that. London: Repeater, pp. 177–196.

182 Alex G. Gillett and Kevin D. Tennent Walker, S. 2016. Russia 2018: issues facing organisers of first World Cup staged in eastern Europe. The Guardian, 12 July. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/ football/2016/jul/12/russia-2018-issues-facing-organisers-world-cup [accessed 8 September 2019]. Walker, M. 2018. United 2026 should be a ‘more financially viable’ World Cup. The Irish Independent, 14 June. Available at: https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/ world-cup-2018/fixtures-and-results/united-2026-should-be-a-more-financially-via ble-world-cup-37009681.html [accessed 11 September 2019]. Walvin, J. 1986. Football and the Decline of Britain. London: Springer. Warwick, T. 2017. Northernness, Sheffield and the 1966 World Cup: The “Steel City” on display. International Journal of Regional and Local History, 12 (2), pp. 92–106. Wilson, H. 1971. The Labour Government 1964–1970: A Personal Record. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson/Michael Joseph Ltd.

Part 3

Trump times

Chapter 12

Blue collar billionaire1 Trumpism, populism, and uber-sport David L. Andrews and Ben Carrington

Introduction Football’s become soft, football has become soft. Now I’ll be criticized for that, they’ll say, “oh isn’t that terrible”, but football’s become soft like our country has become soft [applause from the crowd]. It’s true … It’s become weak, and you know what it’s gonna affect the NFL, who, I don’t even watch it as much anymore, it’s gonna affect the NFL, I don’t watch it! The referees they want to all throw flags so their wife sees them at home “oh, there’s my husband” [crowd laughs]. It’s true, he just broke up, he just gave a 15-yard penalty on one of the most beautiful tackles made this year, right? (Donald Trump, 2016)

This short excerpt from then candidate Donald Trump’s speech to a presidential campaign rally in Reno, Nevada, United States (US), on 10 January 2016, is instructive. Trump’s nostalgic masculinism decried the “softness” of present-day American Football, and mirrored it with that of American society more generally. In stating that “football’s become soft,” Trump cited the meddling influence of experts in emasculating football. Taken as a whole, Trump’s meandering address discharged many of his campaign’s “dog whistle” sensibilities (Haney-López, 2014), designed to resonate with the “white working-class male nativist” forming the presumptive base of his support (Mudde, 2018). In order to better understand both Trump’s racially-inflected vectors of populist affect and Trumpism’s combative politicisation of ubersport 2, this chapter argues that it is necessary to consider Trump’s purposefully antagonistic and divisive populism, as a strategic response to the contingent complexities of the current conjuncture.3 Primarily as a means of courting popularity among the voting public (Katz, 2013; McDonald & King, 2012; Moore & Dewberry, 2012), most of Trump’s presidential precursors made a conscious effort to publicly engage sport in some capacity. As Nakamura (2017) notes: “sports have provided American presidents from both political parties a chance to rub elbows with–and, perhaps, gather some cultural stardust from–immensely popular figures who transcend politics.” Counterintuitively, Trump regularly wades

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into sporting issues from the vantage point of a dismayed and/or indignant fan: an angry Twitter soul disillusioned with the game, voicing displeasure at every opportunity, and lambasting those responsible for sport’s apparent demise. In this way, Trump’s combative approach to uber-sport faithfully replicates his populist politicking more generally: both being strategic responses to the identified inadequacies of the current moment. As with his condemnatory approach to the National Football League (NFL), so the “Making America Great Again” mantra infers a condition of contemporary crisis in need of resolution – the pressing need for “Making Sport Great Again” – and so points to the conjunctural nature of Trumpist politics. The swirling complexities of the current conjuncture means that Trump is “caught by forces not entirely understood or controlled, but he has learned to ‘ride’ or perform them as it were” (Grossberg, 2018, p. 9). Of these performances, perhaps most significant in shaping his campaign was the harnessing of the American Right’s amalgam of visceral antipathies – particularly those directed against the scourges of globalism, multiculturalism, and liberal progressivism – encapsulated in his frequent attacks on the imagined deleterious effects of “political correctness” on American society and culture (Chow, 2016). Propelled by this regressive logic, the Trump assemblage 4 constructed a fraught American reality, a “picture of American carnage, of American decline, even of America as a dark and dangerous place” (Grossberg, 2018, p. xi). Fabricating a series of intersecting moral panics around race, religious, gender, and political folk devils (Cohen, 1980), Trump’s is a multifaceted state of manufactured American crisis which, in a tautological sense, can only be addressed through adherence to the no-nonsense and punitive (authoritarian) Trump policy imaginary. As we argue in this chapter, Trump is thus an “emotional predator” (Grossberg, 2018, p. xi) constructing internally and externally-derived anxieties through his variant of political populism, and positioning himself as the principal (oftentimes the sole) antidote to them.

On racial populism According to Laclau (1977, p. 147), the typical features of populism include: “hostility to the status quo, mistrusts of traditional politicians, appeal to the people and not to classes, anti-intellectualism.” At the affective core of Trump’s conjuncturalism – and aligning it as an example of Laclau’s populism – is the depiction of American society as being cleaved into two distinct and antagonistic groups: “the pure people and the corrupt elite” (Mudde, 2017, p. 2). Trumpism’s schismatic populism scapegoats the various elites (i.e., political, corporate, scientific, intellectual, and academic) deemed responsible for nurturing the global, multicultural, and liberal progressive aspects of modern life purportedly reviled by the real (by inference, nonglobal, non-multicultural, and non-liberal) Americans. As the primary constituency courted by the Trump assemblage, white working-class American

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males are subject to interpellation by the manner in which they are addressed by Trump’s class, gender, and racially divisive populism (Kellner, 2017). The impossible contradiction of the “blue collar billionaire,” as Donald Trump Jr. called his father, is advanced as the saviour of those resentful for being overlooked, exploited, and/or demeaned by the current political, economic, and cultural order, and equally resentful toward those populations perceived as its beneficiaries, specifically women, people of colour, and immigrants. Driven by its blithe and enabling racism, sexism, and misogyny – in conjunction with its crass and unifying embodied masculinity (Carian & Sobotka, 2018; Gökarıksel & Smith, 2016) – Trumpism functions as a coalescing white-male dissonance machine (Page & Dittmer, 2016), tapping into, or perhaps more accurately s(t)imulating a white working-class male resentment toward the perceived loss of inalienable privilege and authority within society. In promising to “drain the swamp” (denigrating political and bureaucratic elites), advance an economic and racially protectionist “neoliberalism with borders” (denigrating global corporate and political elites), end “political correctness” (denigrating intellectual elites), and value the wisdom of “ordinary, decent people” (denigrating academic and scientific elites), Trump’s populism offers apparent solutions to the gender, racial, and national dissonance it nurtures. Furthermore, and in addition to its anti-elitism and anti-expertism, Oliver et al. (2016) contend Trump’s populism is distinctively pronationalist. In contradistinction to Bernie Sanders’ (the Independent US Senator from Vermont) internationalist and inclusionary progressive populism, Trumpism represents a “reactionary counter-modernity,” coalescing the nationalist, racist, and sexist trajectories of American conservatism around a parochial, tribal, and retributive form of “authoritarian populism” (Grossberg, 2018, pp. 14). As Jules Boykoff (in Chapter 13 of this volume) reminds us, this highlights that populism is a “shape shifting” rhetorical strategy that has no inherent ideological moorings or fixed political content. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the noted British cultural studies intellectual Stuart Hall developed the concept of “authoritarian populism,” as a way to describe the formation of a new politics derived from neoliberal revolution embedded in the politics of Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Regan in the US (Hall, 1988). Hall argued that the post-war social democratic compromise between capital and labour, the so-called “corporatist” management of capitalism, was unable to deal with the varying underlying economic and political crises of capitalism in the 1970s. In this context, the increasingly reactionary Thatcher and Reagan administrations came to rely on the coercive authority and the repressive apparatus of the state. By instigating what were widely referred to as law and order agendas, such “authoritarian populist” regimes were as much mechanisms for managing and controlling political opposition, as they were self-appointedly indispensable vehicles of social control mobilised in the face of regularly promulgated panicinducing depictions of national disintegration.

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As with earlier authoritarian populists who energised an affect-oriented conjunctural politics (Hall, 1988), much of the Trump campaign’s “intense political-cultural work” (Clarke, 2010, p. 341) involved the discursive construction of various enemies from within, and from without, that rendered his proposed punitive policies both appropriate and appealing to the suitably imperilled American public. The racially-inflected symbolic violence of Trumpism’s political strategising inferentially articulated whiteness as the valorised and normative centre of American society, by habitually demonising black and brown bodies as threats to the American (read: white) way of life, therefore creating a racialised “affective landscape” guiding the way people perceived and experience the world, and those inhabiting it (Grossberg, 2018, p. 11). As Klein noted: Most of his wrath was saved for the various racist bogeymen he conjured up: the immigrants coming to rape you, the Muslims coming to blow you up, the Black activists who don’t respect our men in uniform, and the Black president who messed everything up. (Klein, 2017, p. 85) In announcing his intention to stand for the Republican nomination for president, Trump (16 June 2015) notoriously described Mexican immigrants to the US in the following way: When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best […] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. (Donald Trump, 2015) Similarly, Trump has regularly engaged in racially-coded demonisation of black male urbanites as virulent threats to, and so enemies of, the American public. In a vein redolent of the euphemistic mobilising of the “mugger” outlined in Policing the Crisis (Hall et al., 1979), Trump notoriously and numerously referred to black urban youth as “thugs” in Tweets responding to disturbances in Baltimore prompted by the death of Freddie Gray: Wow, 15 policemen hurt in Baltimore, some badly! Where is the National Guard. Police must get tough, and fast! Thugs must be stopped. (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter, 28 April 2015) At a campaign speech to the Maryland Republican Party, Trump (23 June 2015) characterised black youth as having: Never done more poorly, there’s no spirit, there’s killings on an hourly basis virtually in places like Baltimore and Chicago and many other

Blue collar billionaire


places. There’s no spirit. I thought that President Obama would be a great cheerleader for the country. And he’s really become very divisive. (Donald Trump, 2015) The demeaning reference to Obama, a regular feature of Trump discourse, is revealing. It substantiates Ta-Nehisi Coates’s (2017, pp. 341, 344) naming of Trump as the “first white president”: A figure whose political career catalysed around the idea of redeeming the nation from the catastrophe of a black president, and driven by a need to negate his predecessor’s legacy as a “foundation of his own”. As unpalatable as Trump’s divisive racial populism may be to some, it clearly resonates with his Republican core; indicated by 500-day administration Gallup poll approval ratings of 87%, second only to George W. Bush’s 96% in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Mudde (2018) attributed this level of popular approval to low, or non-existent, expectations of politicians among Trump’s white working class base who, it was surmised, value a president who “tirelessly tries to ban non-white people (notably Central Americans and Muslims) from entering the country, introduces tariffs to allegedly protect US industries, and ‘owns the libs’ at any occasions with ‘politically incorrect’ and ‘taboo-breaking’ speeches and tweets.” Regardless of the truthfulness, or otherwise, of Trump’s populist discourse, US racial politics’ presiding affect economy routinely directs negative and punitive attitudes towards people of colour (Ioanide, 2015). So, whether targeting anonymous black or brown bodies, or Barack Obama, Trump’s predilection for “dog whistle” (Haney-López, 2014) racial demonisation/racist mobilisation, articulates the entrenched stigma and resentments circulating all too freely within the American public sphere. If not explicitly extolling a white supremacist politics, Trump realises similar ideological outcomes through blithe condemnations of racial Others, in contrast to “our people,” which – according to extant binary racial logics – at the very least infer the supremacy of whiteness. As Richard Gruneau argues (Chapter 2 of this volume), the project of defining “the people,” especially in liberal capitalist democracies, has always been a space of ideological struggle often involving the systematic exclusion of certain groups, such as the enslaved, indigenous groups, women, marginalised ethnic and racial groups, sexual minorities, and others. It is important to state that Trump has not invented these discourses, merely extended and exaggerated already existing ideological themes and tropes well embedded within the American imaginary. Whilst he undoubtedly reactivated nativist narratives, he did not create them.5 In this context, populism, as Ernesto Laclau (2018) suggests, should be understood not so much as a type of movement but as a political logic. Populism, we might say, is not a social movement “of the people” but a political and ideological struggle to discursively produce a conception of “the people” in the first place. Thus, Trumpism is engaged in the construction of a universal “popular morality”, alongside fears about Others and imagined

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threats to the national body politic. Terrorists, Mexican murderers, and rapists, fears of invasion across the southern border, and the “Chinese virus,” (etc.) are the enemy from without. Inner-city gangs and drug dealers, socialists, and the fake mainstream media, are the enemy of “the American people” from within. Absolute and binary popular ideological constructions both produce and frame the crisis: Illegal immigrant workers versus hard-working Americans; anti-American socialists versus true American patriots; terrorist sympathisers versus freedom-loving peoples; and so on. In addition to the form, the focus of his informal politicking also affirms his populist credentials, as is certainly the case with his regular forays into uber-sport themes, issues, or challenges (most often on Twitter, in press conferences, or when extemporising in speeches). The informality of Trump’s uber-sport talk – unlikely to be scripted or policy-related – provides a plausibly authentic window into his views and consciousness. Although impromptu, these public utterings should not be considered devoid of political intent. Or, to put it more succinctly, sport has become a key modality for Trump’s authoritarian populism. In the following section we explore how Trump has engaged the populist politicisation of uber-sport.

The politics of uber-sport, uber-sport as politics As previously mentioned, the antagonistic nature of Trump’s public engagement with uber-sport differentiates him from previous presidents. Concerning uber-sport, Trump’s most high profile, and indeed ongoing, public confrontation developed around the civic rights and #BlackLivesMatter protests by athletes in various sports, most significantly (in terms of cultural import and orchestrated political division) in the NFL (Boykoff & Carrington, 2019). When Colin Kaepernick, then the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began his protest on 26 August 2016, he explained his decision to sit during the national anthem as being motivated by giving a voice to those people of colour who have suffered at the hands of police violence. After the game, he explained: I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that’s not happening. […] People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. It’s something that’s not happening. (Dubin, 2016) By no means the first athlete to protest against racial injustice in the US, Kaepernick was predated by, amongst others: Ariyana Smith, the Knox

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College women’s basketball player who, in 2014, protested against the shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri; the five St. Louis Rams (Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, and Chris Given) who took to the American Football field in November 2014 showing the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose adopted by protesters against Brown’s shooting; Chicago Bull (Basketball) Derrick Rose wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt in December 2014, referencing the non-indictment of the police officer involved in the choking death of Eric Garner; and, the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Minnesota Lynx donning “Black Lives Matter” shirts during game warm-ups in 2016. Doubtless catalysed by the spread of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, such protests against police violence become not an infrequent occurrence within ubersport settings. Kaepernick’s protest – most likely due to the fact it came from a prominent figure, playing in a highly central leadership position, within a game capturing “America’s conscience, ethos, and ideology wrapped up into one violent spectacle” (Leonard, 2017, p. 53) – certainly sparked the greatest interest and response, not least from Trump. Its ramifications are also explored by Dafna Kaufman in Chapter 14 of this volume. Openly criticising what he perceived to be Kaepernick’s (and his colleagues’) blatant politicisation of sport, Trump responded in a typically confrontational and (racially) divisive fashion. For Trump, the figure of Kaepernick and increasing numbers of fellow NFL players (largely, but not exclusively, African American) protesting against police brutality (and subsequently broadening it to the racial inequities continuing to profoundly attenuate the lives of people of colour in the US) proved an irresistibly tempting target for his authoritarian racial populism. As Mark Leibovich graphically explained: It was only a matter of time before Trump served up Kaepernick, the vegan quarterback, as red meat to his base. Kaepernick was a Trumpian villain straight out of Central Casting–big ’fro, swarthy skin, and a San Francisco jersey. If Kaepernick did not exist, some ingenious Russian troll-bot would invent him. (Leibovich, 2018, p. 229) Driven by the desire for another political “win,” Trump utilised social media’s communicative immediacy and intimacy, playing upon the affective orientations and investments of his political base. Hence, he represented Kaepernick and his protesting uber-sport-ilk as unpatriotic and disrespectful enemies of the American nation: If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect … our

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Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do! (@realdonaldtrump/Twitter, 23 September 2016) Such pronouncements poured “gasoline on the fire” (Graham, 2017) of outrage that continues to circulate within the reactionary branches of talk sport radio, blogs, social, and traditional media. Jules Boykoff – in Chapter 13 of this volume – analyses in detail two “Twitterstorms” that erupted in the following two years, in which Trump traded populist attacks and exchanges with protesters and champions of Kaepernick. Of course, Trump’s ability to stir such vitriol around the anthem protests derived from the enduring legacy of the NFL’s commandeering by the overdetermining militarised nationalism since the 9/11 attacks (King, 2014; Silk, 2012). This context originated with the US’s retributive military incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan, and transitioned into what Hardt and Negri (2004, p. 7) described as “the nightmare of a perpetual and indeterminate state of war.” Within this moment, the NFL became a willing accomplice, along with corporate partners and the US Department of Defense (McCain & Flake, 2015), in weaponising the league’s established status as a crucible of contemporary American patriotism. This was realised via the normalisation of a military presence in the NFL experience, through, for example: colour guards, military airplane flyovers, various troop salutations, military-themed corporate sponsorships and giveaways, on-field military family reunions, and militarystyled uniforms. Each of the assemblages benefitted in different, yet interconnected ways, from their articulation: the NFL furthering its symbolic value as America’s Game; corporate partners benefiting from an intensified patriotic glow; and the military shoring up public support, and indeed funding, for its reinscribed centrality within American life. However, perhaps of greatest political significance was the role played by the NFL’s patriotic militarisation in forging the entrenched linkage (or articulation) between the military and the American nation: a unity, like any other – and despite all appearances and ideological/affective investments to the contrary – both non-necessary and contingent (Hall, 1996). Framed by the highly emotive nation-military articulation, any critique of the American nation becomes a mark of disrespect toward its military. Perhaps the greatest self-perpetuating myth of civic life in America is the idea that the overt displays of American patriotism that saturate its public spheres, are somehow apolitical. That is to say, America’s hyper-nationalism supposedly embodies a neutral space of identification for – to paraphrase Eric Hobsbawm (1992) – the imagined community of millions.6 In this context, “the flag” and the anthem represent the supposed exceptional qualities and values of freedom and liberty that only America truly embodies; “a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere,” as Ronald Reagan famously put it. And further, that these

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freedoms are created by the timeless wisdom of the Founding Fathers, enshrined in the Constitution and, crucially, protected by America’s oversized military, with God overseeing the whole process. Ergo, to not stand for and sing the national anthem and to not salute the flag is not only understood to be anti-American but, in a further twist of right-wing authoritarian populism, also a sign of disrespect to “the troops” and, by association, to God. (Trade unions fighting for worker’s rights, the various social movements that enabled the expansion of civil rights, and even frontline healthcare workers, are rarely, if ever, automatically associated with “American freedom” when compared to “the troops”.) Despite the fact that numerous protesting players were at pains to stress their actions were motivated by the ravages of systemic and institutionalised racism within the US, and in no way disrespectful to the members of the armed services, the linkage between the nation and the military was sufficiently entrenched within the American structure of feeling (Williams, 1977), for Trumpist logic to forcefully cast Colin Kaepernick, and other prominent protestors such as Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett, and Eric Reid, as reviled traitors of the nation and its military. Trump’s most expository and incendiary contribution to the counter politicisation of the anthem protests came in a speech in Huntsville, Alabama on 23 September 2016: Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, “That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.” And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country. […] But you know what’s hurting the game more than that [penalizing violent plays]? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium, I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway. (Donald Trump, 2016) Trump enthusiastically involved himself – and by assemblant association, his campaign, administration, and political party – in a regressive counter politicisation of the NFL anthem protest. Rooted in the post-racial meritocratic, neoliberal logics of his authoritarian populism, Trump’s re-articulation challenged the post-postracial (Landsberg, 2018) logic of the anthem protesters (and their correlative, the #BlackLivesMatter movement), that sought to re-centre issues of racial violence, discrimination, and inequity within the

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NFL-attuned national imaginary. Speaking directly to the perceived vulnerabilities of his white working-class male base, Trumpism’s reactionary counter politicisation of the anthem protests, and protesters, belittled their First Amendment rights, dismissed the relevance of black politics and voices, and diminished the value of black lives and bodies, both on and off the field. We are arguing, then, that Trump’s engagement with uber-sport should be understood as a form of hegemonic cultural politics through the popular. To reiterate, sport has without doubt become a key modality for Trump’s authoritarian populism. From this perspective it is vital that we map the ideological struggle taking place over and through the popular. Discussing sports is not an avoidance of politics, it is politics: that is to say, the political fusion of culture and identity (“our flag”; “our great national anthem”) in the cause of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Trumpism is ideology at work, attempting to achieve and secure a common-sense way of looking at the world. It is the politics of the alt-right, and the mobilisation of white identity. It is the politics of white supremacy embedded within nationalism. It is the politics of white male victimhood as expressed through authoritarian populism. It is the politics of class anxiety shrouded in the rhetoric of antiglobalist paranoia and other, equally contrived, threats from abroad.

Incredible white patriots As argued earlier, the political effectiveness of “authoritarian populism” revolves around the imagining of embodied threats to the nation, the articulation of which creates the perceived necessity for policies and programming attentive to the threats, yet which also fabricates an exclusive and essentialised understanding of the vulnerable populace subject to those threats (Hall, 1988). The Trump assemblage has, through formal and informal politicising channels, created its own racialised moral order of national belonging, effectively denying specific groupings (particularly those made up of black and brown bodies, whether immigrant or otherwise) unqualified access to the national culture, and unrestricted membership of the national community (Giroux, 2018). Whether referencing the need to “Build That Wall,” or the calls to stop the “Caravan,” Trump regularly uses emotive imagery and language, such as “onslaught,” “invasion,” “assault,” “surges,” “pour,” and “infest,” to cultivate popular fears and anxieties around immigration (Huber, 2016). These legitimate the imposition of evermore draconian immigration policies, whose necessity is as much political (illustrating presidential authority) as it is actual (the immigration issue exaggerated for political effect). The Trump assemblage’s preoccupation with nurturing its white base is prefigured on a tacit (re)centring of whiteness as the material-expressiveaffective core of the American nation. This is realised externally through the

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racial stigmatisation of immigrants as threats to the US, and internally through Trumpism’s pathologisation of black bodies and cultures as antithetical to the successful workings of the nation (Thangaraj et al., 2018). Trump’s ethnonational populist logic (Bonikowski, 2017) implicitly addresses the black population as an American encumbrance – a pressing source of disorder and degeneracy in need of retributive resolution – and so an affective mechanism for interpellating white resentment. Enabled by this racialised symbolic violence, the Trump regime enthusiastically advances neoliberalism’s racially punitive admixture of social welfare divestment and carceral expansion (Ioanide, 2015), further institutionalising the black population as the nation’s most existentially threatening “enemy from within” (Carrington, 2018). Having routinely castigated black athletes, both individually and collectively, particularly in uber-sports where they were statistically if not always symbolically dominant (and here one could reference American Football as opposed to basketball), Trump publicly befriended and lauded the white bastions of uber-sport. This represented part of the political-cultural work required to make, and subsequently sustain, the articulation linking, and expressing, Trumpism as a politics of white America. In one of the first academic examinations of the relationship between sport and Trumpism, Kusz (2017) examined the relationship between Trump and Tom Brady, the former New England Patriot quarterback. Their friendship first came to light when Brady was asked about the photo tweeted by a local reporter, of a red “Make America Great Again” cap in his locker. Brady’s response to questions regarding the cap stated that Trump was a friend, and one for whom he had great respect as a businessman and golf partner (Kusz, 2017). It should not be overlooked that Brady was the white embodiment of an NFL franchise widely (but erroneously) perceived as being the whitest team in the NFL; the darlings of right-wing extremist Breitbart and Alex Jones; and, considered by some an “avatar” for the president, due to their do what it takes “total winners” mentality (Borchers, 2018). As such, Trump found the Brady connection too good a political opportunity to miss. Hence, it came as no surprise when Trump involved him as the counterpoint to the game’s (and nation’s) emasculation, in his 2016 “football’s soft” presidential campaign speech in Reno, Nevada, with which we started this chapter: I mean it’s boring, although I love Tom Brady I got to tell you, I do love Tom he’s a great guy. But, but, it’s a different, you know it’s different, but it’s become soft and our country’s become soft, our country has become soft. (Donald Trump, 2016) Additionally, Trump has never been reticent in announcing his friendship with the quarterback, and admiration for the New England Patriots as a whole:

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What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots. Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B are total winners. Wow! (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter, 5 February 2017) None of this is particularly remarkable, other than the fact that Trump does not reference other NFL figures with anything like the same regularity or sentiment, thus forging a durable articulation between him, Brady, and the Patriots, which he clearly recognised as having political value. Trump even acknowledged the influence of “the Brady effect” on his 18-point victory in the 2016 Massachusetts Republic primary (Healy, 2016). Significantly, Trump frequently contrasts the “un-American” players of the NFL and the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Trump declared that he was proud of NASCAR when the owners announced that they would not allow any of their drivers to protest during the anthem, later describing the sport as one for “patriotic Americans” (Bieler, 2018). In similar vein, when the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins visited the White House in October 2017, Trump declared, “You are true, true champions and incredible patriots,” despite the fact that only 10 of the 23-player roster who won the Stanley Cup were actually Americans, the majority being a mix of Canadian, Russian, German, Swedish, Swiss, and Finnish players.7 As Zack Beauchamp, writing at Vox Sports, noted at the time: Calling an all-white assembly of mostly foreign hockey players patriots, in clear contrast to the group of African-American athletes that the president has blasted, suggests the real issue here isn’t love for America. It’s how well the athletes fit in to Trump’s vision of America – one in which black athletes shut up about racism and perform the sort of patriotic spectacle that Trump likes. (Beauchamp, 2017) In Trump’s mind, white European migrant workers could be greater American patriots than actual Americans peacefully protesting racial injustice, if those Americans happened to also be black.

Conclusion As with any articulation, there is no necessary correspondence, or indeed non-correspondence (Hall, 1985) between uber-sport and the Trump assemblage. The disarticulation of uber-sport from its currently reactionary pose and its re-articulation to and through a more progressive Leftist politics are possible; they are just difficult to imagine, let alone realise. Doubtless because of the entrenched conservatism of the uber-sport assemblage and its constitutive assemblage relations, the American Left has, generally speaking,

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been wary of engaging uber-sport as a pathway toward popularising a more progressive political vision. Yet difficulty should not make it an unworthy objective: working toward a utopian uber-sport is, surely, a challenging but necessary goal. In this context, it is important to remember that there is also, and always, a politics of resistance to this latest Trumpian form of white nationalist politics. There is a long tradition, older, in fact, than the founding of America herself as a nation state, of Native American resistance, Mexican American contestation, Asian American refusal, and African American rejection of the idea that “the flag” and the anthem represent an America free of class conflict and racial oppression. This is the reason why, as Imani Perry (2018) argues in May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was not just a song that embodied black struggles for freedom, but also an explicit acknowledgement that America’s national symbols were in fact those of white America. This important black radical tradition, that refused to assimilate to America’s dominant nationalist ideologies, and the incessant questioning of America’s false claims to exceptionality, can be seen in the varied writings and political actions of Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, to W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, through to Malcolm X, Cedric Robinson, and Angela Davis, and on to today’s black athletic protestors. As Jackie Robinson, invoking Frederick Douglass’s bold declaration that “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine”, and perhaps the most famous American icon of inclusion and assimilation, said in his 1972 autobiography, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world” (Robinson, 1995, p. xxiv). Despite these forms of black protest in and through sports, some progressives still consider the (in)significances of uber-sport to be superfluous to their socially transformative objectives. Yet, meaningful social change is an impossibility if institutions such as uber-sport – so ingrained into the materialexpressive-affective recesses of popular existence – are not included as part of a progressive political agenda. For this to be achieved, intensive politicalcultural work needs to be done to successfully de-articulate uber-sport from its current neoliberal, and authoritarian populist moorings, and, subsequently, re-articulate it to a progressive politics, as a fully emancipatory and actualising institution. This requires more politically and culturally diagnostic work that is a precondition for enabling people – both individually and collectively – to reimagine their position within and hence their “way out of these dark times” (Grossberg, 2018, pp. xiv–xv), with regards to both uber-sport and beyond. America has a long and disreputable history of pitching “incredible patriots” against resistant “sons of bitches.” What is now clearer than ever before is that the transformation of uber-sport is inextricably interconnected with

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transforming wider society. Sport has become an ideological battleground where the struggle over hegemony may well be won or lost. And for that reason alone, as we think about the possibilities for – and limitations of – a left populism, it demands our critical attention.

Notes 1 This chapter draws upon and reworks arguments first made in David L. Andrews (2019) Making Sport Great Again: The Uber-Sport Assemblage, Neoliberalism and the Trump Conjuncture, especially “Chapter 4: Trumping the Uber-Sport Assemblage” and “Chapter 5: Conclusion – How and Why to Read Uber-Sport?”, as well as Ben Carrington’s “Authoritarian Populism and Sport: Race and Nationalism in the Trump Era”, an unpublished paper presented to the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Annual conference, Vancouver, Canada, 3 November 2018. We would like to thank participants at that conference, as well as the editors of this volume, for critical feedback on the ideas contained in this chapter. 2 Uber-sport refers to the organisation, delivery, and experience of contemporary US professional sport as a multi-faceted, yet highly integrated, mass entertainment phenomenon. The uber signifies this as the superlative, and indeed idealised, form of sporting corporatisation-commecrialisation-spectacularisation-celebritisation. For more discussion of uber-sport, see Andrews (2019). 3 In Grossberg’s (2018, p. 155) terms, a conjuncture is an unstable “multidimensional context providing the conditions of possibility” for a “war of positions” between competing political factions, ideologies, and imaginaries. For Clarke (2010, p. 341), conjunctures are both overdetermined and undetermined: the former resulting from the “accumulation of tendencies, forces, antagonisms and contradictions”; the latter speaking to the indeterminacy of resolutions or outcomes to said instabilities. 4 By assemblage we mean a heterogenous coalescence, incorporating materials, symbols, persons, non-persons, spaces, values, architecture, technology, and energies (DeLanda, 2016), whose diverse components exhibit different forms of content, scale, temporality, and affectivity. 5 Just as in Thatcher’s Britain, in Trump’s America, popular ideological forces are instrumental in supporting and enabling punitive law and order measures of punishment, from anti-abortion crusades, pro-police state movements such as Blue Lives Matter, to the ubiquitous Support our Troops signs on America’s over-sized cars and trucks, to support for capital punishment, to increased deportations of the undocumented, to the mobilisation of troops at the southern border, travel bans against Muslims entering the country, to detention camps for migrants who have crossed the US border without proper documents and the splitting up of families, to raids by immigration officials in work places, mass incarceration, and so on. 6 See Eric Hobsbawm (1992). 7 By contrast, Trump disinvited the 2017 NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, to the White House, after it emerged that some of the players were having second thoughts about attending the traditional reception. After the Warriors won the 2018 championship, Trump again insisted he would not invite the team to the White House, as he also did with the 2018 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles (see Jules Boykoff, Chapter 13 of this volume).

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References Andrews, D. L. 2019. Making Sport Great Again: The Uber-Sport Assemblage, Neoliberalism and the Trump Conjuncture. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave. Beauchamp, Z. 2017. Trump congratulates mostly non-American NHL team on being “incredible patriots”. Vox, 10 October. Available at: https://www.vox.com/world/ 2017/10/10/16455140/trump-pittsburgh-penguins-2017. Bieler, D. 2018. Trump praises NASCAR for its lack of protests during national anthem, 21 May. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/ wp/2018/05/21/trump-praises-nascar-for-its-lack-of-protests-during-national-anthem/. Bonikowski, B. 2017. Ethno-nationalist populism and the mobilization of collective resentment. British Journal Sociology, 68 (S1), pp. S181–S213. Borchers, C. 2018. How the blue-state New England Patriots became an avatar for Trump. Washington Post, February. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/04/how-the-blue-state-new-england-patriots-became-an-avatarfor-trump/?utm_term=.e7d07da22ac6. Boykoff, J. & Carrington, B. 2019. Sporting Dissent: Colin Kaepernick, NFL activism, and media framing contests. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. Online First, https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690219861594. Carian, E. K. & Sobotka, T. C. 2018. Playing the Trump Card: Masculinity threat and the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 4, pp. 1–6. Carrington, B. 2018. Authoritarian Populism and Sport: Race and Nationalism in the Trump Era. Paper presented at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Annual Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Chow, K. 2016. “Politically correct”: The phrase has gone from wisdom to weapon. NPR: Code Switch – Race and Identity, Remixed, 14 December. Available from: https:// www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/12/14/505324427/politically-correct-the-phrasehas-gone-from-wisdom-to-weapon. Clarke, J. 2010. Of crises and conjunctures: The problem of the present. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 34 (4), pp. 337–354. Coates, T. N. 2017. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. New York, USA: One World. Cohen, S. 1980. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. New York, USA: St. Martin’s Press. DeLanda, M. 2016. Assemblage Theory. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. Dubin, J. 2016. Colin Kaepernick: I’ll keep sitting for anthem until meaningful change occurs. CBSSports.com, 28 August. Available at: https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/ news/colin-kaepernick-ill-keep-sitting-for-anthem-until-meaningful-change-occurs/. Giroux, H. A. 2018. The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism. New York, USA: Routledge. Gökarıksel, B. & Smith, S. 2016. “Making America great again”?: The fascist body politics of Donald Trump. Political Geography, 54, pp. 79–81. Graham, B. A. 2017. Donald Trump has just started on his aim to be the only game in town. The Guardian, 30 December Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/ blog/2017/dec/30/donald-trump-us-sport-nfl-basketball-winter-olympics-president. Grossberg, L. 2018. Under the Cover of Chaos: Trump and the Battle for the American Right. London, UK: Pluto Press.

200 David L. Andrews and Ben Carrington Hall, S. 1985. Signification, representation, ideology: Althusser and the post-structuralist debates. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 2 (2), pp. 91–114. Hall, S. 1988. The Hard Road to Renewal. London, UK: Verso. Hall, S. 1996. On postmodernism and articulation: An interview with Stuart Hall (edited by Lawrence Grossberg). In Morley, D. and Chen K. H. (eds.). Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 131–150). Hall, S., Critcher, C., Jefferson, T., Clarke, J., & Roberts, B. 1979. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and the Law and Order. London, UK: Macmillan. Haney-López, I. 2014. Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Hardt, M. & Negri, A. 2004. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. New York, USA: The Penguin Press. Healy, P. 2016. ‘Hut 1! Hut 2!’ Donald Trump Credits Tom Brady for Massachusetts Score. The New York Times, 3 March. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/politics/ first-draft/2016/03/03/hut-1-hut-2-donald-trump-credits-tom-brady-for-massachusettsscore/?_r=0. Huber, L.P. 2016. “Make America Great Again!”: Donald Trump, racist nativism and the virulent adherence to white supremacy amid U.S. demographic change. Charleston Law Review, 10, pp. 215–248. Hobsbawm, E. 1992. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Ioanide, P. 2015. The Emotional Politics of Racism: How Feelings Trump Facts in an Era of Color Blindness. Stanford, USA: Stanford University Press. Katz, J. 2013. Leading Men: Presidential Campaigns and the Politics of Manhood. Northampton, Massachusetts, USA: Interlink Books (an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc). Kellner, D. 2017. Brexit plus, whitelash and the ascendency of Donald J. Trump. Cultural Politics, 13 (2), pp. 135–149. King, S. 2014. Offensive lines: Sport-State synergy in an era of perpetual war. In Oates, T. P. & Furness, Z. (eds.). The NFL: Critical and Cultural Perspectives. Philadelphia, USA: Temple University Press, pp. 191–204. Klein, N. 2017. No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. Chicago, USA: Haymarket Books. Kusz, K. W. 2017. Trumpism, Tom Brady, and the reassertion of white supremacy in militarized post-9/11 America. In Butterworth, M. L. (ed.). Sport and Militarism: Contemporary Global Perspectives. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 229–244. Laclau, E. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism – Fascism – Populism. London, UK: New Left Books. Laclau, E. 2018. On Populist Reason. London, UK: Verso. Landsberg, A. 2018. Post-postracial America. Cultural Politics, 14 (2), pp. 198–215. Leibovich, M. 2018. Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times. New York, USA: Penguin. Leonard, D. J. 2017. Playing While White: Privilege and Power On and Off the Field. Seattle, USA: University Washington Press. McCain, J. & Flake, J. 2015. Tackling Paid Patriotism: A Joint Oversight Report. Available at: https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/freedom-on-the-web-link/tacklingpaid-patriotism-a-joint-oversight-report-pdf.

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McDonald, M. G. & King, S. 2012. A different contender? Barack Obama, the 2008 presidential campaign and the racial politics of sport. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35 (6), pp. 1023–1039. doi:10.1080/01419870.2012.66193. Moore, A. J. & Dewberry, D. 2012. The masculine image of Presidents as sporting figures: A Public Relations perspective. Sage Open, 2 (3), published online 1 July. doi:10.1177/2158244012457078. Mudde, C. 2017. The Far Right in America. London, UK: Routledge. Mudde, C. 2018. Why is Trump still so popular? He gives his base what they want. The Guardian, 29 June. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ 2018/jun/29/trump-popular-base-cas-mudde. Nakamura, D. 2017. For Trump, fighting with athletes is political sport. The Washington Post, 20 November. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ politics/for-trump-fighting-with-athletes-is-political-sport/2017/11/20/6b862fbe-ce1311e7-a1a3-0d1e45a6de3d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b1200515dfb1. Oliver, J. E., Bartels, L. M., & Rahn, W. M. 2016. Rise of the Trumpenvolk. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 667 (1), pp. 189–206. Page, S. & Dittmer, J. 2016. Donald Trump and the white-male dissonance machine. Political Geography, 54, pp. 76–78. Perry, I. 2018. May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture). Chapel, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Robinson, J. 1995. I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography. New York, NY: Ecco Press. Silk, M. 2012. The Cultural Politics of Post-9/11 American Sport: Power, Pedagogy and the Popular. New York, USA: Routledge. Thangaraj, S., Ratna, A., Burdsey, D., & Rand, E. 2018. Leisure and the racing of national populism. Leisure Studies, 37 (6), pp. 1–14. Williams, R. 1977. Marxism and Literature. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 13

A tale of two Twitterstorms The NFL, Donald Trump, and digital populism Jules Boykoff

Introduction US President Donald Trump has made a habit of logging onto Twitter to issue tweets laced with race-baiting. In August 2018, in response to an interview that basketball superstar LeBron James did with Don Lemon on CNN, Trump tapped into a well-worn racist theme of denigrating the intelligence of African Americans, writing: “LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”1 This attack was part of a pattern, both online and offline, to which the President resorted when attempting to rally the base of the Republican Party: targeting African American athletes. As former Trump White House advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman put it on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah, the President’s predilection to attack black athletes is “his favorite go-to thing” (Visser, 2018). This “favorite, go-to thing” was on full display at a rally in Alabama in September 2017, where Trump infamously exclaimed: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” In doing so, he set off an unprecedented outburst of dissent that swept across the National Football League (NFL), with numerous players taking knees while others linked arms, occasionally with sympathetic franchise owners in so-called “unity” protests (Powell, 2017). The President’s goading also galvanised a lively social-media response from black athletes who refused to be cowed by Trump’s vituperative attacks. Later, in June 2018, when numerous players on the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles stated that they had no intention to follow the custom of visiting the White House, Trump tweeted: “The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!”2 Again, Trump’s antics were met with a robust

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response on Twitter by professional athletes who disagreed with the President’s stance. In this chapter I analyse these two Twitter outbursts, tracing each for two weeks. These cases afford rich yet targeted expressions of populist rhetoric that President Trump proffered as well as populist pronouncements from athletes responding to the heated situation. I zero in on DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players’ Union as well as 11 players: Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Malcolm Jenkins, Anquan Boldin, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Kenny Stills, Brandon Marshall, Cliff Avril, Jeremy Lane, and Doug Baldwin (see Appendix A). All are African American except for Chris Long. As Amy Bass (2002, p. 3) pointed out: “The black athlete serves as one of the most visible integrated racial subjects in modern society, seen in all facets of media, cheered by millions of fans, teamed with white counterparts, and, at least on the surface, accepted.” These players were selected for their outspokenness on the issues informing the NFL protests that erupted onto the scene in August 2016 when Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers took a knee to make a stand against racialised police brutality and entrenched political and economic inequality; contextual detail on this is provided by David Andrews and Ben Carrington in Chapter 12 of this volume. Tweets from a few additional athletes responding to Trump’s attacks are peppered into the analysis. Twitter sits in a grey zone between public and counterpublic space, with Black Twitter an example of the latter (Sharma, 2013). It also provides discursive space for acts of digital populism: using social-media and other online media platforms to facilitate a flexible, mutable rhetorical strategy that can skate through newfound political-ideological terrain, deploying fresh form and content. Trump’s attacks rely on an evergreen tactic in the populist playbook: creating an us-versus-them mentality (Kazin 1998; Judis 2016; Mouffe 2018). Trump positions himself as the voice of everyday people, while anyone who challenges him is an enemy of the people, a counterfeit charlatan, so-called “fake news.” Michael Kazin (1998, p. 3, 5) argued that populism is “more an impulse than an ideology” and “a persistent yet mutable style of political rhetoric.” Meanwhile, Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe (2018, p. 82) designated populism as “a political strategy.” John Judis (2016, p. 15) argues that left-wing populism includes two elements, while right-wing populism features three. Left populists pit the people against establishment elites, while right-wing populism arrives with three elements: everyday people lining up against the entitled elite that ostensibly coddles the scapegoated group of the moment. So, for Judis (2016, p. 15), “Rightwing populism is triadic. It looks upward, but also down upon an out group.” Although some scholars trace the origins of modern-day populism to the 17th-century Diggers and Levelers (D’Eramo, 2013, pp. 5–27), most root this history in the United States (US) where the People’s Party formed in the

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1890s and where a certain can-do hue permeates. For Kazin (1998, p. 2), US populism is “a grand form of rhetorical optimism; once mobilised, there is nothing ordinary Americans cannot accomplish.” Yet, in the context of the US, populism has also become precooked teleology, a catch-all bugaboo for those proffering ideas that stray from the Overton window of mainstream politics. Globally, populism has emerged as an epithet more often levelled at the left. As Marco D’Eramo (2017, p. 132) noted: “In today’s inflated currency, prevailing uses and abuses of the term have a striking asymmetry: even genuine (neo-) fascists are rarely called such, but delicately ranked as ‘populists’, while anyone to the left of (post-) social-democracy can also be enrolled as populist, and thereby tainted with totalitarianism, in yet another demonstration that, notwithstanding myriad announcements of its demise, the prospect of socialism continues to alarm rulers rather more than fascism does.” In the US, populism appears as an equal-opportunity label, applied as a demeaning machine to both the left and right. Recently, some on the left have moved to recuperate the positive elements of the term populism and use it as a way to mobilise progressive political action. For instance, Mouffe (2018, p. 69) wrote: “According to an agonistic model of democracy, there exists a multiplicity of agonistic public spaces where one should intervene to radicalize democracy” and fight for justice. One such domain in our modern political moment is Twitter. This chapter analyses how NFL players used Twitter during the two online fracases mentioned above. Focusing on when and how populist rhetoric comes through the President’s and players’ Twitter feeds sheds light on how populist discourse works, and how it can function on various levels – from the individual to the institutional – and how it is shot through with ideology.

“Get that son of a bitch off the field right now” The first two-week period under consideration commenced on 22 September 2017 when President Trump barked “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now” during a speech in Alabama in support of Republican senatorial candidate Luther Strange. I track the Twitter discourse through to 6 October 2017, although Trump largely – though not completely – stopped focusing on the football players once it became evident that Hurricane Maria was having severe effects on Puerto Rico. Once Trump started tweeting about sports stars on 23 September 2017, 20 of the 27 tweets he issued into 25 September were on the issue. To be sure, one person’s monomaniacal behaviour is another’s laser focus. Although Trump’s grandstanding in Alabama sparked a Twitter uproar, it wasn’t until the following day, 23 September 2017, when Trump tweeted about an African American athlete. And it wasn’t a football player, but rather Stephen Curry of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) reigning champion, the Golden State Warriors. During a media-day event, Curry

A tale of two Twitterstorms


asserted that he did not plan to visit the White House, as was the custom for NBA champions under previous presidents. He said of his team: We don’t stand for basically what our president … the things that he said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right terms that we won’t stand for it. And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to. It’s not just the act of not going. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion. You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things, from [Colin] Kaepernick to what happened to [Michael] Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that we need to kind of change. And we all are trying to do what we can, using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that … I don’t think us not going to White House is going to miraculously make everything better … [but] this is my opportunity to voice that. (Bonesteel, 2017) Curry’s words hinted at cross-sport solidarity, and Trump did not take kindly to them. He tweeted: “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”3 Later, he continued to spit venom at athletes, with two quickfire tweets that implicitly portrayed athletes who refused to stand for the flag during the national anthem – which did not apply to Curry, by the way – as the disrespectful Other deserving of social scorn, and even unemployment. His tweets recalled Judis’s (2016) definition of right-wing populism, with the delineation of an ostensibly coddled scapegoat that, in the mind of the articulator, deserves the populist’s full-throated ire. Trump’s tweets structured permission to lash out at black athletes. For Andrews (2019, p. 133), his attacks were: “a vehicle of regressive racialized populism.” But Curry’s fellow NBA players took to Twitter to defend him. LeBron James, in a post retweeted more than a million times, stated:

Figure 13.1

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Figure 13.2

Drawing a line in the political sand, James outlined a common adversary – President Trump – who differentiated himself from previous presidents by breaking norms and attacking fellow citizens. The elite was identified and propped on a public stanchion for all to see and question. James’s tweet was a rare direct attack on the President. In general, NFL players took the quieter path – and perhaps the cagier one in terms of sidestepping the President’s wrath – with clear and obvious sub-tweeting. Trump went on to issue numerous tweets and retweets that tendered a right-wing populist message. In one Trump retweet of Donna Warren (@DonnaWR8), the players were labelled “entitled babies” who “need to see what real life is like.” She punctuated her comment with “Pompous brats” and in a subsequent tweet in the thread – which Trump also retweeted – she suggested boycotting the NFL. This was a theme picked up by the President himself: that kneeling players were torpedoing television ratings, and this could be exacerbated by a concerted boycott from below if everyday people disgruntled by the actions of the elite players were to take a stand. Everyday sports fans were implored by the President to criticise players who took a knee, and he praised them when they booed the principled dissident athletes. The message was that a traditional version of nation and duty were more valuable than the expression rights of athlete-activists.

Figure 13.3

A tale of two Twitterstorms


At one point, Trump inverted the actual reason for the protests – to raise awareness of police brutality and racial oppression – and made it about the anthem, which the players avidly denied. This was a perpetual discursive battle that played out over Twitter and that often inflected mainstreammedia coverage where so-called “anthem protests” were described and analysed (Boykoff & Carrington, 2019). Trump tweeted: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”4 Showing strands of Hall’s “authoritarian populism” (Davison et al., 2017), Trump highlighted traditional notions of nationalism and duty while adhering to conservative standards of heroism and authority. He often portrayed the athletes’ actions as disrespectful to everyday people who had fought in wars, hammering home his central theme that elite athletes protesting before NFL games was an affront to hard-working everyday people who just wanted to watch football without being confronted with politics or the cruel realities that the players were attempting to catapult into public consciousness. He tweeted: “Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag — we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”5 The players did not sit idly by during Trump’s Twitter strikes. They were proactive in explaining what their protests were about and why they were executing them. They persistently fended off the misguided criticism that they were disgracing the flag or disrespecting the military. DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players Association set the tone, tweeting on 23 September 2017: “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.” He also placed NFL players on the side of the people, retweeting information about the civic volunteerism that NFL players were doing as part of the Players Association’s “Community Most Valuable Player Program.” Smith also reframed the players’ outspokenness as them expressing their constitutional rights.

Figure 13.4

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Seattle Seahawks star defender Michael Bennett took issue with Trump’s “son of a bitch” verbiage, tweeting: “My mom is a beautiful lady she has never been a bitch.”6 Meanwhile, Bennett’s teammate Jeremy Lane retweeted the suggestion that Trump should vacate the office of president with celerity,7 and Eric Reid retweeted a sharp rebuke from San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York stating: “The callous and offensive comments made by the President are contradictory to what this great country stands for. Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world. The San Francisco 49ers will continue to work toward bringing communities, and those who serve them, closer together.”8 York’s final remarks chimed with the populist thrust that many players put forth in response to the President’s vituperative attacks. Eric Reid, Malcolm Jenkins, and Anquan Boldin issued nearly identical tweets imploring people to support a “Clean Slate” bill in Pennsylvania that would seal non-violent criminal records after a decade.9 Malcolm Jenkins in particular was laser-focused on ensuring that, to the greatest extent possible, the public discussion remained dialled into the primary task at hand: reforming the criminal justice system. In one tweet he wrote: “More than ever we remain committed to advocacy 4 equality & social justice 4 all! @Eagles fans Join us in locking arms 4 unity in our city!”10 In another tweet featuring four images of NFL players kneeling, locking arms, or thrusting a clenched fist into the air during the national anthem, Jenkins wrote: “Proud of @nfl & players advocating free speech, liberty & justice for all. #UNITY #PlayersCoalition.”11 In yet another tweet boosting an op-ed Jenkins penned for the Washington Post titled “What Protesting NFL Players Like Me Want to Do Next,” he stated: “This has always been about #reform.”12 An unequivocal impulse to deepen democracy informed these tweets, reminiscent of Mouffe’s definition of leftist populism. Eric Reid did his part as well, writing a powerful op-ed for the New York Times that explained what the players were protesting, and he tweeted about that essay as well, noting: “Why we decided to kneel. It was designed to be respectful.”13 He also defended Kaepernick, suggesting he was being blacklisted from the league because of his politics: “Anybody who has a basic knowledge of football knows that his unemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field,” he wrote (Reid, 2017). Reid also touted groups trying to bolster public defenders as well as veterans who supported Kaepernick. He debunked the notion that players were protesting the flag, retweeting the well-circulated meme that stated: “Saying NFL players are protesting the flag is like saying Rosa Parks was protesting bus transportation.”14 The tweet cagily rooted player protests in left populism and more particularly in the activist tradition of civil rights struggle. Numerous players

A tale of two Twitterstorms


also retweeted a Color of Change post explaining: “What is #TakeAKnee about?” There were verbal hiccups, though, as with that Color of Change post referencing: “the national anthem protest.”15 Also, Anquan Boldin issued a series of tweets that on one hand asserted: “More than ever, we remain committed to advocacy 4 equality & social justice for all. Join in locking arms 4 @nfl #UNITY”16 while, on the other hand, in a previous tweet he hyped an ad promoting corporate snacks attached to Florida State Seminoles football, a team with a racist Native mascot – “Chief Osceola” – that activists have been protesting for decades.17 But in general, players remained focused on rallying everyday people to their cause against a cruel and inhuman justice system where police were free to run amok without consistent culpability. As Eric Reid tweeted: “Let’s hold police accountable, let’s fix the bail system, let’s reform the criminal justice system.”18 Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks retweeted his team’s plea to “build a more compassionate and inclusive society” with “programs addressing equality and justice.”19 These athlete activists channelled their inner populist, who, in the words of Mouffe (2018, p. 44), is keen to forge “the nodal points of a new hegemonic social formation.” Trump’s Twitter attacks elicited an unprecedented outburst of on-field dissent across the NFL. Players on nearly every team took knees and linked arms, occasionally even alongside sympathetic team owners in what were called “unity” protests (Powell, 2017). Jarrett Bell (2017), an African American columnist for USA Today, argued that the protests: “were seemingly more of a response to the attacks from Trump’s bashing of the character of NFL players, rather than a stand for social justice.” Attuned to this critique, Eric Reid tweeted: “Unity is great. I’m all for it. Let’s be UNITED in ending systematic oppression of black and brown ppl.”20

White House bait-and-switch The second period under consideration began on 4 June 2018 when Trump publicly disinvited the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles from visiting the White House, announcing on Twitter that because of disgruntlement within their football team, the White House event to honour them was cancelled.21 This action was a prime example of what Andrews (2019, p. 120) characterised as “purposefully antagonistic and divisive populism” that is “a strategic response to the complexities of the current conjuncture.” Although this was the only tweet that Trump ever issued on the topic, he also posted two sub-tweets that alluded to teams and athletes who had visited the White House in recent months. These highlighted the racialised nature of Trump’s attacks on athletes – he frequently lashed out at African American sports stars while praising the largely white NASCAR circuit.

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Figure 13.5

Trump likely would have tweeted more on the topic, but his attention was diverted by a number of political matters including a high-profile Twitter kerfuffle with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade policy, the fervent fending off of accusations of collusion with Russia, and active stumping for Republican candidates running in congressional primary elections. Meanwhile, numerous NFL players engaged in digital populism, with some taking direct aim at the President, thereby flinging Judis’s (2016) twopronged left variant of populism that lifts the people against the powerful elite into the digital sphere. Chris Long, a player for the Philadelphia Eagles, who journalist Howard Bryant (2018, p. 235) described as “the most outspoken white male player in America, both in his solidarity with black players and his commitment to fight for an America he saw slipping away,” didn’t mince words. Long, who had donated his entire 2017 salary to education initiatives – six games’ worth for student scholarships in Charlottesville, Virginia and the final ten to improving educational equality (Associated Press, 2017) – went straight at Trump and Fox News, tweeting: “You’re complicit in PLAYING America. This is just another day at the office for you, though. Most players (and there were many players, many players …) that wanted to opt out had decided long b4 the anthem rule came down. It wasn’t discussed once in our meetings about the visit.” In other words, the Eagles’ decision not to go to the White House was in no way a response to any league rule about protesting on the field. In another tweet that same day, he took aim at Fox News coverage: “Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame. Not one Eagles player knelt for the anthem this yr. Keep carrying this water to sow division while misrepresenting Christian men. Aren’t many of your viewers … nevermind.”22 In a statement by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith that was posted by journalist Dave Zirin on Twitter, the athlete reasoned: “For me, it’s not just about politics. If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women or if I told you that

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this individual has said offensive things towards many minority groups … this individual also called my peers and my friends, SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has title of President of the United States?”23 Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins – who had long engaged in protest for racial inequality on the field and who continued to do so in the 2018 season – retweeted NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, who had suggested that President Barack Obama could step in and fire up his grill: “President Obama should invite the Eagles to his house for a barbecue.”24 This is an example of sports celebrities engaging in “norm entrepreneurialism,” whereby they attempt to openly contest and transmute social norms that bracket the boundaries of acceptable behaviour (Sunstein, 1996). This can be done by adopting an international vantage point to reframe a domestic debate (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998), by bolstering extant norms that remain under- or un-enforced, by bringing new and compelling information to the public table, or by repackaging vital information for new audiences while placing it within the brackets of normality or what Jacques Rancière (2004, p. 12) calls “the distribution of the sensible.” In this extended instance, athletes broke free from the “shut-up-andplay” stricture and engaged in public advocacy, sometimes in very specific ways around precise policies. In doing so, they challenged prevailing norms while spraying political messages to sports audiences that are often presumed to be apolitical. In general, players sidestepped addressing Trump directly and instead pressed forward with their populist message, entreating everyday people to get involved in progressive politics in general and criminal justice reform in particular. Jenkins implored his followers to deepen democracy at the capillary level by sparking tough conversations about race-related issues even if it generates discomfort. Using the hashtag #TheFightContinues, he tweeted, “It takes courage to stand up for the TRUTH even if it’s not a popular one,” adding, “We will continue to fight for impacted citizens and to give voice to those who never had one.”25 The players urged their Twitter followers to study the issues, to accumulate facts and statistics. Baldwin, for example, pointed followers – “for general education” – to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website for its information on the scourge of voter suppression.26 At the same time, Philadelphia Eagles players Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long pushed hard in favour of Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Act.27 By the end of June, they had achieved victory, with Governor signing the bill into law on 28 June 2018, thereby smoothing the path for those who have served their time and paid their social debt to reintegrate back into society. For instance, the law provided for sealing the records of those who had committed low-level offences, such as shoplifting and disorderly conduct, as long as they lived for ten years without committing a crime (Wolf, 2018).

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Figure 13.6

Amid the political push for the passage of the Clean Slate Act in Pennsylvania, Eagles player Malcom Jenkins engaged in creative, silent protest at an Eagles press event in an effort to keep the focus on issues and not personalities. Rather than answering questions from the assembled journalists, he flapped through numerous fact-filled placards one by one, laying out the issues that animated dissent in the NFL. The placard that served as a refrain read: “You’re not listening.” One featured the hashtag #ENDCASH BAIL. Another stated: “NEARLY 200,000 JUVENILES ENTER THE ADULT CRIMINAL SYSTEM EACH YEAR, MOST FOR NON-VIOLENT CRIMES #STOPSCHOOLPIPELINETOPRISON.” Other placards cast protesting players such as Baldwin, Bennett, and Boldin as “TRUE PATRIOTS.” As Adam Stites (2018) noted at SB Nation: “Without speaking Wednesday, Jenkins delivered a message that the media has spent too much time entertaining a debate about players kneeling during the anthem, and not enough time listening to the reasons for the protests or the causes NFL players have supported.” At the same time, numerous NFL players used Twitter to engage in a multi-state, fact-based, public-education campaign on prison reform issues, including cash bail and the disproportionate number of people of colour being warehoused in jails and prisons. Anquan Boldin referenced Kalief Browder, a man incarcerated for three years at Rikers Island ahead of a trial that never eventuated. His prison experience, which included 18 months in solitary confinement, took a toll on Browder, who died by suicide around two years after he was released, based on a lack of evidence. Boldin and Long put a spotlight on the importance of prosecutors and state’s attorneys, promoting “Launching Justice” events featuring public conversations with candidates for these offices in various states such as Maryland and Missouri. They did so under the new “Players Coalition” label – a small group of politically active players who eventually sat down with franchise owners and negotiated a deal to cease kneeling in exchange for an $89 million

A tale of two Twitterstorms


Figure 13.7

contribution from owners to be doled out over seven years to bankroll efforts to reform the criminal justice system. The deal created a rift between players, as I discuss below. The athletes were not limiting themselves to criminal justice issues. Michael Bennett was thinking bigger and taking action to sync his sentiments in action, pushing to end food deserts and to empower girls as an act of collective feminism.28 Bennett retweeted scholar Nathan Kalman-Lamb’s tweet that quoted the athlete-activist: “We need a frontal assault on the food deserts in poor areas. The people who run Whole Foods don’t want to build stores in these neighborhoods, unless they are ‘in transition,’ where poor people of colour are going to be forced out anyway.”

Figure 13.8

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Figure 13.9

Figure 13.10

Others stepped back to consider the bigger picture, as when Eric Reid embraced populist rhetoric to challenge the morally bankrupt, oligarchic leaders who were failing the everyday public.

Conclusion “The sports arena,” wrote sociologist Ben Carrington (2010, p. 55), “operates as an important symbolic space in the struggles of black peoples for freedom and liberty, cultural recognition and civic rights, against the ideologies and practices of white supremacy.” This chapter has explored a unique political conjuncture in which outspoken black athlete-activists used the “symbolic space” of Twitter to spar with a white-supremacist US President and to project varying forms of digital populism in virtual contestation. Expressions of populism can be found in Twitter interventions on both sides of the NFL protest debate. Trump’s Twitter thumbs enacted an “authoritarian populism” described by Stuart Hall

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(Davison et al., 2017) and others. Chantal Mouffe (2018, p. 24) has been arguing for a new brand of pugnacious, principled leftist populism that links issues in a “chain of equivalence,” and in a way, NFL players are carrying out that vision. Sometimes this transpired in direct response to President Donald Trump, whose public statements and tweets often invoked what sociologist Joe Feagin (2013, p. 3) has called “the white racial frame,” which is marked by “an overarching white worldview that encompasses a broad and persisting set of racial stereotypes, prejudices, ideologies, images, interpretations and narratives, emotions … as well as racialized inclinations to discriminate.” In response, players sometimes relied on a counter-frame that Feagin (2013, p. 21) called a “liberty-and-justice frame,” as when Jenkins named particular protesting players and wrapped them in the flag as patriots or when players pushed for reforms to the criminal justice system. Traces of the white racial frame are pervasive in this discursive battle. When Trump tried to swerve the discussion toward the national anthem and traditional right-wing populist expressions of patriotism, players used digital populism to keep their collective eye on the racial-justice prize and to deepen the practice of democracy through vamped citizen participation. Social-media have afforded modern-day athletes a direct path to becoming athlete activists through digital populism. Sociologist Harry Edwards (2017, p. 166), a prime mover in the Olympic Project for Human Rights of the 1960s, has credited technology for helping prompt a “fourth wave of athlete activism.” This follows the first wave that was grounded in the era of racial segregation, the second wave jumpstarted by civil-rights activists, and the third wave inspired by the Black Power Movement. Edwards credits the Black Lives Matter movement for helping to spur the fourth wave as well, pointing up the key idea that athletes benefit from political space carved out by political movements. In short, social movements scythe space for athleteactivist moments. We are currently living in an extended political conjuncture, where this moment of movements idea is vital. The discursive fightback expressed by NFL players harkens Grant Farred’s (2003, p. 3) “black vernacular intellectual” tradition, which is rooted in “the recognition of popular culture as a primary site of politics. The popular is the social conjuncture that marks the complicated nexus between pleasure and resistance.” For Farred (2003, p. 7), “The vernacular is the transcription of the popular (subaltern) experience into political oppositionality” as we saw in numerous tweets issued by the NFL players under consideration in this chapter. Farred (2003, pp. 12, 17) noted: “The vernacular is defined by its immersion in the language of the popular, the particularities, idiosyncrasies, and distinctness of vernacular speech; the vernacular is marked by its ability to speak popular resistance and popular culture to power,” but in addition, “Vernacularity is the discourse that encodes larger economic and political disenfranchisements […] It functions in this instance as a mode of linguistic expression, a repertoire of representation, a politics

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of being, particular to a racialized, ideologically marginalized constituency.” Athletes such as Jenkins, Reid, and Bennett conform to Farred’s description of vernacular intellectuals as “oppositional public figures who use the cultural platforms and spaces available to them, but not ordinarily accessible to their disenfranchised communities, to represent and speak in the name of their communities.” He continued: “Celebrity status, acquired in the ‘nonpolitical’ realm, empowers minority athletes to pronounce on an unexpected range of subjects in the civic domain; they are able to produce articulations for a public that far exceeds their narrow professional base – the arts or the academy or the sports arena.” Farred (2003, p. 24) described these athletes as “ideologically mobile” and thus able to nimbly pivot between the popular realm of sport and the political sphere. When Farred wrote the following passage in 2003, with figures such as Mohammad Ali in mind, he was presciently pinging the paroxysm of activism that emerged from the NFL more than a decade later: “Vernacular intellectuals intervene in the public debate about issues relevant for them and their community in a language inscribed with the history of their disenfranchisement and subjugation” (Farred, 2003, p. 24). To be sure, “black vernacular intellectuals” do not necessarily press lockstep in the same direction. Marked variation existed among the outspoken players in terms of their approach to social change, their willingness to team up with NFL plenipotentiaries, and their position on whether demanding Kaepernick get a job in the NFL should be a priority. The aforementioned Players Coalition that ran public forums on candidates for state’s attorney and public prosecutor also met privately with NFL franchise owners to cut a deal whereby they would stop kneeling if owners contributed nearly $90 million toward criminal-justice reform efforts over a seven-year period. Players were to contribute through their foundations as well. But those involved with the Players Coalition were not monochromatic. Members of the coalition disagreed sharply over whether to open a direct conduit to the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, something Malcolm Jenkins did as the self-appointed head of the group, much to the chagrin of people like Eric Reid. Reid, Long, and Bennett all believed the group should stipulate that Kaepernick be rehired and become the face of the coalition. Distrust developed between two groups: Reid and Anquan Boldin on one side and Jenkins and Russell Okung on the other. When the deal was announced publicly, Reid, Okung and others quit the coalition. Frustrations mounted that “media continued to paint Jenkins and Boldin as responsible and legitimate, and Reid and the other kneelers as unreasonable and uncompromising,” according to journalist Howard Bryant (Bryant, 2018, p. 232–237). Farred (2003, p. 6) anticipated the possibility of such incorporation by the powerful, writing that the work of black vernacular intellectuals is “susceptible to dilution, elision, misrepresentation, and, not least of all, cooptation by a dominant discourse.”

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This chapter lends credence to Judis’s (2016) distinction between a tripartite right-wing version of populism replete with a scapegoated other and a two-step left-wing populism pitting the people against a powerful, entrenched elite. Paul Gilroy (1991, p. 29) captured the inherently racial dimensions of the tale of two Twitterstorms explored here when he wrote: “The populist impulse in recent patterns of radicalization is a response to the crisis of representation. The right has created a language of nation which gains populist power from calculated ambiguities that allow it to transmit itself as a language of ‘race’.” Stuart Hall (2017, p. 81) made the key point that: “It is through its discursive operations that race gives meaning to the world, makes a certain kind of sense of the world, constructs an order of intelligibility, organizes human practices within its categories, and thus comes to acquire real effects. To grasp this discursive functioning is to understand race as a sliding signifier.” The “sliding signifier” of race was often manifest content in tweets by NFL athlete-activists and latent contents in tweets by President Trump and his acolytes. Athletes used race to rally the people toward justice while their adversaries used it to divide. Hall once noted in a conversation with the geographer Doreen Massey (Hall, 2010, p. 61) that: “Politics is often the source of a spectacle designed to divert you from what is really important.” As we have seen, athletes attempted to collectively create an inverse anti-spectacle with a populist twist that swerved us toward “what is really important.”

Notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, Twitter, 3 August 2018, 8:37 pm. Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, Twitter, 4 June 2018, 9:55 pm. Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, Twitter, 23 September 2017, 5:45 am. Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, Twitter, 24 September 2017, 4:39 am. Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, Twitter, 24 September 2017, 12:42 pm. Michael Bennett, @mosesbread72, Twitter, 23 September 2017, 2:10 pm. Jeremy Lane, @StayingInMyLane, Twitter, 23 September 2017. Jed York, @JedYork, Twitter, 23 September 2017, 2:51 pm. See Eric Reid, @EricReid_35, Twitter, 23 September 2017; Malcolm Jenkins, @MalcolmJenkins, Twitter, 25 September 2017; Anquan Boldin, @AnquanBoldin, Twitter, 27 September 2017. Malcolm Jenkins, @MalcolmJenkins, Twitter, 24 September 2017. Malcolm Jenkins, @MalcolmJenkins, Twitter, 24 September 2017. Malcolm Jenkins, @MalcolmJenkins, Twitter, 30 September 2017. Eric Reid, @EricReid_35, Twitter, 28 September 2017. Attn, @attn, Twitter, 27 September 2017. Color of Change, @ColorOfChange, Twitter, 1 October 2017. Anquan Boldin, @AnquanBoldin, Twitter, 24 September 2017. Anquan Boldin, @AnquanBoldin, Twitter, 23 September 2017. To be sure, the Florida State Seminoles received approval from the Florida Seminole Tribal Council. But the university does not have the approval of the wider Seminole Nation (Zirin 2014).

218 Jules Boykoff 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Eric Reid, @EricReid_35, Twitter, 29 September 2017. Seattle Seahawks, @Seahawks, Twitter, 29 September 2017. Eric Reid, @EricReid_35, Twitter, 29 September 2017. Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump, Twitter, 4 June 2018, 9:55 pm. Chris Long, @JOEL9ONE, Twitter, 5 June 2018. Dave Zirin, @EdgeOfSports, Twitter, 4 June 2018, 5:02 pm. Cris Carter, @CrisCarter80, Twitter, 4 June 2018, 4:40 pm. Malcolm Jenkins, @MalcolmJenkins, Twitter, 5 June 2018, 10:17 am. Doug Baldwin, @DougBaldwinJr, Twitter, 5 June 2018, 7:08 am. Chris Long, @JOEL9ONE, Twitter, 5 June 2018. Bennett Foundation, @TMBFoundation, Twitter, 16 June 2018, 11:31 am.

References Andrews, D. L. 2019. Making Sport Great Again: The Uber-Sport Assemblage, Neoliberalism, and the Trump Conjuncture. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Associated Press. 2017. Chris Long increases commitment to educational equality, will donate the rest of his 2017 salary. Associated Press, 18 October. Bass, A. 2002. Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympics and the Making of the Black Athlete. Minneapolis, USA: University of Minnesota Press. Bell, J. 2017. Proving their point: incident shows Bennett, others in NFL justified in protesting inequality. USA Today, 7 September. Bonesteel, M. 2017. President Trump says Stephen Curry’s White House invitation has been ‘withdrawn’. Washington Post, 23 September. Available at: https://www.wa shingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/09/23/president-trump-says-stephen-cur rys-white-house-invitation-has-been-withdrawn/?utm_term=.8ed8c7bdbf73. Boykoff, J. & Carrington, B. 2019. Sporting dissent: Colin Kaepernick, NFL activism, and media framing contests. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, pp. 1–21. Online First. Bryant, H. 2018. The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism. Boston, USA: Beacon Press. Carrington, B. 2010. Race, Sports, and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora. Thousand Oaks, USA: Sage. D’Eramo, M. 2017. They, the people. New Left Review, 103, pp. 129–138. D’Eramo, M. 2013. Populism and the new oligarchy. New Left Review, 82, pp. 5–27. Davison, S., Featherstone, D., Rustin, M., & Schwarz (eds.). 2017. Stuart Hall: Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays. Durham, USA: Duke University Press. Edwards, H. 2017 [1969]. The Revolt of the Black Athlete. Urbana, USA: University of Illinois Press. Farred, G. 2003. What’s My Name?: Black Vernacular Intellectuals. Minneapolis, USA: University of Minnesota Press. Feagin, J. 2013. The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and CounterFraming (2nd ed.), New York, USA: Routledge. Finnemore, M. & Sikkink, K. 1998. International norm dynamics and political change. International Organization, pp. 887–917. Gilroy, P. 1991 [1987]. ‘There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack’: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation. Chicago, USA: University of Chicago Press.

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Hall, S. 2010. Interpreting the crisis: Stuart Hall and Doreen Massey. Soundings, 44, pp. 57–71. Hall, S. 2017. The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation. Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press. Judis, J. 2016. The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics. New York, USA: Columbia Global Reports. Kazin, M. 1998 [1995]. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Mouffe, C. 2018. For a Left Populism. London and New York: Verso. Powell, M. 2017. As Trump takes on athletes, watch them rise. New York Times, 23 September. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/sports/trump-stephcurry-lebron.html. Rancière, J. 2004. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible, Trans. Gabriel Rockhill. London: Continuum. Reid, E. 2017. Why Colin Kaepernick and I decided to take a knee. New York Times, 25 September. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/colin-ka epernick-football-protests.html. Sharma, S. 2013. Black Twitter?: racial hashtags, networks and contagion. New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics, 78, pp. 46–64. Stites, A. 2018. Malcolm Jenkins uses signs, not words, in a powerful response to President Donald Trump. SB Nation, 13 June. Available at: https://www.sbnation. com/2018/6/6/17435154/malcolm-jenkins-signs-philadelphia-eagles-you-arent-listening. Sunstein, C. R. 1996. Social norms and social roles. Columbia Law Review, pp. 903–968. Visser, N. 2018. Omarosa: “There’s one way to shut Donald Trump down”. Huffington Post, 15 August. Available at: https://huffpost.com/entry/omarosa-trumptrevor-noah_n_5b73a55fe4b0182d49ae9496. Wolf, T. 2018. Governor Wolf signs Clean Slate Bill, calls for more criminal justice reform. 28 June. Available at: https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-signsclean-slate-bill-calls-for-more-criminal-justice-reform/. Zirin, D. 2014. The Florida State Seminoles: the champions of racist mascots. The Nation, 7 January. Available at: https://www.thenation.com/article/florida-state-seminoleschampions-racist-mascots/.

Appendix A: Players whose tweets are included in the analysis Anquan Boldin @AnquanBoldin Brandon Marshall @BMarshh @BMarshall Chris Long @JOEL9ONE Cliff Avril @cliffavril Colin Kaepernick @Kaepernick7 DeMaurice Smith (of the NFL Players Union) @DeSmithNFLPA Doug Baldwin @DougBaldwinJr Eric Reid @E_Reid35 Jeremy Lane @StayingInMyLane Kenny Stills @KSTiLLS Malcolm Jenkins @MalcolmJenkins Michael Bennett @mosesbread72

Chapter 14

The Gaga and the global American double articulation at Super Bowl LI Dafna Kaufman

Introduction The stadium lights were dimmed, leaving the stage in darkness. A voice filled the stadium air and media airwaves exclaiming, “The National Football league welcomes you to the Pepsi-Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI half-time show!” The camera panned to the very top of the NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. In the distance, one could see a single body atop the arena. Quickly, the camera zoomed in – Lady Gaga filled the screen. Adorned in a shining, silver bodysuit, Lady Gaga began to sing “God Bless America.” As she sang, the camera moved away from her body, showing the Houston city skyline and the appearance of stars behind her. She then shifted songs, belting out “This Land is Your Land.” As she sang these lines, the stars behind Gaga formed an abstract American flag. As the flag formed itself, Lady Gaga stopped singing and spoke the words, “One nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” She then seemingly leaped through the air and dropped slowly to the performance stage. Fireworks and lights greeted her as she landed within a tall, steel contraption atop the stage. With this, Lady Gaga began a musical medley of her top singles, “Poker Face,” “Born this Way,” “Telephone,” “Just Dance,” “Million Reasons,” and finally “Bad Romance.”

Lady Gaga’s performance at the half-time of the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl LI (2017) – particularly her introductory use of patriotic American anthems – exemplified her mastery of double articulation, straddling the line between theatrical presentation and political statement. Her performance choices created a Super Bowl presentation that could be read as neither clearly political nor apolitical. Rather, her performance and her choices are most plausibly viewed polysemically. Through a communicative strategy based upon extravagant gesture, Lady Gaga conveyed a message that could easily be understood as reflexively patriotic by one audience but could just as easily be understood as subversive by another. Using John Fiske’s notion of excess as hyperbole and Stuart Hall’s remarks on American culture, I illustrate the classically American double articulation of Lady Gaga’s performance, particularly as a part of the allegedly apolitical sports media

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event of the year – The Super Bowl. Through an examination of Lady Gaga’s introduction to her Super Bowl performance, consideration is also given to whether such tactical ambiguity truly achieves politically radical ends, or simply placates fans on both sides of the political spectrum. Stuart Hall (1997) argued that the inconsistent demands of the two dominant strands of American mass culture, moral majoritarianism and cosmopolitanism, exert influence upon American mass media. Each presentation of American media thus involves a potential double articulation of the events presented – one articulation reflecting moral majoritarian values and the other reflecting more globally receptive themes. The Super Bowl – one of the most widely watched American sports events of the year – presents itself as a reflexively patriotic and apolitical media event, even while the event is plastered with nationalistic and militaristic symbols contradicting its apolitical contention. The potential for politically motivated subversive expression seemed at its peak during half-time of the 2017 Super Bowl. Many wondered, in the heated post-Donald Trump presidential election political climate, whether Lady Gaga would – during one of the most watched American televised events of the year – use her moment of peak visibility to make a political statement.

Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” In 2017, Lady Gaga, an American pop star, performed during Super Bowl LI’s half-time show. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, otherwise known as Lady Gaga, entered the public entertainment world in the early 2000s. Her debut album, The Fame, was released in 2008 and achieved commercial success both in the United States (US) and internationally. In 2009, Time Magazine identified her as one of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people (Gray & Rutnam, 2014). Yet, Lady Gaga’s development of her position in the public sphere did not conform to the strategies pursued by many contemporary female pop stars. More than a financially successful pop star, she was also “an incendiary force […] within the fashion world” (Gray & Rutnam, 2014, p. 44). While sustaining a commercially successful mainstream pop career, Lady Gaga also managed to create a form of “Gesamtkunstwerk”: That is, unity in “all aspects of her performance – dress, image, body-props, music, sound, staging, photography, fashion-film, music-video” (Gray & Rutnam, 2014, p. 57). All of these aspects “come together under her creative direction to create a whole art work” (ibid.). Notably, Lady Gaga’s public persona and performances strive for an avant-garde style, but still remain extremely commercially viable. Martin Iddon (2014, p. 262) succinctly captures the contradiction: “Gaga is what she is not”. By straddling the line between mainstream and outsider culture, Lady Gaga manages to remain an icon of both cultural groups.

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Melanie L. Marshall (2014, p. 233) described Lady Gaga as “a model of decadent consumption” who offsets this image “with charitable work and actions, and continuing re-invention of the self that sits well with the neoliberal notion that individuals […] are entrepreneurs of the self.” While many of her fans view Lady Gaga as a feminist cultural icon, Marshall notes that Lady Gaga: “[S]ells the idea of an autonomous, creative individual while simultaneously being contractually beholden to her record company […] Gaga has made being a misfit profitable” (Marshall, 2014, p. 233). Lady Gaga’s “Gesamtkunstwerk”, the sum of her performance style and her carefully constructed public persona, constitutes a polysemic text that can be best understood through an analysis employing John Fiske’s (2010) theory of excess as hyperbole. Her persona and performances are doubly articulated to appear to fit within dominant ideology (as Marshall contends) and simultaneously to appear to critique that same ideology (as many of her fans would contend). Lady Gaga’s performance at the half-time of the Super Bowl LI – particularly her introduction to her performance – exemplified her mastery of double articulation. Rather than conforming to mainstream expectations for a neutral musical performance or conforming to the expectations of admirers who expected a transgressive political statement, Lady Gaga presented a multi-layered performance that straddled the line between pure performance and pure political statement. Through her employment of excess as hyperbole, Lady Gaga achieved a double articulation that allowed holders of opposing preferences to view her performance and introduction as conforming to their preferences. Thus, I suggest that she should be read both as conforming to the conservative ideology of mainstream sports fans and as critiquing that conservative ideology. It is relevant to note that recent developments in the American sports sphere have problematised the traditional understanding of the place of ideology and politics in mainstream sports broadcasts (Schmidt, 2018). The American sporting sphere is often imagined as an apolitical and egalitarian space (Hartmann, 1996). Many people view sport as an area devoid of racism, sexism, or any other form of prejudice. Thus, historically when politics have been brought into the sports arena, many viewers have understood such behaviour as a violation of the sacred, egalitarian region that sports occupy in our culture. Yet, while American sports broadcasts have been viewed as one of the nation’s most apolitical institutions, many sports stars and coaches have recently chosen to express their political views publicly. While the sports sphere seemingly attempts to remain apolitical, recently athletic protests “have been reinvigorated […] fuelled, in large part by both the social and political climate of contemporary society and by the information sharing power offered by social media” (Schmidt, 2018, p. 4). Since many athletes enjoy immense celebrity and attract a large number of followers, their “tweets, posts, or messages get much more attention than those of the average person” (Schmidt, 2018, p. 4).

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While the year 2016 was “not necessarily unique in the amount of social troubles that individuals faced” (Schmidt, 2018, p. 11), it marked a watershed moment in which many issues of social justice “started, not only to gain attention, but also to gain more widespread recognition throughout all walks of society”. Many athletes – beginning in 2016 – felt an urge to speak out politically through social media, but also through their actions. For example, in 2016, Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, chose to kneel during the National Anthem in order to “protest police brutality and social injustice” (Witz, 2016); this momentous intervention is also reviewed by David Andrews and Ben Carrington in Chapter 12 of this volume. Kaepernick clearly stated that this act did not express malice. Rather, he said: “I love America. I love people. That’s why I am doing this. I want to help make America better” (Witz, 2016). Kaepernick’s actions were noted and criticised by many conservatives. Critics of Kaepernick deemed his actions disrespectful, unpatriotic, and a violation of the sporting sphere. Many sports fans condemned Kaepernick’s actions, while many others felt his protest was a meaningful and peaceful critique of contemporary American racism. The Kaepernick moment proved a precipitous one that saw an increasing number of professional athletes choose to speak out about social and political issues (Witz, 2016). As Donald Trump’s controversial and politically divisive run became a reality in the 2016 US Presidential Election, many people, including professional athletes and coaches, were prompted to make public statements of their political views. Claiming to speak for real Americans, Trump enacted a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and nationalist public presence (Grossberg, 2018). Trump’s populist rhetoric placed “the people” against “the ruling bloc,” but also against immigrants, non-heteronormative people, non-white populations, and many more groups. Trump’s populist practices created “a politics of them versus us” (Grossberg, 2018, p. 6). Trump’s populist, political grandstanding did not go unnoticed in the professional athletic sphere. Bort (2017) noted that “we’ve seen an unprecedented number of sports figures voice their feelings about the president.” Yet, even within the realm of sports, there are different levels of participation in political commentary. Belson and Hoffman (2017) describe the NFL “as striving for a neutral stance on thorny political questions [that] is in contrast to the National Basketball Association (NBA), which in recent years has willingly taken positions critical of perceived attacks on L.G.B.T rights and Trump’s temporary ban on refugees.” While Kaepernick and his actions inspired a violent public reaction, “NBA players have demonstrated in support of Black Lives Matter, but with less blowback” (Bort, 2017). In particular, as Bort (2017) noted: “[D]uring the ESPY [Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly] Awards in July, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, four of the league’s most popular players, dressed in all black and spoke on behalf of the movement.” While the NBA

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has attempted to present itself as tolerant of political and social protest, “the abiding culture in the NFL, and in football more broadly, dictates that players look inward to the team and do as little as possible to stand out off the field” (Belson & Hoffman, 2017). The enforcement of this norm by the NFL, Belson and Hoffman (2017) asserted, “underscores the lengths it will go not to offend its fans.” Yet, despite the NFL’s traditional aversion to political controversy, the Trump campaign and presidency have inspired NFL celebrities to state their political opinions publicly. Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots and his coach Bill Belichick have openly supported Donald Trump, as observed too by Andrews and Carrington in Chapter 12 (see also Andrews, 2019). Thus, while many NBA players and coaches have been vocal in their opposition to Trump, “the NFL has emerged as something of a safe space for Trump support” (Bort, 2017). Therefore, at the 2017 Super Bowl, which occurred soon after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, for many viewers, the opposition between the teams corresponded directly to the opposition between supporters and opponents of the new president. The Patriots, who had publicly expressed their support for Donald Trump, would play the Atlanta Falcons, who were thought to be much less sympathetic to the new administration. The Patriots and Falcons, battling for victory, embodied the political divisiveness of Trump’s America. Given Lady Gaga’s social and political mindedness and expressiveness, the half-time show appeared poised for peak political expression. In the previous Super Bowl half-time show (2016), Beyoncé Knowles-Carter attempted to make a political statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement through a homage to the Black Panthers. Beyoncé’s choice to begin her performance with the song “Formation”, an unapologetic anthem of black female identity, held political implications within the Super Bowl space. Simultaneously, Beyoncé’s dancers dressed in all black attire wearing their hair in afros and donning berets, reminiscent of the styles and dress of the 1960s era Black Panther Party. In the heated 2016 post-election political climate, many speculated that Lady Gaga would make a similar politically motivated attempt. Her history of involvement in political causes suggested that she was neither sympathetic to the Trump administration nor averse to making bold public political statements. She “has championed gay rights […] and set up a foundation to ‘foster a more accepting society’ which embraces differences and celebrates individuality” (Marshall, 2014, p. 233). Many of her political views, such as her support for the non-heteronormative community and proclaimed feminist values, were clearly at odds with the stated aims of the new administration. Would Lady Gaga, then, during one of the most watched American televised events of the year, use her moment of peak visibility to make a political statement or would she remain apolitical and simply perform? In true Gaga fashion, she aimed to achieve both.

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Stuart Hall’s divided America and strategies of double articulation In agreeing to perform at half-time of the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga accepted a performance venue sharply influenced both by the general effects of American mass culture and by ideological evolution within the specific context of the NFL. Stuart Hall (1997, p. 19) asserted that American mass culture has attempted to engage in “dialectics of global culture”. This new globalisation, led by the US, “is dominated by all the ways in which the visual and graphic arts have entered directly into reconstitution of popular life” (Hall, 1997, p. 27). Most notably, the globalisation that Hall observed in the 1990s represented many voices and identities. American mass culture, Hall argued, is characterised by its contradictory and inconsistent nature. While one major portion of the American audience welcomes cultural diversity and is open to ideas subversive of convention, another equally large – and more traditionally conservative – portion of this audience disapproves of this global culture of openness. Contemporary American media disperses its cultural products and related symbolism throughout the globe. These products are, however, designed to address the preferences of American audiences, which, because of their wide variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests, demand diverse programming (Fiske, 2010, p. 84). In order to satisfy the preferences of the diverse American audience, American media producers often aim to generate content that can be understood in a multitude of ways. This polysemic strategy allows producers to generate content that simultaneously satisfies the preferences of different types of audiences desiring different types of content. Strategic ambiguity, another name for this polysemic approach, attempts to generate output that can lead “two or more otherwise conflicting groups of readers” to converge in praise of a specific text (Ceccarelli, 1998, p. 404). Ceccarelli, a rhetorician, describes strategic ambiguity both as a tool that those in power can exploit to bolster positions of authority and as a device that those with less power can use to chip away at hegemonic formations. Ceccarelli (1998) further notes that disempowered groups can camouflage their subversive meaning through strategic ambiguity. Groups with less clout or media power can implant subversive text that “critique[s] an oppressive regime without inviting suppression, imprisonment, or death” (Ceccarelli, 1998, p. 404). John Fiske (2010, p. 85) examined textual devices that open television “up to polysemic readings, which therefore work against the attempted ideological closure, and which make it accessible to, and popular with, its variety of audiences.” Fiske discussed the use of metaphor, irony, jokes, contradiction, and excess as textual strategies for creating polysemic television content. Fiske argued that excess can function as a textual strategy in televisual media. He described one form of excess, excess as hyperbole, as “a specific

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textual device, a form of exaggeration which may approach the self-knowingness of ‘camp’” (Fiske, 2010, p. 91). Excess as hyperbole, he noted, operates “through a double articulation which is capable of bearing both the dominant ideology and a simultaneous critique of it” (Fiske, 2010, p. 91). This double articulation allows for “equivalent dual subject position for the reader” or viewer (Fiske, 2010, p. 91). Through excess, Fiske argued, television content can simultaneously communicate multiple inconsistent messages, one that appears to endorse mainstream principles and another that critiques those mainstream principles. This double articulation addresses the “two voices” that Hall identified in American mass culture: one endorsing a global culture of diversity, the other rejecting that culture. Almost all of Stuart Hall’s claims regarding American mass culture resonate to date. In fact, Hall’s analysis may apply even more poignantly to contemporary American culture than it applied to the culture of the 1990s. Since then, America’s two focal inconsistent and distinctive voices have evolved aggressively away from each other. These two sides of America differentiated themselves particularly drastically during and after the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump. In the view of much of the American public, Donald Trump’s populist presidential campaign re-introduced a large racist, misogynistic, conservative population to the American mainstream. The views of this population, which embody a version of right-wing populism, are characterised by “hostility to the status quo, mistrust of traditional politicians, appeal to the people and not to classes, anti-intellectualism” (Laclau quoted in Andrews, 2019, p. 122). “At the affective core of Trump’s conjuncturalism – and aligning it as an example of Laclau’s populism,” Andrews (2019, p. 122) argued, “– is the depiction of American society as being cleaved into two distinct and antagonistic groups.” The language and logic of Trump’s variety of American populism “conceive of ordinary people as a noble assemblage” and “their elite opponents as selfserving and undemocratic” (Kazin, 1995, p. 1). Donald Trump’s “reactionary populism incorporates an ethnically/racially exclusionary nationalism” (Andrews, 2019, p. 123). This form of populism is authoritarian in form, as it “revolves around the imagining of embodied threats to the nation” (Andrews, 2019, p. 131). It also calls forth the unity of the people through mutual affinity with some dominant symbol or ideal, which Ernesto Laclau calls, an empty signifier (Laclau, 2005). The American populist impulse uses rhetorical devices such as freedom, justice, and national pride to unite diverse groups with differing interests, which can quickly descend into empty signifiers. Through these empty signifiers (i.e., freedom and justice), it becomes possible for very diverse groups of people to see themselves as a unified group. This contemporary populist group corresponds to one of Hall’s two contending voices in the American public culture, the voice of the moral majority, who make up a considerable proportion of American sports viewers. Understanding this populist contingency is crucial to understanding

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the contemporary relationship between American politics, sport, and media spectacle. In the following section, I further explicate the current bond between American sports and ideologies of nationalism, patriotism, and militarism within the context of Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance.

Showtime: Lady Gaga’s half-time performance Within the “sport-war nexus” (King, 2008, p. 528) of contemporary American sport, how did Lady Gaga modulate her message when performing before an NFL audience? Her approximately 13-minute-long performance began with a one-minute introduction, and Lady Gaga packed this introduction full of symbolic gestures that could be understood differently by different audiences. She opened her act seemingly standing atop the Super Bowl stadium by herself. The camera zoomed in to reveal Lady Gaga, wearing one of her classic modern costumes (a silver body suit with futuristic makeup). Rather than introduce herself, she simply began to sing “God Bless America.” The choice to begin her performance with a rendition of Irving Berlin’s patriotic hymn provided a surprising opening for her show. The avant-garde fashion icon appeared at first to express a pure and naïve American patriotism. Lady Gaga’s decision to begin with Berlin’s “God Bless America” demonstrated her understanding of the place of politics in the American sports sphere. While subversive politics are generally not permitted or supported in the sports sphere, many traditions within American sports enact the politics of patriotism, militarism, and nationalism. Michael Real (1975, p. 41) argues that “[t]he nationalism of American sports is made explicit” each time an athletic event begins with the national anthem. The playing of the anthem, at sports events, began as a tradition at baseball games during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was only with the coming of World War II that “the custom of playing and singing the tune at every game” took hold (Voigt, 1976, p. 86). Now, The Star-Spangled Banner is most frequently encountered by the American public at sports events. By uniting the National Anthem with sporting events, the American athletic sphere steeps its activities in ritual symbols of country, democracy, and freedom (Spiegel and Spiegel, 1998, p. 35). Not only do American athletic events promote patriotism and nationalism, but also, particularly in the NFL, a very American manner of militarism. The National Football League and the US military “have shared more than 40 years of history” (Schimmel, 2017, p. 82). This overt relationship to the military has become particularly robust in a post-9/11 sports world. “Since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001,” Schimmel (2017, p. 82) asserted, “[…] military representation at and involvement in – NFL Games has taken on new dimensions.” After 9/11, the “military-industrial-media-entertainment network” also known as “MIME-NET,”

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sprang into action (Der Derian, 2001, p. 83). Butterworth (2012, p. 242) argued that MIME-NET helps naturalise “the relationship between the military and popular culture.” The central employment of patriotic symbols has become so ubiquitous in the NFL that the role of these symbols is not recognised as political. American sporting events, particularly those within the NFL, have “become key vehicles for reproducing and channelling nationalist identifications” (King, 2008, p. 528). Normalising traditions have made MIME-NET and its militaristic and nationalist ideology appear apolitical. No Super Bowl tradition requires performers to begin their performances with such nationalistic material, and most performers simply perform medleys of their own popular songs. Lady Gaga thus made a bold and specific choice to begin her performance by breaking with tradition and presenting to an American athletic audience the show she believed they wanted. In this moment, Lady Gaga conscientiously spoke to Hall’s moral majoritarian sphere of American culture. Due to the NFL’s robust nationalistic and militaristic tendencies, Gaga enacted a very clever manoeuvre: pure symbolic patriotism. Lady Gaga, while abandoning ethnically or racially exclusionary nationalism, used populist logic to unite her viewers through the patriotic symbolism of “God Bless America.” Similar to the populist impulse, Gaga rhetorically exploited the empty signifier of American, god-fearing patriotism. After the recent violent reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s activism in the NFL sphere, particularly by President Trump, Gaga’s early emphasis on Irving Berlin’s unsullied patriotic hymn demonstrated the tone she hoped to set for her performance before a Super Bowl audience. Then again, Lady Gaga’s dramatic costume immediately called into question the political message of her performance. In belting out “God Bless America” while wearing a flashy futuristic costume standing atop the stadium, Lady Gaga invited speculation regarding the meaning of the performance. This juxtaposition of the conventional and the bizarre could be viewed simply as Lady Gaga promoting ordinary, straight-forward patriotism in her own quirky manner. She might also, however, be asking viewers of the Super Bowl to consider “God Bless America” in a different light. As a transgressive, gay icon, Lady Gaga offered a performance that might inspire viewers to consider how non-heteronormative people, such as herself, figure into America’s political climate. Her eccentric costume reminded her fans and viewers that she does not classically align with conventional societal norms – and yet, she chose to sing “God Bless America,” one of the most traditional and conventional of American anthems. When Lady Gaga sang “Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with a light from the above,” she seemingly stood above the Super Bowl stadium shrouded in star light. Rather than simply promoting patriotic fervour, Lady Gaga was suggesting that Americans like her – queer and non-normative alike – can guide America through our current tumultuous politics. As a viewer, one can read Lady Gaga’s performance in a multitude of ways.

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After completing the excerpt from Berlin’s “God Bless America,” Lady Gaga seamlessly transitioned to a verse from Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” She belted out the lines: “This land is your land, this land is my land, this land was made for you and me.” Here, Lady Gaga switched songs so quickly and tightly, one could almost have failed to notice that she was singing two different songs. Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” and Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” in fact differ dramatically in political and cultural substance and significance. Berlin’s song, written in 1918 and revised in 1938, “has become a statement of patriotism, of home front support for troops at war” (Siegel, 2013). “This Land is Your Land” was in fact written as angry response to Berlin’s “God Bless America.” Guthrie’s song is often described as a protest song or “alternative national anthem” (Spitzer, 2012). While Berlin’s “God Bless America” enacted blind, jingoistic American patriotism, Guthrie’s anthem focused on the beauty and pain of the American experience. Guthrie felt Berlin’s song portrayed an idealistic vision of America where economic struggle and poverty were ignored; Guthrie’s anthem emphasised a more nuanced America where people flourished, but also struggled (Spitzer, 2012). Lady Gaga’s choice to juxtapose these two songs directly can only be viewed as a calculated strategy. By contrasting the two songs, one expressing unreflective patriotic sentiment, and the other expressing direct rejection of such unreflective and sentimental patriotism, Lady Gaga spoke to listeners and viewers across the political spectrum. While appearing to endorse dominant ideologies of patriotic America, she simultaneously critiqued that ideology. Lady Gaga finished her introduction with the lines, “One nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” This language from The Pledge of Allegiance appears to express simple patriotic allegiance to the US flag. As Lady Gaga repeated these well-known words, lights behind her moved into a formation of an abstract US flag. While the words Lady Gaga spoke can be viewed as inclusive and tolerant, this language actually evokes the patriarchal elements of traditional, God-fearing American patriarchy. This language, which is recited before Congress and many other political institutions open their sessions, is unavoidably linked with the exercise of power by formal political institutions. In using such traditional, patriotic language Lady Gaga spoke to her conservative fan base while also winking at her followers who are more critical of contemporary American politics. When Lady Gaga says “with liberty and justice for all,” she allows her viewer to define “all.” Standing in front of her impressionistic, shiny American flag and encouraging her viewers to render contrary meanings from her performance, Lady Gaga successfully delivered her intentioned polysemic expression. Some may view her show as an apolitical musical performance while others may assemble a more subversive understanding. The suggestiveness of her performance was indeed picked up by a range of political commentators.

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Gaga for all: reflections on Gaga’s performance Lady Gaga’s introduction to her Super Bowl performance exemplified the use of excess as a textual (or expressive) strategy for the purpose of double articulation. After her performance, Twitter filled with responses from celebrities across the political spectrum. Hilary Clinton, the democratic nominee for president, wrote, “I’m one of 100 million #SuperBowl fans that just went #Gaga for the Lady, & her message to all of us” (Blas, 2017). Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump, tweeted, “Incredible performance by @ladygaga” (Blas, 2017). The tweets of many viewers reveal that these viewers understood Lady Gaga’s performance to be apolitical. One viewer wrote, “[n]ot a fan of Gaga’s music but it was clean, not political, and not with any agenda to it; I was happy enough for that fact” (Master, 2017). Others vehemently disagreed with this understanding of Lady Gaga’s performance. Actor Neil Patrick Harris tweeted: “I’m gagging over @ladygaga and her half-time show. She was everything. Creative and fearless and inclusive. Loved” (Blas, 2017). Romance novelist Amy Jo Cousins wrote: “Lady Gaga sang a Woody Guthrie song at the Super Bowl & people think she didn’t do anything political? Bless their hearts” (ABC, 2017). Through a communicative strategy based upon camp and excessive gestures, Lady Gaga transmitted a message that could easily be understood as reflexively patriotic by one audience but could just as easily be understood as subversive by another audience. The opening of her performance on a perch seemingly at the very top of the stadium, her background of lights, her costume, and her dive into the stadium all reflect Lady Gaga’s vision of excess. Strategically, the performance enabled Lady Gaga to speak to both sides of Stuart Hall’s America. Lady Gaga, employing one voice, spoke to two different types of Americans. Significantly, Lady Gaga spoke to these populations separately, sending each an isolated message. She did not attempt to unite the different sides of America. In the Trump conjuncture, populist logic proposes that “the people” are separate from the other groups that assemble the current American landscape. Lady Gaga, in this performance, followed similar populist logics of severance between two spheres of America. One may ask whether her strategy merely placated her more conservative, sports-oriented audience or genuinely attempted to make a transgressive, political statement or both at the same time. Notwithstanding this reading, strategic ambiguity has been employed successfully by many American entertainers, particularly disempowered groups. Ralina Joseph (2018, p. 3) contended that many black female celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, have used strategic ambiguity in order to “claim a seat at the table.” Joseph (2018) understood such uses of strategic ambiguity as a form of post-racial resistance. Reading Lady Gaga’s use of double articulation has merit as a strategic tool. Yet, in 2017 at the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga already had a seat at the proverbial table. While she does

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not follow hetero-normative conventions, one cannot ignore her privilege as a thin, American, white, pop star. As such, does Lady Gaga need the shield of strategic ambiguity? Does she deserve it? Does Lady Gaga’s strategic ambiguity, or double articulation, construct a politically productive conversation or simply appease the different audiences she knew she would be performing for at Super Bowl LI? While J. Jack Halberstam’s Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal does not directly answer these questions, Halberstam (2013, p. xxv) contended that Gaga feminism (Lady Gaga as its most current incarnation): “[i]s a form of political expression that masquerades as naïve nonsense but that actually participates in big and meaningful forms of critique.” Halberstam (2013, p. xv) argued that while Gaga feminism “will not save us from ourselves or from Wall Street,” it might open up ways of thinking about the future. Gaga feminism invokes “a politics of free-falling, wild thinking, and imaginative reinvention” (Halberstam, 2013, p. xv). Halberstam (2013, p. xiii) uses Lady Gaga’s impressive rise to prominence as an example of an emerging form of gender politics for a new generation. Yet, Halberstam (2013, p. xiii) understood Gaga’s place as a “media product and a media manipulator […] situated very self-consciously at the heart of new forms of consumer capitalism.” Therefore, Lady Gaga performs as a popular culture figure who both embodies consumer capitalism, but also speaks to new conceptions of gender, sexual orientation, and feminism. We can see Lady Gaga’s contradictory politics within her Super Bowl LI performance. Even though Lady Gaga supposedly stands for such new conceptions of feminism, she invokes Trump’s populist logics within her performance choices. Rather than enact a popular politics, understanding “the people” as “the ever-changing result of struggles to create a unity-in-difference,” Lady Gaga presented her message through populist tactics. Rather than speaking to both sides of America with the same communication, she used her one voice to speak separately to both sides of America, enforcing a populist “politics of them versus us” (Grossberg, 2018, p. 6). Perhaps Gaga understood her performance as enacting strategic ambiguity as a form of resistance. Yet, by expressing her message through the employment of traditionally accepted norms and populist logics, she concealed her opposition. After her Super Bowl performance, the only viewers who understood her subversive political commentary were those who already pursue progressive and liberal politics. Lady Gaga, even though preaching to respective choirs, encouraged her diverse fanbase and their politics. Such encouragement can bolster and reenergise a community. Yet, in order for Lady Gaga and her performances to truly enact a radical popular politics, she would have to forego the populist rhetorical strategy of utilising empty signifiers of patriotism and American freedom. She would have to overtly expose herself to criticism from her conservative fanbase, which could hurt her commercial viability. Rather than speak separately to two

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sides of America at the same time, she would have to try and engage a common ground – articulating a common set of struggles. Until such a change occurs, it is arguable that Lady Gaga will continue to speak to both voices in America. The danger in this is that she does so without truly saying anything.

References ABC. 2017. Super Bowl: the veiled political statement in Lady Gaga’s performance. American Broadcasting Corporation. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/ 2017-02-06/super-bowl-veiled-political-statement-lady-gaga-halftime-show/8245174 [accessed 24 September 2018]. Abdel-Shehid, G. 2005. Who Da Man? Black Masculinities and Sporting Cultures. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc. Andrews, D. L. 2019. Making Sport Great Again: The Uber-Sport Assemblage, Neoliberalism, and the Trump Conjuncture. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Belson, K. & Hoffman, B. 2017. No Trump or Goodell at Super Bowl, at least according to N.F.L transcripts. The New York Times, 31 January. Available at: https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/sports/football/super-bowl-nfl-donald-trump-newengland-patriots.html [accessed 5 April 2017]. Blas, L. 2017. Stars can’t get over Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show. USA Today, 5 February. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/ 2017/02/05/lady-gaga-super-bowl-halftime-show-celebrity-reaction/97535250/ [accessed 23 September 2018]. Bort, R. 2017. Red Vs. Blue: the dueling politics of the NFL and NBA. Newsweek, 30 January. Available at: http://www.newsweek.com/nba-nfl-politics-support-trump547808 [accessed 4 April 2017]. Butterworth, M. 2012. Militarism and memorializing at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 9 (3), pp. 241–258. Ceccarelli, L. 1998. Polysemy: multiple meanings in rhetorical criticism. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 84 (1), pp. 395–415. Der Derian, J. 2001. Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network. Boulder: Westview Press. Fiske, J. 2010. Television Culture (2nd 3d.). London: Routledge. Gray, S. & Rutnam, A. 2014. Her own real thing: Lady Gaga and the Haus of Fashion. In Iddon, M. & Marshall, M. L. (eds.). Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Performing Gender, Fashion, and Culture. New York: Routledge, pp. 44–67. Grossberg, L. 2018. Under the Cover of Chaos: Trump and the Battle for the American Right. London: Pluto Press. Halberstam, J. 2013. Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal. Boston: Beacon Press. Hall, S. 1997. The local and global: globalization and ethnicity. In King, A. (ed.). Culture, Globalization, and the World System: Contemporary Conditions for the Representation of Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 19–39. Hartmann, D. 1996. The politics of race and sport: resistance and domination in the 1968 African American Olympic protest movement. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 19 (3), pp. 548–565.

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Iddon, M. 2014. Supplement: Poker-faced. Revealed nothing. In Iddon, M. & Marshall, M. L. (eds.). Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Performing Gender, Fashion, and Culture. New York: Routledge, pp. 245–271. Joseph, R. 2018. Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity. New York: NYU Press. Kazin, M. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. King, S. 2008. Offensive lines: sport-state synergy in an era of perpetual war. Cultural Studies↔Critical Methodologies, 8 (4), pp. 527–539. Laclau, E. 2005. On Populist Reason. London: Verso Books. Lady Gaga. 2017. Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show [Lady Gaga, Houston, TX, 5 February]. Marshall, M. L. 2014. Consuming Gaga. In Iddon, M. & Marshall, M. L. (eds.). Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Performing Gender, Fashion, and Culture. New York: Routledge, pp. 231–245. Master, C. 2017. Lady Gaga steers clear of politics in Super Bowl show. The Hill, 5 February. Available at: https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/318013lady-gaga-steers-clear-of-politics-in-super-bowl-show [accessed 24 September 2018]. Moore, C. 2011. The magic circle and the mobility of play. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 17 (4), pp. 373–387. Real, M. 1975. Super Bowl: mythic spectacle. Journal of Communication, 25 (1), pp. 31–43. Real, M. 2014. Theorizing the sports-television dream marriage: why sports fit television so well. In Billings, A. (ed.). Sports Media: Transformation, Integration, Consumption. New York: Routledge, pp. 19–40. Schimmel, K. 2017. Not an “extraordinary event”: NFL Games and militarized civic ritual. Sociology of Sport Journal, 34 (1), pp. 79–89. Schmidt, H. 2018. Sport reporting in an era of activism: examining the intersection of sport media and social activism. International Journal of Sport Communication, 11 (1), pp. 2–17. Siegel, R. 2013. From peace to patriotism: the shifting identity of ‘God Bless America’. National Public Radio, 2 September. Available at: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/ 02/216877219/from-peace-to-patriotism-the-shifting-identity-of-god-bless-america [accessed 24 April 2017]. Spiegel, A. & Spiegel, M. 1998. Redundant patriotism: the United States national anthem as an obligatory sports ritual. Culture, Sport, Society, 1 (1), pp. 24–43. Spitzer, N. 2012. The story of Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land.’ National Public Radio, 15 February. Available at: http://www.npr.org/2000/07/03/1076186/ this-land-is-your-land [accessed 24 April 2017]. Voigt, D. Q. 1976. America Through Baseball. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. Witz, B. 2016. This time, Colin Kaepernick takes a stand by kneeling. The New York Times, 1 September. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/sports/ football/colin-kaepernick-kneels-national-anthem-protest.html [accessed 4 April 2017].

Chapter 15

Art of the deal Donald Trump, the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup, and the geopolitics of football aspiration Adam S. Beissel and David L. Andrews Introduction Within the age of hyper-celebrity in the contemporary moment, there exists a technologically and culturally driven compulsion to personify political parties and campaigns around movement politics and their most visible embodiments. Given President Donald Trump’s accrued popular cultural presence, the personification of politics was particularly acute during the course of Trump’s presidential campaign and subsequent presidential administration. Rather than reifying Trump on his platform politics, it is more analytically insightful to consider his embodied figure as a key – yet not singular – actant within a broader Trump assemblage: a network of heterogenous material-expressive-affective elements, including but certainly not restricted to embodied (i.e., politicians, advisors, activists, and voters), material (i.e., leaflets, posters, yard signs, and headquarters), and expressive (i.e., ideologies, manifesto, policies, traditional media, and social media content) that collectively direct popular emotions (either positive or negative) according to the Trumpism’s mattering maps – its prioritised values, themes, and issues (Page & Dittmer, 2015; Grossberg, 2018). According to Kusz (2017, p. 235), Trumpism, and hence the Trump assemblage, advances a racially divisive and populist political logic centred around a “dark, dystopian worldview and a host of racial, ethnic, religious, and gendered folk devils that stoke white men’s fears and status anxieties. It valorises and revels in displays of white male authoritarianism.” Trump’s populism, and indeed his populist credentials, are certainly accented through his preferred modes and methods of address: the use of informal language (Ahmadian et al., 2017); humorous gestures (Hall et al., 2016); at times, exaggerated performance of white masculinity (Gökarıksel & Smith, 2016; Pascoe, 2017); and, a predilection for the perniciousness, immediacy, and faux intimacy of Twitter (Ott, 2017). Trump’s regular and seemingly unscripted domain of sport talk/opinion provide an illuminating window into the ideological and affective orientations of Trumpism more generally, to the extent that Carrington (2018)

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described sport as “a key modality for Trump’s authoritarian populism.” This is articulated in Trump’s most high-profile, and indeed ongoing, public confrontation with sport, developed around the national anthem protests by athletes in various sports, most significantly (in terms of cultural import and orchestrated political division) the National Football League (NFL). Trump’s combative and metonymic approach to the NFL mobilised this most iconic of American sports, as a cultural proxy for his platform-defining populist goal of Making America Great Again, thereby underscoring a condition of contemporary sporting/societal crisis in need of resolution, and so pointing to the conjunctural nature of Trumpist politics (Grossberg, 2018). Trumpism’s nostalgic masculinism is decried in his lamenting of the “softness” of present-day American Football, and his “dog-whistle” (Haney-López, 2015) racial demonisation of black or brown bodies is personified in his public condemnation of anthem protestors, mobilising the stigmas and resentments entrenched within the American public sphere and aligning these to the decline of American society more generally. In what follows, we broadly interrogate Trump’s politicisation of, and engagement with, high-profile sport as an articulation of the Trump assemblage toward advancing his particular form of authoritarian populism. More specifically, we contextualise the conjunctural politics of the 2026 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Men’s World Cup (MWC) within the wider Trump (sporting) assemblage. After exploring how sport has become a key modality for the advancement of Trump’s authoritarian populism, we turn specifically to the United Bid – a joint effort between the United States (US), Mexico, and Canada to secure hosting rights for the 2026 MWC – and present a descriptive and empirically rich re-telling of Trump’s politicisation of the bid process. We discuss how Trump’s seemingly contradictory embracing of the United Bid was an attempt to advance his particular form of authoritarian populism through the construction of real and imagined threats to the racial and nationalist dominance of America and by destabilising and restructuring the dominant geopolitical order. To conclude, we explicate the intended advancement of a suburban populism and popular identity through the 2026 football (soccer) MWC in order to appeal to an emergent, upper-middle-class suburban voting bloc known as: the Soccer Dad.

Trump’s antagonistic and moral panic approach to sport Trump’s engagement with sport differs, specifically in affective orientation, from his immediate predecessors on the campaign trail, or in the White House. According to Nakamura (2017): “sports have provided American presidents from both political parties a chance to rub elbows with – and, perhaps, gather some cultural stardust from – immensely popular figures who transcend politics.” Counter intuitively, Trump regularly wades into

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sporting issues from the vantage point of a dismayed and/or indignant fan, an angry Twitter soul disillusioned with the game, voicing displeasure at every opportunity, and lambasting those responsible for sport’s apparent demise. As Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, noted: “Most presidents wrap themselves in the flag and the patriotic glow and uplifting feeling that sport provides […] Trump, instead of going with uplift, homes in on the divide” (quoted in Nakamura, 2017). Whether he targeted a sport in general (i.e., the NFL), or high-profile and politically expressive athletes (i.e., Colin Kaepernick, as also variously considered in Chapters 12, 13, and 14 of this volume, Megan Rapinoe, LeBron James, or Steph Curry), Trumpism’s frequent use of anti-sport rhetoric keys on the masculinist, nostalgic, and exclusionary nationalist, xenophobic, racist, militarist, and imperialist sensibilities that provide the overwhelming focus of Trump’s political strategising and epitomised in his Make America Great Again campaign slogan. Hence, sport is often negatively mobilised, even in an informal and impromptu fashion, as a platform for resonating with the “white working-class male” nativism believed to provide the base of Trumpism’s popular support (Mudde, 2018). In addition, Trump’s strategic sport interventions also serve as sites for the popular affirmation of his hyper-racialised and nationalist project: his foray into sport frequently results in the castigation of black athletes, both individually and collectively, and those who express opposition to his white identity politics. Trump’s antagonistic and moral panic approach to sport is generally discursive, typically using traditional media, social media, and related organisations to generate ideological and affective value by symbolically advancing Trumpist nationalism. Yet, no political strategising can be wholly negative and angst ridden. Indeed, Trump’s reactionary politicisation of sport appears to create as many friends as it does enemies; polarising invectives generating a polarised response. In this way, sport is at once positively mobilised by Trump as a means of resonating with an overall vision of “American greatness”. For instance, as discussed in Chapter 12, the quarterback of the New England Patriots was singled out for lavish praise: Congratulations to Tom Brady on yet another great victory – Tom is my friend and a total winner! (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter, 3 September 2015) The Trump assemblage has displayed a predisposition for reinscribing barely disguised hierarchical racial binaries, veiled under the guise of sporting comparison. In the midst of the NFL protest and Golden State Warrior (Basketball) disinvitation outcries, this strategy arose once again in Trump’s acclamation of NASCAR, its drivers, and fans for their national anthem reverence, and unrestrained displays of patriotism (Newman & Giardina,

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2011). Castigating the miscreant un-patriotic protesters as much as praising NASCAR, Trump enthused: So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear! (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter, 25 September 2017) Even more recently, amidst the escalation of impeachment proceedings in the US Congress, Trump recognised the potential for sport to render his public image a sports-enthused everyman by making appearances at several public sporting events. Over the span of just three months, Trump’s “sudden interest in sports” saw him make appearances at such national televised sport spectacles as the World Series, Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), and collegiate American Football games between Alabama & LSU and Army & Navy (Armour, 2019). While he hoped to gain the type of fawning receptions customary at his political rallies, he found the reception at these events mixed with some even generating news headlines of the “President getting booed.” Despite these unintended outcomes, Trump’s strategic recognition of public sporting events to further his popular appeal suggests a (new) positive mobilisation of sport toward a more mass audience in a time of political crisis. And, like Trump’s sporting antagonisms, these positive sport mobilisations are dependent upon a circulation of images in traditional media and on social media to achieve these affective responses. What has thus far gained precious little concern in much of the discussion on Trump’s discursive and affective mobilisation of sport, both positive and negative, has been the ways in which he has materially and politically shaped sport leagues, spaces, and events. In what follows, we critically examine Trump’s political strategising of the 2026 MWC that mobilised sport in a deliberate and processual manner to advance his wider cultural political and geopolitical agenda.

The conjunctural politics of the 2026 United Bid On 13 June 2018, at the 66th FIFA Congress in Moscow, the hosting rights of the 2026 FIFA MWC were awarded to a joint bid of the US, Mexico, and Canada. The North American effort – known colloquially as the “United Bid” – will be one of firsts: the first time the tournament has a 48-team format (up from 32 teams); the first to use already existing world-class stadiums, facilities, and infrastructure; and the first time three countries have shared the world’s most prestigious and widely viewed football tournament. Of the tournament’s 80 matches: 10 will be in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the US – including every match from the quarterfinals to the final. The United Bid routed its only challenger, Morocco, by a final vote of 134 to 65, offering FIFA’s member associations a seemingly ready-made MWC. The

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three bodies of Canada, Mexico, and the US officially announced their intent to submit a joint bid for the 2026 FIFA MWC in April 2017 as opposed to individual, competitive bids, in an effort to bring the FIFA MWC back to the region for the first time since 1994, when the US last hosted. The United Bid’s signature selling point, however, was delivered in a language that FIFA members have long understood: profit. The United Bid promised FIFA an $11 billion profit – more than twice that of its competitor Morocco – and a purported $5 billion of economic activity for the host countries. Bid organisers hoped that the integrated hosting vision and strategy of “United as One”, and the implied symbolic politics of unity, would outweigh any concerns about negative perceptions of America’s foreign policies. Commercial and diplomatic relations between the three countries have reached their lowest point in decades as Trump’s hard-line stances on trade and immigration have threatened the political stability of the contiguous North American relations. To combat the notion of the bid being a proxy success for Trump politics, the bid included statements of unity meant to break with Trump’s discourse(s) of political division. The joint statement issued from the three countries reads in part: “we support and enable one another, promoting growth and prosperity in ways that advance each nation and our continent as a whole” (United 2026 Bid Book, 2018, p. 14). Most if not all of the over 300 statements from local and national governments also include language intended to highlight the inclusiveness implied in the unity of the bid; from Mexico City: “We will share our culture, traditions, and diversity in a sustainable, inclusive, and innovative way, inspiring our country, our region, and the world”; from Montreal: “[F]ootball will be the unifying thread linking all cultures and backgrounds”; and from Washington DC: “[O]ur vision is: cultural diplomacy, uniting residents and visitors through sport” (United 2026 Bid Book, 2018, pp. 20–21). In developing the unity narrative, organisers attempted to position the bid, as capable of transcending political scruples to provide a common good through football. The United Bid’s integrated hosting vision and strategy of “United as One” was a symbolic reimagining of the US-led bid as a truly international partnership amidst growing tensions in diplomatic relations and a growing antiAmerican sentiment due to the unpopular policies and spiteful rhetoric of President Trump. The United Bid celebrated a symbolic politics of unity as an attempt to gain support for the bid from FIFA member associations. What began as a relatively straightforward process for the awarding hosting rights of the MWC was thrust into chaos upon the entry of US President Donald Trump into the bid discourse. Despite attempts by bid organisers to distance the MWC awarding as a proxy for Trump politics, the public backlash over Trump’s political and ideological disputes with Mexico and Canada over trade, immigration, and foreign policy injected serious doubts into the United Bid (Borden, 2018). Bid organisers had to counter a

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growing anti-American sentiment that stemmed largely from actions taken by the Trump administration, including the travel ban affecting mostly Muslim countries, public comments that perpetuate stereotypes and racism, and the report of using profanity in describing poor African and Latin American countries. More specifically, Trump’s public feud with United Bid partner Mexico about paying for a 1000-mile border wall, his campaign remarks calling Mexicans rapists and criminals, and his emphatic statement that “Mexico is not our friend”, seemingly contracted the projected message of unity between host nations (Reilly, 2016). A bi-partisan letter drafted by 44 US Senators (26 Democrats, 17 Republicans, and one Independent) was sent to Trump urging him to support the United Bid and asking him to provide government guarantees on visa-free travel, plus work permit, and tax exemption (Goff, 2018a). As the vote approached, the question for the United Bid was remarkably basic: at this particular moment in time, does the world want to give the US what it wants? The final decision would be down to politics as much as merit. To complicate matters for FIFA and bid organisers, Trump himself emerged as a vocal public supporter of the United Bid despite his public disagreements with Mexico and Canada. In late-April, just two short months before the FIFA Congress would vote for MWC hosting rights, Trump initiated a public diplomacy strategy to appeal to FIFA Congress and international publics, efforts that reflected the “antagonistic presidential framing” that have defined his foreign policy approach (Gravelle, 2018): The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 FIFA MWC. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)? (@realdonaldtrump/Twitter, 26 April 2018) Days later, in a Rose Garden appearance with the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, Trump pressed African countries to support the United Bid: I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world that we also will be supporting you, and that they will likewise support us in our bid along with Canada and Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. We will be watching very closely. And any help they could give us in that bid we would appreciate (quoted in Gardner, 2018, para. 2) Not only did these public statements undermine the effort of United Bid organisers to distance the tournament from Trump politics, it was

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tantamount to a violation of FIFA’s code of conduct prohibiting direct political influence in organisational matters and bidding regulations that warned against “any undue influence on the outcome” (Rogers, 2018a). Although FIFA itself did not take any punitive action, Trump’s public statements violated the FIFA charter prohibiting foreign political influence in the bidding process. Moncef Belkhayat, committee member of Morocco’s 2026 rival bid, saw this as an opportunity to associate the bid to Trump and highlight the obvious hypocrisy of the strategic hosted vision of “United as One”: I think that Donald Trump factor is helping Morocco. When you see what’s happening with Mexico, what’s happening with Canada lately, that’s something that is not … you don’t look united. How united are you? (quoted in Thomas & Bishara, 2018, para. 3) A handful of public statements were not the extent of Trump’s involvement in pursuing the hosting rights for the quadrennial tournament. For months, Trump and the Trump Administration had been engaging in covert efforts to influence FIFA Congress voters and allay concerns in the FIFA Evaluation Report regarding political support. On 12 June 2018, just one day before the FIFA Congress would award MWC hosting rights, The New York Times revealed that US football leadership had one person to thank for helping them convince the world that Trump’s policies would not be a factor: Donald Trump himself. It reported that beginning in March 2018, Trump began writing letters to FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressing his support for the United Bid in “the spirit of continental partnership” (quoted in Das, 2018). In the letters, Trump assured FIFA officials of visa-free travel, that his hard-line stances on visas and his Muslim travel ban would not apply, and agreed to grant FIFA full tax-exemptions on all commercial activity during the tournament. He also pledged that the US would respect FIFA rules, which includes the playing of another country’s national anthem. In the last letter, dated 2 May 2018, Trump wrote: I am confident that the United States would host the 2026 FIFA MWC in a similarly open and festive manner, and that all eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination (quoted in Das, 2018, para. 16) Additionally, Trump pledged that the US would respect FIFA rules that required, for example, the playing of any country’s national anthem, the display of any national flag and respect for human rights. The primary architect behind Trump’s letters and lobbying efforts was White House advisor and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The bid

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committee, and United Bid chairman and Trump political supporter, Robert Kraft, started communicating with Kushner about how he might be able to convince Trump that the joint hosted bid would be a way to exert political influence over his critics. Kushner became an active lobbyist for the hosting rights. It was reported that he took a surreptitious trip to Saudi Arabia where he spent considerable amount of time with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and directly asked for Saudi Arabia’s vote and did the same with the House of Khalifa in Bahrain (Fox, 2018). Additionally, he shepherded the presidential decision memo that required Cabinet secretaries to make guarantees to FIFA that their agencies would allow the event to function without a political crisis (Fox, 2018). Kushner then met with US Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro in the White House with a written pledge from the US government that it would grant visas to visitors without regard to religion or national origin. (Das, 2018). With written support of the White House, Kushner, Cordeiro and bid organisers launched an aggressive lobbying campaign, trying as much as possible to stress the Canadian and Mexican involvement, assuage concerns over perceptions of a US bid, and provide written guarantees to concerned voting members with support of the White House. Lobbying efforts by the North American delegation were estimated to have cost $6 million and bid leaders alleged to have met with 150 of FIFA’s 211 federation Presidents in person (Panja & Das, 2018). United Bid organisers touted a “risk-averse” approach to FIFA member nations, with Cordeiro himself assuring voters “the U.S. government has made strong commitments to FIFA” (quoted in Das, 2018). As the race entered its final stages, several top officials and bid staff members were still confident they had done enough to assuage concerns about President Trump. At the FIFA Congress in Moscow, the United Bid beat the Morocco effort by a final vote of 134 to 65 marking the end of a feverish few weeks of lobbying and arm-twisting FIFA members by United Bid organisers. Bloc voting by the regional confederations was expected, and indeed many votes largely reflected the location of the bid countries. Nearly every federation in Africa voted for Morocco and all but one of the South American and Caribbean federations, Brazil, voted for the United Bid. The race was won in Europe and Asia, which both broke overwhelmingly for the United Bid. Some votes sent major political shockwaves through the global community as long-time political adversaries unexpectedly backed the US-led effort. Not only did Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain – all major US Persian Gulf Allies – back the United bid despite its more obvious cultural and economic ties to Morocco, but Iraq and Afghanistan also pledged their vote to the United Bid as well, highlighting the Arab divide. Russia, a nation which maintains close ties between government and the soccer federation, voted for the United Bid while China backed the Morocco effort. Iran and Cuba abstained from voting for either bid. Others balked at the US-led effort with some long-term European political allies with historic ties to the US

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choosing to eschew the North American effort as France, Italy, and the Netherlands voted in favour of the Morocco bid. It could be argued that these unexpected votes in favour of the US-led bid were simply based on the merits of the bid, which FIFA’s own internal evaluation rated as far less risky than the Moroccan effort. Yet, given the number of long-established political and economic partners that eschewed the US-led effort, it is important to note how FIFA’s attempt to de-politicise the bid as product largely failed. Not only did the new bid evaluation mechanisms and transparent voting procedures fail to prevent the United Bid from spending millions in lobbying FIFA members, the new process may have made voting members even more acutely aware of the politics embedded within their selection. Given Trump’s behaviour and rhetoric surrounding the bid, it is not difficult to imagine many countries traditionally reliant on US aid or political protection being unable to back away from support of the United Bid as a sign of a resistance against Trump’s harsh immigration policies. Although some claimed the United Bid’s victory was an example of merit over politics, FIFA’s reformed voting process came down to politics as much as anything else. In the aftermath of the FIFA vote, Trump touted his efforts to bring the 2026 MWC to North America. In the days following the announcement, Trump claimed the plaudits by sending a congratulatory Tweet that read: The U.S., together with Mexico and Canada, just got the World Cup. Congratulations – a great deal of hard work! (@realdonaldtrump/Twitter, 13 June 2018) Determined to take credit for any accomplishment, however insignificant, he also thanked supporters for complimenting his work and New England Patriots owner and political supporter Robert Kraft for offering him advice: Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the U.S.A., Mexico and Canada. I worked hard on this along with a Great Team of talented people. We never fail, and it will be a great World Cup! A special thanks to Bob Kraft for excellent advice. (quoted in Schad, 2018, para. 2) The US news media quickly embraced the narrative that Trump was responsible for securing hosting rights, and: “[A]s much as Trump detractors might want his involvement to be incidental to the victory, it isn’t” (Rogers, 2018b). In a media climate that focuses purely on emotional conflicts and covers politics akin to a sporting match, the 2026 MWC outcome was scored a political victory for Trump. The USA Today ran a column with the headline “Give Trump credit for the USA getting the World Cup” implying he was the main reason for securing the hosting rights and boldly claiming that critics “were off base in predicting how Trump’s bombastic ways and controversial policies would

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affect things” (Rogers, 2018b). The column drew comparison between Trump’s accomplishments and those of former President Barack Obama – one of Trump’s favourite targets to oppose, vilify, and insult – who went to bat hard for his hometown of Chicago as it tried to stage the 2016 Olympics and came out strongly in support of the US World Cup campaign for 2018 and 2022: As this all relates to sports, scorecards are appropriate. And as much as Obama had charisma that stretched far beyond American borders, that never translated into votes for big athletic extravaganzas. On that front it’s Trump 2, Obama 0 (Rogers, 2018b) If you wanted big sports events to come to America, the article concluded, “then having Trump in the White House is no impediment” (ibid.). As Trump’s final act, Trump hosted a public gathering of world football power elite – including FIFA President Gianni Infantino and US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro – in the White House Oval Office on 28 August 2018, in front of a cadre of international press. It offered Infantino and Cordeiro an opportunity to personally praise Trump’s determined contribution to securing hosting rights with the latter commenting: Let me also thank you, Mr. President, for your help and support throughout the campaign – your written assurances and warranties. I think without out that we wouldn’t have won quite such a convincing victory. So thank you very much for that. (quoted in White House Press Briefing, 2018) The event was full of smiles and handshakes with Infantino presenting Trump a personalised replica football kit with “Trump 45” on the back and gifting him a stack of red cards for when he wants to kick someone out from the Oval Office. Almost immediately, Trump jokingly pulled a red card on the international press in front of him as he playfully barbed with them while dodging pointed questions about Mexico paying for a border wall and whether Google should be investigated (White House Press Briefing, 2018). As the interview reached a conclusion, one reporter from the international press asked Trump whether he’s thought about the fact he wouldn’t actually be president during the 2026 MWC. He responded: “I won’t be here. I won’t be here. Maybe they’ll extend my term because I know [the media] would love to see it – (laughter).” (quoted in White House Press Briefing, 2018).

The geopolitics of football aspiration In some respects, Trump’s support of the 2026 MWC bid is rather perplexing given his habitually adversarial approach to sport. As an articulation

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of his conjunctural populism, Trump has mobilised sport as a proxy for his platform-defining populist goal of Making America Great Again – a mantra that infers a condition of contemporary crisis in need of resolution. Trump’s combative approach to sport faithfully replicates his populist politicking, fabricating a series of intersectional moral panics around race, religion, gender, and national politics. If Trumpism’s schismatic populism scapegoats the various elites (political, corporate, scientific, intellectual, academic) deemed responsible for nurturing the global, multicultural, and liberal progressive aspects of modern life, why emerge as a convincing actant in securing hosting rights of an international sport spectacle ensnared with the exact corporate, institutional, and political elites despised and denounced by Trumpism? Certainly, Trump would consider the distinctly European and un-American sport of football as an oppositional force to his rightwing political project, unbecoming of American national character and aspirations, and whose growth American fellow alt-right ideologue Ann Coulter once attacked with the withering comment that “any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay” (quoted in Pompi, 2014). We argue that, on the contrary: Trump’s involvement in securing hosting rights for the 2026 MWC reinforced both the ideological/ affective and material/processual dimensions of Trumpism; and the Trump assemblage, which “territorializes around media spectacles and political ‘wins’” was articulated in/through his MWC involvement (Steinberg et al., 2018, p. 208). In his public sentiments expressing support for the 2026 MWC bid, Trump was able to advance the ideological and affective elements of Trumpism by establishing a compelling definition of the crisis and formulating a proposed conjunctural resolution. Any form of authoritarian populism revolves around an imagining of embodied threats to the nation (Laclau, 1977). Trump’s public statements in the lead-up to the FIFA Congress where the final votes would be cast constructed a crisis against an oppositional force both real and perceived. In a narrow sense, the very real threat to American nationalism came from Morocco, a majority Muslim nation from a region that Trump once derogatorily referred to as consisting of “shithole countries.” Trump defines the crisis with his Rose Garden threats toward African nations that: “we will be watching you closely” if you extend support for Morocco’s rival bid. Morocco bid organiser and primary United Bid critic Moncef Belkhayat emerged a representative embodiment of Morocco and the African region; a threat to American cultural dominance in the sporting realm. The framing of Morocco, other African nations, and its representatives as a distinct and antagonistic group works to reinforce Trump’s exclusionary pro-white and anti-immigrant racial hierarchy of nations he imposes upon the world. In this way, Trump’s ethnonationalist populist logic is realised through the (racial) stigmatisation of Morocco and other African nations as a real threat to US sovereignty.

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Broadly, Trump’s public support for the United Bid – decrying the “shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the US bid” – was a characteristic extension of authoritarian populism aimed at imagining a conspiratorial threat against the nation. The precise opposition matters less than the imagined threat to the US as a sovereign and independent nation. In following up this public denouncement with a statement begging, “why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)” Trump taps a form of transactional nationalism, pursuing American national interest and supremacy while expressing disdain for the globalism represented by an institution such as the United Nations. It was a pro-nationalist posturing vowing to secure and defend American interests under embodied and imagined threats of globalism and multilateralism. This is all rather consistent with Trump who is an “emotional predator” constructing internally and externally derived anxieties through his variant of political populism and positioning himself as the principal antidote to them (Grossberg, 2018). The conjunctural resolution to the crisis was a vote for the United Bid. Ironically, the United Bid became inseparable from Trump politics and was thusly framed as an ideological advancement of Trumpism – despite all efforts by bid organisers to promote an integrated vision of “United as One” and disarticulate the bid from the Trump assemblage. Although Trump’s conjunctural populism centres on a manufactured crisis, in the case of the 2026 MWC, Trump was the conjunctural crisis that needed managing. The ideologies and affective investments enacted by Trump related to the 2026 MWC were subsequently materialised through the policies and processual dimensions of the Trump administration in the behind-the-scenes lobbying effort. Authoritarian populism materialises in anti-democratic, anti-elite, antipluralist approaches to foreign affairs that seek to both advance the nationalistic and ideological views of populist leader(s) and destabilise/disrupt the global geopolitical order by prioritising “national interest” over institutional building and multilateralism (Galston, 2018). The extensive and largely unseen lobbying effort by the Trump administration demonstrates the extent to which Trump politicises sport in a material and processual manner to promote a nationalist politics and destabilise the geopolitical (football) order. Trump’s rhetoric and polices about immigrants, African countries, and Muslims became a significant obstruction to a successful United Bid. In order to secure MWC hosting rights, Trump administration officials granted specific government guarantees and written exemptions that foreign teams, officials, and fans will face no travel restrictions on entering the US for MWC matches in 2026 if their countries qualify for the tournament. Although it is not unusual for FIFA to receive letters of support from the respective governments, Trump’s discrete policy exceptions and government guarantees run counter to the anti-immigration and nationalist conjunctural populism of Trump. That these diplomatic efforts were discreet political negotiations reflects the manner in which authoritarian

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populists negotiate (often contradictory) pro-nationalist positions outside public view. And even if the lobby efforts seemingly contradict the racial and nationalist ideologies of Trumpism, the material and processual aspects of the MWC presented a far greater opportunity to advance his racial and national political project. In addition to personally granting policy exemptions and political assurances to FIFA, the processual effort provided the Trump administration extended lines of communication with more than 150 national representatives over a four-month period (Goff, 2018b). In some cases, these critical lines of communication extended the Trump administration an opportunity for its authoritarian populism to gain political traction among detractors to advance its anti-establishment, pro-nationalist politics. The continental partnership of the United Bid opened multilateral communication with longtime allies Mexico and Canada whose relations with the US became strained at a crucial time when the Trump administration was in foreign policy negotiations over replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, negotiating the construction of a 1,000+ mile border wall, and dealing with the fallout from new immigration policies. In other instances, the lobbying effort behind the 2026 MWC allowed for renewed bilateral diplomatic relations with anti-democratic, non-Western governments in the Middle East that have a long history of human rights abuses and violations at home and abroad. Kushner’s meetings with Saudi Arabia over the 2026 MWC coincided with a signed agreement by the Trump administration to provide military arms to the Kingdom. Thus, the material and processual effect of the Trump administration’s lobbying efforts are seen as extensions of the apparatus of Trump neoliberal state and Trump conjunctural assemblage. This convergence of the ideological/affective and material/processual of the Trump assemblage is aimed at advancing a racial and national political project and disrupting the dominant (geo)political order. According to Laclau (1977, p. 147), the typical features of populism include: “[H]ostility to the status quo, mistrusts of traditional politicians, and appeal to the people and not to classes, anti-intellectualism.” Authoritarian populism is a disruptive political force and determination that agitates hostility to the status quo and frames traditional liberal democracies as apparent enemies and threats to the nation. It propagates political and social conflict in western societies through the destabilisation and realignment of historical geopolitical (football) networks and erstwhile continental (football) partnerships. FIFA’s reforms aimed at bringing about greater transparency and an apolitical voting process by FIFA including all votes to be made public, resulted in some nations using their vote as declarative political statement for/against the Trump administration. Despite transparency being a generally positive development from FIFA to eliminate, in part, the secretive political manoeuvres of populist leaders, the bid process for the MWC continues to offer political leaders a platform for geopolitics. In this case, the

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articulation of a form of authoritarian populism that manufactures consent for their position of leadership and re-form with anti-establishment and antidemocratic governments. With regard to the 2026 MWC, multilateral Western European allies expressed their objections to Trump by either abstaining from voting in the case of Spain or voting against the US in protest, as did France and Italy. By the same token, previously adversarial nations saw the FIFA vote as an opportunity to align their authoritarian tendencies with those of the Trump administration as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain voted surprisingly for the United Bid. This suggests the new FIFA voting procedure not only further politicises the voting process, but also makes available the endgame of authoritarian populists at advancing anti-establishment and anti-democratic politics and disrupting geopolitical alliances of Western Democracies and the multilateralism of the United Nations. Despite these very important discursive/affective and material/processual outcomes, Trump’s determined interest in securing hosting rights for the 2026 MWC suggests it was about one thing: winning. In a fashion synonymous with his conjunctural populism, Trump approaches contentious sport issues as sites for imposing his own will and worldview against any competing positions: Instead of being driven by political ideology, the Trump assemblage territorializes around media spectacles and political “wins”. This produces a rhizomatic and unpredictable form, most clearly in the infamous 4 am tweets that contradict official statements given in a press conference (Steinberg et al., 2018, p. 208) Indeed, Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan centred on a rather abstracted simple celebration of winning – against political opponents, against the media, and against the establishment: “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to get sick and tired of winning” (quoted in Fraser, 2016). Trump’s reality-show presidency frames all political engagements as one big televised gameshow, successfully blending politics and performance in a carefully orchestrated media spectacle. Recognising the public’s fascination with Trump as a winning celebrity politician, it matters not that Trump will not be president when the 2026 MWC is staged nor that his written guarantees and assurances are blatant contradictions to his racialised immigration policies. Trump’s dogged pursuit of the 2026 MWC was driven by a desire for another political win – being able to take political and emotional credit for a signature (policy) achievement despite the conciliatory and contradictory policy exceptions required to do so. It also allowed him to tacitly gain success where former political opponents had failed before him. It was hardly surprising that Obama lost in his bid to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago in 2016 and the MWC in 2018 and 2022. What matters to Trump, and other authoritarian populists like him, is the opportunity to

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use sport – in this case the 2026 MWC – to celebrate their populist achievements and receive flattering coverage in national media. Therefore, securing the hosting rights for the 2026 MWC offered an opportunity for Trump to celebrate a political victory, garner praise from political opponents, and soften and humanise a hard exterior by bantering with sporting bureaucrats such as Infantino and Cordeiro at the White House in front of the international press.

Contradictions of Trump (and of populism) As we have argued elsewhere (Andrews, 2019), Trump is a sporting polemic whose racial and national politicising of sport and athlete activists is used to further his right-wing authoritarian populism. The nature of Trump’s public engagement with sport has taken a habitually adversarial approach, using it as a key modality for imposing his own political will and worldview against political opponents. In the case of the 2026 MWC, Trump mobilised a form of popular (sport) culture as a means of expressing a legitimacy of the State and a proxy for his platform-defining populist goal of Making America Great Again. Not only was this achieved through the typical discursive/affective dimensions of the Trump assemblage, but also in a material/processual manner toward a greater intention of furthering a racial and national populist project aimed at the disruption of the multilateralism of the established geopolitical order and Liberal democracy consensus. These efforts support a Trump assemblage concerned with a hyperreal mediated spectacle aimed at scoring political “wins” and extending his populist appeal. If Trump’s prolonged engagement with the 2026 MWC was ultimately an attempt to extend his populism, we must consider precisely which constituents are interpellated by the MWC’s incorporation in, and extension of, the Trump assemblage. At first glance, those hailed by a joint-hosted, international sport mega-event such as the MWC – one that represents the brand of establishment politics and globalism that Trumpism opposes – would seemingly contradict Trump’s core political constituency of white workingclass voters, roused by the inflammatory appeals of the Trump assemblage. However, supporters so moved by cultural and economic anxieties of Trumpism – those supporters hailed by Trump’s previous sporting antagonisms around the racialised and nationalist discourses of anthem kneeling – are already committed to, and apologetic of, Trump’s inherent contradictions and comportment. Therefore, an international sport mega-event that promotes global unity and strengthens geopolitical relations will either be largely ignored by Trump’s most ardent supporters, or excused as a cultural site for the advancement of Trump’s nationalist way of “putting America first”. In this way, the 2026 MWC represents another illustration of the Trumpian contradictions that are consistent with, and constitutive of, the Trump assemblage.

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Sport is not only leveraged by authoritarian populists to strengthen appeal among current supporters but used to grow and normalise its power and politics among new constituents. We suggest that Trump’s politicisation of the 2026 MWC extended his populist appeal to resonate with an underacknowledged and often ignored political constituency courted by the Trump assemblage: the Soccer Dad. As Americans intensify their practices of consumption under the auspices of the contemporary suburban lifestyle, football has been successfully interwoven into the privileged lives of middle and upper-middle-class lifestyle assemblage. This phenomenon has seen the introduction of class-based identity politics of the Soccer Mom in contemporary suburban America – a group of predominantly white, uppermiddle-class women who find soccer as an appropriate activity for their sons and daughters to satisfy upper-middle-class expectations of bodily practice (Swanson, 2009). An equivalent phenomenon has been the emergent, American, uppermiddle-class phenomenon of the Soccer Dad – an assemblage of suburban males who possess an aspirational view of soccer’s potential for social, economic, and physical capital for their sons and daughters and embrace the consumerist sensibilities of the contemporary global soccer industry. The Soccer Dad’s identity formation is constructed around the normalisation of football as an extension of the upper-middle-class habitus that incorporates football into all aspects of life where their sons and daughters are participants-turned-consumers. The Soccer Dad prioritises consuming the international football matches, leagues, and tournaments on television, and spends extravagantly to attend domestic and international football matches in pursuit of reproducing their upper-middle-class soccer lifestyle assemblage. As a voting bloc, the Soccer Dad is viewed as an important cohort of college-educated, moderate Republican voters in suburban swing districts that are fiscally conservative and socially liberal but are perhaps sceptical of the incendiary racial and nationalistic claims of Trumpism. An appeal to the suburban Soccer Dad is seen as pivotal if Trump is to maintain his political position of leadership where suburban voters swing-districts have emerged as the crucial demographic for courting by political campaigns in the 2020 election. In this way, Trump’s involvement with the 2026 MWC advanced a suburban populism aimed at appealing to a comparatively affluent and predominantly college-educated, white constituency in suburban swing districts who identify with the consumerist impulses of “the global game” as an articulation of their upper-middle-class sporting lifestyle assemblage. The emergence of a suburban populism within the wider Trump assemblage articulates the contradictory and multifarious nature of Trump’s authoritarian populism. As evidenced by his public appearances at mass spectator sporting events during his 2020 Presidential election campaign, Trump began to positively mobilise sport to further his popular appeal in this regard. Although this sudden interest in sport portends a new approach

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to positively mobilise sport, the manner by which Trump exploits public sporting events for political gain – as a discursive and affective modality – remains largely consistent with his earlier approach of negative mobilisation of sport for advancing white identity politics and nationalist discourses. However, Trump’s involvement with the 2026 MWC presages a future in which Trump engages with sport in material and processual ways to simultaneously further a mass popular appeal among a more diverse and expansive body politic and advance an anti-democratic and anti-establishment politics. While this body politic or constituency may not identify ideologically with the racialised and nationalist discourses of Trumpism, it supports Trump politically in the public domain – or at the very least is wilfully ignorant of his harmful rhetoric and policy impacts on others – out of (ir)rational self-interest affecting their narrow material realities; whether they are regressive tax-cuts, businesses-friendly deregulation, or in this case, the staging of a global sport mega-event. In other words, Trump’s mobilisation of sport in material and processual ways portends a (sporting) future where he, and other authoritarian populists like him, can mobilise sporting discourse for political ends, while offering more pernicious and insidious political agendas aimed at disrupting the geopolitical order.

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252 Adam S. Beissel and David L. Andrews Page, S. & Dittmer, J. 2015. Assembling political parties. Geography Compass, 9 (5), pp. 251–261. Panja, T. & Das, A. 2018. World Cup 2026: United States, Canada and Mexico win bid to be host. The New York Times, 13 June. Available at: https://www.nytimes. com/2018/06/13/sports/world-cup/fifa-2026-vote-north-america-morocco.html (accessed 8 October 2018). Pascoe, C. 2017. Who is a real man? The gender of Trumpism. Masculinities & Social Change 6 (2), pp. 119–141. Pompi, J. 2014. Ann Coulter: any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay. Washington Times, 26 June. Available at: https://www. washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/26/ann-coulter-any-growing-interest-soccer-canonly-b/ (accessed 18 December 2019). Reilly, K. 2016. Here are all the times Donald Trump insulted Mexico. Time Magazine, 31 August. Available at: https://time.com/4473972/donald-trump-&/. Rogers, M. 2018a. Did Trump violate FIFA rules and put World Cup bid in danger with tweet? USA Today, 14 December. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/ story/sports/soccer/2018/04/27/did-trump-violate-fifa-rules-and-put-world-cup-biddanger-tweet/558383002/ (accessed 18 December 2019). Rogers, M. 2018b. World Cup: give Trump credit in U.S. getting Olympics and now World Cup. USA Today, 15 December. Available at: https://www.usatoday.com/ story/sports/2018/06/13/2026-world-cup-donald-trump-usa/697199002/ (accessed 10 July 2019). Schad, T. 2018. Donald Trump touts his efforts in successful World Cup bid, thanks Robert Kraft for advice. USA Today, 10 December. Available at: https:// www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/worldcup/2018/06/15/donald-trump-toutsworld-cup-2026-bid-thanks-robert-kraft/704433002/ (accessed 10 July 2019). Steinberg, P. E., Page, S., Dittmer, J. et al. 2018. Reassessing the Trump presidency, one year on. Political Geography, 62, pp. 207–215. Swanson, L. 2009. Complicating the “soccer mom” the cultural politics of forming class-based identity, distinction, and necessity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 80 (2), pp. 345–354. Thomas, A. & Bishara, M. 2018. ‘Trump factor helping Morocco,’ says rival 2026 World Cup bid member. CNN, 12 June. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/ 2018/06/12/football/trump-morocco-world-cup-russia-2018-bid-intl-spt/index.html (accessed 18 December 2019). Trump, D. 2015. Congratulations to Tom Brady on yet another great victory – Tom is my friend and a total winner! Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/ status/639480265841225729 (accessed 18 December 2019). Trump, D. 2017a. What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots. Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B are total winners. Wow! Available at: https://twitter.com/ realdonaldtrump/status/828447350200926212?lang=en (accessed 18 December 2019). Trump, D. 2017b. So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear! Available at: https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/912276850793213952 (accessed 18 December 2019). Trump, D. 2018a. The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 FIFA MWC. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries

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when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)? Available at: https:// twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/989650212380692480?lang=en (accessed 18 December 2019). Trump, D. 2018b. The U.S., together with Mexico and Canada, just got the World Cup. Congratulations - a great deal of hard work! Available at: https://twitter.com/ realdonaldtrump/status/1006866089110892545?lang=en (accessed 18 December 2019). United 2026 Bid Book. 2018. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Available at: https://img.fifa.com/image/upload/w3yjeu7dadt5erw26wmu.pdf (accessed 8 October 2018). White House Press Briefing. 2018. Remarks by President Trump, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro on the 2026 World Cup. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-presidenttrump-fifa-president-gianni-infantino-u-s-soccer-president-carlos-cordeiro-2026-worldcup/ (accessed 11 September 2019).

Chapter 16

Afterword A sociological future for populism? Bryan C. Clift and Alan Tomlinson

Social sciences have not ignored the populist phenomenon, and the term features in authoritative dictionaries in politics and sociology in the Oxford University Press reference list. In 2003, the 2nd edition of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (McLean & McMillan, 2003) was published and covered the origins of political populism in the movement made up of disenchanted farmers in the USA in the 1870s. The entry also referenced a late 19th-century democratic and collectivist movement in Russia. In a longer and more speculative commentary, the entry defined “populism” – whose meaning has generally been derogatory – as “support for the preferences of ordinary people,” and identified populist beliefs as those defending the “little man against change seen as imposed by powerful outsiders” (McLean & McMillan, 2003, p. 427). Most populism, it was also asserted, is anti-intellectual in tone. These are useful definitional overviews, though 15 years later the entry in the 4th edition of the dictionary (Brown et al., 2018) was virtually identical, despite the availability of a widening range of examples of populist phenomena that might have been recognised. In sociology, the situation was very much the same. Oxford University Press published the 4th edition of A Dictionary of Sociology (Scott, 2015) in online format, and the entry on populism was word-for-word the same as in the previous, 3rd edition of 2005 (Scott & Marshall, 2005). The sociological focus, after acknowledgement of the roots of institutional populist politics in the USA in the 1890s, recognised the prominence of the term populism within Marxist and neo-Marxist circles, influenced by the work of Ernesto Laclau; and noted the impact of populism as a political force in developing countries. Practices in everyday life precede academic conceptualising, and concepts should continue to emerge from observable social relationships and sociocultural formations. The studies in this volume have challenged over-selective or ossified uses of the populist concept, and demonstrated the currency of the term for contemporary cultural analysis. In contributions to Part 1 of the book the sociological perspicacity of populism as a concept was questioned, but also shown to have real currency in our understanding of discourses surrounding the sport mega-event, popular television formats, and the rock festival. An overview of work on the gendered nature of populist phenomena, and a



critical analysis of selected male and female populist figures, recognised the need for further research into the gender dimensions of populism. In Part 2, contributors confirmed in historical and contemporary studies of particular nation states the hold that populist leaders have had on public consciousness, from both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum; and in several cases explored the use of public events in populist constructions – dance as well as sport, and music-based forms of leisure. In the third and final part of the book the focus upon the populist triumphs, excesses and abuses of the US President Donald Trump demonstrated incontrovertibly the power of populist rhetoric and discourse as employed and appropriated in the sphere of sport and leisure contexts and settings. Given the relative absence or marginality of concepts and theories of populism from the interpretive toolbox of sociology, based on the work presented in this book we identify four major signposts, priority areas for further work into the populist dimension of sport, leisure, and cultural forms. First, the continued usefulness of Stuart Hall’s innovative formulation of authoritarian populism, and its applicability to the analysis of sport-related forms of populist ideology, is confirmed in numerous studies – both theoretically, and empirically. In Chapter 1, it was observed how, in ground-breaking theoretical work in the sociology of sport such as John Hargreaves’s (1986) Sport, Power and Culture, populism was barely acknowledged as relevant to the topic and the analysis. Yet in a separate piece, Hargreaves wrote of the centrality of an “authoritarian populist intervention” (Hargreaves, 1985, p. 224) to the political project of the UK’s Conservative government led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. And with this as the framing, overarching concept he went on to identify cultural consequences for social and cultural life; in sport, for instance, a recommodification of sport and recreation, repositioning them as a responsibility of the individual and/or the family; and shifting the role and mission of the Sports Council so that its priorities were distanced further and further away from its earlier democratic principles. Hargreaves was working with theoretical and interpretive ideas here, and he did not offer any deep corroborating evidence that these were indeed dominant trends of the time. But his theoretical framing can now be seen, in the wake of the triumph of neo-liberal social and political projects, as prescient. And Stuart Hall’s conceptualisation of authoritarian populism has reaffirmed its analytical value to any adequate understanding of the populist base of political figures such as Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump, as well as predecessors such as Benito Mussolini and Silvio Berlusconi. One could add to the list Vladimir Putin, who has combined a ruthless appropriation of state power in the Russian Federation with a machismo physicality as he topples giant opponents on the wrestling mat, rides bareback across the countryside, roars at the head of a biker group, and steers fighter planes in the air, every action with a stronger dose of male-chauvinist derring do as he openly acknowledges the marginality of his wife – and, thus, the rest of Russian womanhood – in Russia’s public culture.

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There is therefore – our second main signpost – a need for gender and feminist theory to further unpick and analyse the patriarchal, male-dominated dimensions of populist practice and ideology. The machismo of a Donald Trump or Boris Johnson – or what Berlant (2017) called Big Man-style sovereign sovereignty – was clearly exposed in a critique of their media profiles and their exploitation of television formats. Sport, leisure, and popular culture are prime sites for further revealing work on gendered populisms. Feminist contributions in the form of a critique of populist discourse underpinning patriarchal models of sport cultures would deepen our sociological understanding of the ways in which gendered populist cultural practices are both generated and reproduced. Studies in the book have shown how machismo permeates populist politics in a variety of national contexts, in cultural institutions such as television and media, as well as in more formal political settings. In this work, female and feminist politicians suffer the abuse of populist male prejudices, often through the organised misogyny of the alt-right that positions itself as (white) men’s salvation and led by champions of neoliberal beliefs in self-empowerment, personal responsibility, and consumption as a means of individual success (Graff, Kapur, & Walters, 2019; Dignam & Rohlinger, 2019). Several of the studies in the book show the extent to which right-wing male-dominated forms of populism persist, and also on a more progressive note how less conservative forms of populist-oriented policy and practice have been led by women cultural-political activists, in South American cases for instance. Conceptually, Mudde and Kaltwasser (2015) suggest that populism has no specific relation to gender. Rather, they contend, as do we and several others, that analysis of populism and gender should be considered within cultural, geographical, and ideological contexts; a wide scope of gender and populism in sport, leisure, and popular culture needs exploration. Third, the further conceptualisation of populism in relation to concepts and theories of discourse and ideology could provide the basis of a coherent notion of “sportive populism.” This is a conceptual challenge and would be a vital contribution to the field. In essence, this challenge constitutes a potential deconstruction of the well-established and enduring notion of sport as a cohering force, as a potential outlet for the expression of a purportedly inclusive collectivity or community. The tension sport brings about in this challenge is evident in a range of areas, including: social structures and forces amongst the political, economic, technological, social, and cultural; identities and subjectivities (e.g., gender, sexuality, race, and class); spaces at the levels of the community, city, nation, and globe; the various sites and expressions through which these social phenomena manifest (e.g., media and communications, mega-events, policy, governance, and everyday practices); and the conceptual tools used to explore social phenomena (e.g., theories of nationalism, soft power, globalisation, spectacle, gender, sexuality, race, anti-racist, class, etc.). Sport itself has no essence, it is itself a social construction. As is the case for other cultural forms, it is made,



produced and reproduced according to the conditions of a time and place and the combination of cultural, economic, and political forces. It may nevertheless be argued that sport can indeed bring and hold people together beyond the moment of, say, the national triumph. It was remarkable how many voices seemed to unite within the United Kingdom during the London 2102 Olympic Games, once British athletes had started to win medals. Writer, poet, and literary critic Blake Morrison (Morrison, 2012) at the end of the Games recalled overcoming his scepticism about the event: “I’m embarrassed to admit how many times my eyes have welled up … The Games have been the most inclusive event in Britain in my lifetime.” London Mayor Boris Johnson went into overdrive in the Daily Telegraph, writing after the Opening Ceremony that “I reckon we have knocked Beijing into a cocked hat,” and after the Games that “London has put on a dazzling face to the global audience. For the first time since the end of Empire, it truly feels like the capital of the world” (Tomlinson, 2013, p. 54). Such events or moments are of course short-lived, and however much prophets of, and apologists for, cultural legacies of sport mega-events insist to the contrary, the populist-oriented celebration of such moments remains fragile and momentary. Yet sport continues to lend itself to populist rhetoric and discourse of this kind: the assumed we, the purported collectivity, unity-indifference. A concept of “sportive populism” can offer many such critical reinterpretations. Fourth, studies of “sportive populism” could be complemented by more extensive research on the populist dimensions of other popular cultural forms; music, as several studies in this book have shown, is one such example. More research could certainly be usefully done on the populist tendencies of popular music, in progressive as well as reactionary cases. Justin Patch observed during US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign that “Trump’s playlist performs contemporary populism par excellence. It is a gathering point for individuals who feel alienated from the political process and abandoned by establishment republicans, the Tea Party, and the Christian right” (Patch, 2016, p. 380). Musical forms are polysemic as studies in this book have demonstrated, and open to use and exploitation by charismatic orators and performers. Yet they are also powerful sources of critical and oppositional intervention. The sport–music interface is a potentially productive direction for future research into the connection between politics, consumption and popular cultural practices, and on the varieties of populist discourse across the political spectrum that music can express and articulate. Paris Aslanidis (2016) argues that a recognition of the centrality of discourse is essential to a more adequate clarification of populist concepts and theory than is found in prominent and recurrent debates in the field. He rejects the interpretation of populism as an ideology, as in the case of Cas Mudde’s wellestablished proposition that populism constitutes a “thin-centred ideology”

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(Mudde, 2020a). Instead, and following Laclau, he argues for a conceptualisation of populism as a discourse, also bringing Erving Goffman’s relatively neglected model of framework analysis into the picture. To treat populism as ideology, he argues, has the unintended consequence of “ushering an unneeded amount of normative baggage into the study of populist phenomena” (Aslanidis, 2016, p. 101). We agree that a focus on populism as discourse is the way forward, but also recognise that discourses operate in ideological ways and contexts of power dynamics and relationships. Populist rhetoric and populist political strategies underpin ideological constructs and so affect the fundamental power dynamics of societies and the contours of cultural formations. The sociological and social scientific task and challenge is to demonstrate where and how populist discourse takes hold, operating on the related levels of the national, the international, and the supra-national. The studies collected in this volume have sought, through focused analyses of populist discourse as manifest in sporting and popular cultural practices, moments, and events, to broaden our understanding of the making, remaking, and contestation of populism. Such a project widens the relevance of the concept of populism, taking the kernel of the concept from its pedigree in political science and opening up a set of sociological questions concerning the cultural politics of sport, leisure, and popular culture in the contemporary world, and the relationship of everyday life to the cultural shape and power dynamics of particular societies. This is not mere academic navel-gazing, and mainstream commentary during the COVID-19 pandemic has framed the populism debate in essentially sociological terms (Eichengreen, 2020). The eminent theorist of populism Cas Mudde argues that populist ideologies and political regimes are too deeply embedded, yet varied, to be “killed” by the pandemic (Mudde, 2020b). This book is conceived as a stimulus to consideration of such real-world issues and problems, opening up further questions and research directions that can underpin a sociological future for the conceptualisation of populist phenomena; and confirming the importance of bringing sport, leisure, and popular culture centre stage in this interpretive narrative.

References Aslanidis, P. 2016. Is populism an ideology? A refutation and a new perspective. Political Studies, 64, 88–104. Berlant, L. 2017. Big Man. Social Text Online, 19 January. Bergson, H. 1998. Creative Evolution (1911). Translated by Mitchell, A. New York: Dover. Brown, G. W., McLean, I., & McMillan, A. 2018. A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations (4th ed., online). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Dignam, P. A. & Rohlinger, D. A., 2019. Misogynistic men online: How the red pill helped elect trump. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44 (3), pp. 589–612.



Eichengreen, B. 2020. Will sky-high unemployment lead to authoritarianism or progress? The Guardian, 27 March, https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/ 2020/mar/30/economic-disaster-could-foster-authoritarianism-or-offer-a-historicopportunity?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other. Graff, A., Kapur, R., & Walters, S. D. 2019. Introduction: gender and the rise of the global right. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44 (3), pp. 541–560. Hargreaves, J. 1985. From social democracy to authoritarian populism: State intervention in sport and physical recreation in contemporary Britain. Leisure Studies, 4 (2), pp. 219–226. Hargreaves, J. 1986. Sport, Power and Culture: A Social and Historical Analysis of Popular Sports in Britain. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. McLean, I. & McMillan, A. (eds.). 2003. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Mitchell, J. 1975. Edith and the Kingpin. In The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Lyrics © Sony/ ATV Music Publishing LLC, Joni Mitchell/Crazy Crow Music/Siquomb Music. Morrison, B. 2012. The Olympic triumph: astonishing, moving and magnificent. The Guardian, 11 August. Mudde, C. 2020a. Populism in the Twenty-first Century: An Illiberal Democratic Response to Undemocratic Liberalism (The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania: The Andrea Mitchell Centre for the Study of Democracy). Mudde, C. 2020b. Will the coronavirus kill populism? Don’t count on it. The Guardian20 March, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/27/ coronavirus-populism-trump-politics-response. Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C. R., 2015. Vox populi or vox masculini? Populism and gender in Northern Europe and South America. Patterns of Prejudice, 49 (1–2), pp. 16–36. Patch, J. 2016. Notes on deconstructing the populism: Music on the campaign trail, 2012 and 2016. American Music, 34 (3), 365–401. Scott, J. 2015. A Dictionary of Sociology (4th ed., online). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Scott, J. & Marshall, G. (eds.). 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Tomlinson, A. 2013. The best Olympics never. In Perryman, M. (ed.) London 2012. How Was it for Us?London: Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 47–61.


10-Minute Life Coach, The (Harrold) 60 AC Milan 102, 111–112 aestheticisation of politics 32–33 aesthetic sublime, of sport “megaevents” 167 African American militants 9 Alessandri, Arturo 157 Al Jazeera 3 Allen, Tom 57 Amnesty International 77, 79, 84 Anderson, Benedict 4, 103 Andrews, David 205, 209, 224 animal blood sports 29, 30 anti-intellectualism 58, 186, 226, 246 antipluralism 10 Anything is Possible (Michelle Dewberry) 61 Apprentice, The: You’re Fired 57 Apprentice, The 61–62, 64, 66–68; award nominations 57; description 56–57, 61, 66; dissemination of populism on 58; McGuigan on 57; ruthless aggressiveness on 66–67; self-marketing and 61; Trump’s rudeness to losers 66 Aquarela do Brasil (Brazilian song) 122, 128–130 Argentina: Argentina-Peru football scandal 161; broadcasting rights of football 157; Eva Peron’s sport’s related populism 17; football match against England 158; Fútbol Argentino film 159; historic first football match 156; Isabel Martínez de Peron’s presidency 147; patrimonialisation of sport in 164; populism of Juan Domingo Peron 27, 158–159; River Plate’s Monumental, stadium 157, 160; Roca’s presidency 155; Sáenz Peña’s

presidency 155; sports-related policy 156–157; Vélez Sarsfield football club 161; World Cup (1978) 160 armed interventions 34 Ascension Day speech (Mussolini; 1927) 104 asylum seekers 34 Aung San Suu Kyi 77, 79 Austin, Tavon 191 authoritarian populism: challenges to 28, 39; in Great Britain 7, 11; Hall’s analysis of 11, 27, 187, 207, 215; political effectiveness of 194; of Thatcher 27; of Trump 19, 187, 190, 193–194, 207, 213–214, 235, 244–250; Washington Post article on 3, 11, 27 Avril, Cliff 203 Bailey, Stedman 191 Balandier, G. 81–82 Baldwin, Doug 203, 209, 211–212 Bandler, Richard 60 Banet-Weiser, Sarah 59 Barker, Tim 9 Barnes, C. 78 Barroso, Ari 129 Barthes, Roland 52 Bayer, Osvaldo 159 Belichick, Bill 224 Belson, K. 223–224 Bennett, Michael 193, 203, 205, 208, 212–213, 216 Berlin, Irving 227 Berlusconi, Silvio 111–114; Lauro as prototype of 102; media empire of 22, 111; National Association of Forza Italia! party 111–112; purchase/ exploitation of AC Milan 102,

Index 111–113; roles as primo Milanista/ Primo Ministro 112; Una Storia Italiana (An Italian Story) biographical brochure 113 Betz, H. G. 168 Be Your Own Life Coach: How to Take Control of Your Life and Achieve Your Wildest Dreams (Harrold) 64–65 Bhartoya Janata Party (BJP), India 56 Black Lives Matter movement 4, 68, 191, 193–194, 224 Black Lives Matter Toronto 4 Black Panther Party 224 Black Voters Matter Fund 68 Blair, Tony 63, 168 blame games 45, 89–99 Blatter, Joseph “Sepp” 45 blood sports 29, 30 Bolasco, S. 111–112 Boldin, Anquan 203, 208–209, 212, 216 Bolsa Família initiative (Brazil) 138, 143 Bolsonaro, Jair 37, 56 Bono 18, 74, 76–84 Bossi, Umberto 119 Bourdieu, Pierre 51–52 Boyes, Carolyn 64 Brady, Tom 195–196, 224 Brannagan, P. M. 176 Brazil: Aquarela do Brasil song and 122, 128–130; Bolsonaro’s leadership 37, 56; Conselho Nacional de Desportos (National Council on Sport) 158; corruption in 97; defeat of Peru football team 161; defeat of Poland football team 161; FIFA Congress in Rio de Janeiro 44; football teams of 132; Games of the XXXI Olympiad (2016) 122, 129–130, 136–138, 140–141, 144–151; hosting of 2014 FIFA World Cup 138; impeachment of Rousseff 136, 142–148; “inferiority complex” of 158; low ranking of female politicians 147; Lula da Silva’s populist presidency 125–128; male-dominated politics 147–151; music for the Olympics 122; Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, or Workers’ Party) 125, 137–151; populism in 27, 37, 93; practices in Curitiba 4; presidency of Cardoso 138; return of machismo politics 147–151; return to state-populist machine 162–165; samba-exaltação


(national samba) of 13, 122, 128, 129; sport, music, and populism 27, 37, 122–133; use of sport to fight ideological battles 37; Vargas’s populist presidency 18–19, 27, 123–125; victory over Peru football team 161; visit by Argentina soccer team 155; see also Lula da Silva, Luiz Inácio; Vargas, Gétulio Dornelles Breitbart website 61, 195 Brexit 3, 61, 69 Britt, Kenny 191 Brown, LaTosha 68 Brown, Michael 191 bull fighting 29 Burns, C. Delise 13 Bush, George W. 236 cable news platforms 34 Cameron, David 169 Canada: Dragon’s Den television show 58; hosting of the 2026 World Cup 19; Pride Parade 2016 4; United Bid participation 19, 235, 237–242, 246 capitalist oligarchy 34, 38 Cardoso, Fernando Henrique 138 Carrington, Ben 214, 224, 234–235 Casaleggio, Gianroberto 114 Castro, Fidel 18 Chakrabortty, Aditya 57 charismatic authority 75–76 Charter of Sport (Carta dello Sport) (1928) 103 Chatziefstathiou, Dikaia 47 Chávez, Hugo 10, 27, 163 Chile 157 Christian Democratic Party-Italian Communist Party (DC-PCI) 107 Christian manliness model (Charles Kingsley) 6 Citations Needed podcast 8 “civilised” sport 30 Clinton, Hillary 230 cock-fighting 29 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 60 Cohen, Nick 68 concept formation (Weber) 48 Connor, Steven 53 Conselho Nacional de Desportos (National Council on Sport) (Brazil) 158 Cook, Jared 191 Cordeiro, Carlos 241, 243

262 Index Corner, J. 79 Correa, Rafael 10 Costa Rica, democratic administration in 160 Cotronei, Adolfo 104, 105 Coubertin, Pierre de 44; address to Greek Liberal Club (Switzerland) 46; address to Union of French Sports Associations 45–46; FIFA and 44; founding of the IOC 44; on SINGOs vision 48; vision for the Olympic movement 136 Couldry, Nick 66, 67 Cousins, Amy Jo 230 COVID-19 pandemic 49, 68, 70, 258 Cross, Gary 12 Cuba: Castro’s populist discourse 17–18, 53; sports policies 156; sports-related policy 156–157 cultural populism 12–13, 75–76 Cultural Populism (Jim McGuigan) 13 Curry, Stephen 36, 204–205, 236 “Daily Show, The” (Trevor Noah) 202 Dal Lago, Alessanddro 112 da Viola, Paulinho 122 Davis, Angela 197 Davis, Evan 59 de Gaspari, Alcide 110 Deporte para Todos (Sport for All) 164 D’Eramo, Marco 8–9 Dewberry, Michelle 61–62, 65 Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (Bourdieu) 52 Divided Self, The (Laing) 51 Douglas-Home, Alec 170 Douglass, Frederick 197 Dragons’ Den 57–58, 57–59, 64 Drewry, Arthur 44 Du Bois, W. E. B 197 Dunn, C. 59 Dutra, Gaspar 158 Eco, Umberto 113 economic sublime, of sport “megaevents” 167 Empire Strikes Back, The (Hall) 11 Encarnación, O. G. 147, 150 England: broadcast of Women’s World Cup 50; football match against Argentina 158; hosting of World Cup (1966) 19, 169–173

English Football Association (FA) 169–170 Epsom Derby horse-race 6 Europe: Dragon’s Den television show 58; growing authoritarian, populist trends 37, 168; impact of World War I 31; Orbán’s belief in immigrant’s attacks on 14; participation in FIFA United Bid 241; push for democracy in 28; Spierings on gender, populism in 20–21; terrorist attacks 34; terrorist attacks in 34; World Cup tournaments 107, 112–114, 174 European Central Bank 93 European Cup Final (1994) 112 Everyman’s Front, The 108 Exadaktylos, T. 91–92, 97 Facebook 34, 67 Falasca-Zamponi, Simonetta 31–32, 104 fascism: aestheticisation of politics by 32–33; Duce myth, Italy 104; Fascist regime, Italy 102–115; in Italy 102–115; organisational initiatives of 33; tenets of 31–33 Featherstone, M. 73, 77 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) 19; Blatter’s presidency of 45; Club Benefits programme 50; Congress in Moscow 241; Coubertin and 44; “Dare to Shine” blurb 51; Drewry’s presidency of 44; Havelange’s presidency of 45; Men’s World Cup 2026 (MWC) 234–250; Italy’s hosting 1934 World Cup 106–107; reasons for prominence of 41; Rimet’s presidency of 44; Rimet’s thoughts on football (soccer) 42–43, 45; Rous’s presidency of 44–45; Seeldrayers presidency of 44; SINGOs rhetoric and 42–45; use of VAR technology 50–51; Women’s World Cup (France, 2019) 22, 43, 49–53; World Cup (Brazil, 2014) 138; see also Men’s World Cup 2026; World Cup (FIFA) Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Aquatic Championships (2009) 115 feminist theory on populism 22 Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina 163 Field, Lynda 60

Index Filho, Mário 122 Finchelstein, Federico 8 Fiske, John 220 Five Star Movement (M5S) 102, 114–119 Fleischer, Ari 236 Floyd, George 68 Flyvbjerg, B. 167–168, 170, 176, 178 Follows, Denis 170 football (soccer) see Fédération Internationale de Football Association; Men’s World Cup 2026; World Cup Foucault, Michel 7, 76 fox hunting 29 Fox News 36 France: FIFA Women’s World Cup 22; gilets jeune movement 34–35; Radio France Internationale 147; Women’s World Cup (2019) 22 Frank, Thomas 12 Fraser, Nancy 34 Freyre, Gilberto 126–127 Fútbol Argentino (Argentine Football; Bayer) 159 Fútbol para Todos (Football for All) 164 Futility of Aspirations, The (Juvenal) 6, 42 Futurism 31–33 Gaelic Athletic Association 74 Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Halberstam) 231 Galazia Stratia (Azure Army) 96, 98 Galli de’ Paratesi, N. 111–112 Garner, Eric 191 gender-based populist practices 18, 22, 61, 139–147 Gentile, Emilio 104 geopolitics of football aspiration 243–248 Germanotta, Stefani Joanne Angelina see Lady Gaga Gibelli, Antonio 103 Giddens, Anthony 51 Giuliano, L. 111–112 Given, Chris 191 global economic crisis (2008) 18, 34 “God Bless America” (Berlin) 220, 227–229 Goldblatt, David 15, 33 Golden Dawn party 90, 95, 98 Golden State Warriors 36 Gomes da Silva, José Alencar 126 Goodman, M. K. 78


Gramsci, Antonio: focus on power 76; Notebooks 30; on “the people” 31 Gramscian hegemony theory 7 Great Britain: Brexit and 3, 61, 69; neoliberalism and 11; Organised Games 6; populism and 11; relation to sport and recreation 7; see also England; United Kingdom (U.K.) Great Depression (1929) 13 “Great Moving Right Show, The” (Stuart Hall) 11 Greece: anti-austerity SYRIZA party 89–90, 92–95, 97, 99; Athens Olympic games (2004) 92–95; changing political structure 89; economic crisis (2012–2015) 92; Galazia Stratia (Azure Army) 96, 98; global economic crisis and 18; Golden Dawn party, international sport, and 90, 95, 98; “mainstream”/“fringe” populism 90–92; men’s national football team 95, 98; modern populism in 90–92; Olympic Games, ancient Greece 45, 85, 92; Panhellenic Socialist Party 91; political failures 91; structure of contemporary democracy 90–91; Tsipras and 89–90, 93–94, 97, 99 Grillo, Beppe 114, 116 Grix, J. 176 Gruneau, Richard 189–190 Guthrie, Woody 220, 229 Halberstam, J. Jack 231 Halikiopoulou, D. 91–92, 97 Hall, G. Stanley Hall, Stuart 6–7; on American culture 221, 225–226; on “authoritarian populism” 11, 27, 187, 215; observation on globalisation 225 Hardt, M. 192 Hardy, Denys 13 Hargreaves, John 6–7 Harris, Neil Patrick 230 Harrold, Fiona 60, 64–65 Havelange, João 45, 160, 169 hegemony: of “cool capitalism” 57; Gramscian hegemony theory 7, 31; of Greek politics 95; Italy’s sporting hegemony 102; Keynesian hegemony 11; link to “sport” 38, 198; link to “the people” 26–27, 30; social-democratic hegemony 11

264 Index Henry, Ian 47 Hewson, Paul David see Bono Hitler, Adolf 30 HIV/AIDS prorgrammes, Africa 77–80, 84 Hobsbawm, Eric 192 Hoffman, B. 223–224 Homolar, Alexandra 51 Hopkins, Katie 61–62 Houlihan, B. 176 Howell, Denis 170 Hughes, Thomas 6 Hume, John 74 Hungary: Pancho Aréna 15–17; populism in 14–18; use of sport to fight ideological battles 37; see also Orbán, Viktor Il Corriere dello Sport 112 Il Fatto Quotidiano 115–116 Il Littoriale 103 immigrants, immigration: Global Dawn’s targeting of 95–99; and Latin America 34; right-wing populism and 9; Trump’s racist rhetoric against 35, 187–190, 194–195, 223, 244–245; U.S. applications/refugee claims 34 Infantino, Gianni 243 Instant Confidence (Paul McKenna) 60 Instant Life Coach (Lynda Field) 60 International Cooperation for Research (EU) 3–4 International Olympic Committee (IOC): Coubertin founding of 44; Morris’s presidency of 47; pre-2020 candidacy rules 115–116; reasons for prominence of 41; SINGO rhetoric and 45–47 Ireland 73–74 “Iron Front” political symbol 37 Islamists 9 Italian Olympic Committee (Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano) 103 Italian Paralympic Committee (CIP) 115 Italian Socialist Party 102 Italy 102–119; Berlusconi and 102, 111– 114; early sports-related history 102; The Everyman’s Front 108; failures in sports/politics 18; Falasca-Zamponi on Italian fascist ideological discourse 31–32; Fascist regime 102–115; Five Star Movement 102, 114–119; “Forza

Italia!” (“Go Italy!”) party 111–112; growth of sports newspapers 103; hosting of 1934 World Cup 33, 106–107; importance of sports stadia 37; Lauro, political rule in Naples 102, 107–111; Lega populist party 114, 116, 118–119; National Monarchist Party 108; People’s Monarchy Party 108; Raggi and 114–117; rise of Mussolini 30–36, 31–33, 35, 103–107; Tangentopoli (Bribesville) corruption scandal 112; see also Berlusconi, Silvio; Lauro, Achille; Mussolini, Benito; Raggi, Virginia Jagger, Mick 76 James, LeBron 202, 205–206, 223, 236 Jenkins, Malcolm 203, 208, 211–212, 215–216 Jim Crow 36 Johnson, Boris: appearances on comedy news program 69–70; Cohen on 68–69; COVID-19 pandemic and 70; neo-liberal programme of 56; Orbán’s description of 14 Jones, Alex 195 Juantorena, Alberto 53 Judis, John 9, 203, 217 Juvenal 6, 42 Kaepernick, Colin: criticisms of 223; NFL’s denial of employment to 36; protest against U.S. racial injustice 190–191, 223; Reid’s defense of 206, 216; Trump’s racist attacks against 36, 191–193, 203, 236 Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira 8, 20, 58 Kazin, Michael 8 Kellner, Douglas 57, 66–67 Keynesian hegemony 11 Kingsley, Charles 6 Kirchner, Néstor 163 Kissoudi, P. 93 Kjaersaard, Pia 61 Klein, Naomi 64, 66 Knowles-Carter, Beyoncé 76, 224 Kompreser Collective 92 Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) 77 Kushner, Jared 240–241 Kusz, K. 195, 234 Laclau, Ernesto 8, 27, 186, 189 Lacost, Carlos 160

Index Lady Gaga 220–232; dramatic costume of 228; The Fame album 221; ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ created by 221–222; mastery and use of double articulation 220–222, 225–227; performance of “God Bless America” 220, 227–229; performance of “This Land is Your Land” 220, 229; public persona of 221–222; responses to Super Bowl performance 230; social, political mindedness of 224; Super Bowl LI, half-time performance 220–232; Time Magazine statement about 221 Laing, R. D. 51 Lane, Jeremy 203, 208 La Republica 116 Latin America 155–166; authoritarian, dictatorial systems 168; emergence of progressive administrations 163; heads of state’s presence at sporting events 156; impact of football on the citizens 156; inauguration of Nacional of Lima stadium 157; inauguration of Nacional of Santiago de Chile stadium 157; influence of football on the population 161–162; leftist iteration in 10; military regimes 160; neo-liberal era 162–163; political turmoil, poverty, violence in 34; populism in 26–27, 155–166; presidency of eight women in 147; Rousseff as the Latin American “supermadre” 145; social movements in 26–27; sports in 155–166 Lauro, Achille: football politics of 110; National Monarchist Party of 108; populist practices of 105, 108–111, 118; as prototype of Berlusconi 102; role as Mayor of Naples 107 Le Bon, Gustav 32 left-wing populism 9–11, 13, 19, 22, 137, 203, 217 Lega populist party, Italy 114, 116, 118–119 Leguía, Augusto 157 Leisure in the Modern World (Burns) 13 Leisure Studies 4 Lemon, Don 202 Lenin, Vladimir 31 Le Pen, Marine 61 Levitisky and Roberts UUU 124


Leys, Colin 57 LGBTQ+ communities 34, 130 liberal-capitalist democracies 28–29 Life Coaching books 60 “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson) 197 LinkedIn 67 Livaneli, Zülfü 81 “Live Aid” concert 73 Long, Chris 203, 210–212, 216 Lo Sport Fascista 103 Ludis, John 9 Lula da Silva, Luiz Inácio 19, 123; antagonistic rhetoric of 126–127; Bolsa Família initiative 138, 143; celebrity status/popularity of 137, 139–140; comparison with Vargas 125–126; disappointing first term or 138; founding of Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party) 125; interplay with sports, music, populism 128–132; leftist populism, Rousseff, the Olympics, and 137–139; presidency of Brazil 125–128 Lynch, Marshawn 193 Lynx, Minnesota 191 Macellari, Nino 104, 105 MacMillan, C. 93 Macmillan, Harold 170 Magnificent Magyars 16 Maguire, J. A. 138 Major, John 168 Major League Soccer (MLS) 37 “Make America Great Again” slogan 186, 195, 207, 235–236, 244, 247–248 Malagò, Giovanni 114 male-dominated politics, Brazil 147–151 Mangan, J. A. 93 Marineetti, Tomasso 33 market populism 12 Marshall, Brandon 203 Marshall, Melanie L. 222 Martin, Curly 60 Marvellous History of the World Cup (Jules Rimet) 43–44 May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem (Imani Perry) 197 McGee, M. 65 McGuigan, Jim: on The Apprentice 57; on cultural populism 13, 75–76

266 Index McKenna, Paul 60 McPherson, A. 73, 74 Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Dan Schawbel) 60 Meloni, Giorgia 61 Menem, Carlos 163 Men’s World Cup 2026 (MWC) (FIFA) 234–250; awarding of hosting rights to United Bid 237–238; conjunctional politics of the United Bid for 237–247; contradictions of Trump and populism 239, 248–250; Kushner’s lobbying efforts 240–241; media coverage of hosting rights 242; Trump’s public support for the United Bid 245; Trump’s undermining FIFA’s code of conduct 239–240 Mészáros, Lörinc 16 military-industrial-media-entertainment network (MIME-NET) 227–228 Modernity and Self-Identity (Anthony Giddens) 51 Modi, Narendra 56 Molnar, G. 14–15 Montoya, P. 59–60 Monumental, stadium (Argentina) 157, 160 Morales, Evo 10 Morris, Michael (3rd Baron of Killanin) 47 Mouffe, Chantal: comments on Thatcher 11–12; on “left populism” 10, 27, 203 M5S see Five Star Movement Mudde, Cas 8, 20, 53, 58, 103 Müller, Jan-Werner 9–10 Mumford, Lewis 12 Mundial 78: la historia paralela (World Cup 78: the parallel story; Moores) 161 Murdoch, Rupert 63 music: Aquarela do Brasil (Brazilian song) 122, 128–130; Golden Dawn party and 98; prominence in Olympics in Brazil 122–135; U2 360° Tour 73–85; Woodstock Music and Arts Fair 73; see also Lady Gaga Mussolini, Benito: Ascension Day speech (1927) 104; comparison with Trump 33–39; exploitation of sport by 30; Goldblatt on 33; leadership cult of 104, 105; Le Bon’s influence on 32; media background 35; “political athleticism” style of politics 105, 118; rejection of “the people” 32;

rise as authoritarian fascist dictator 30–36, 103–107; rise to power in Italy 103–107; sport newspapers’ descriptions of 105–106; use of football to celebrate fascism 33 Nacional of Lima stadium 157 Nacional of Santiago de Chile stadium 157 Nakamura, D. 185, 235, 236 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) 196, 209, 236–237 National Association of Forza Italia! party (Silvio Berlusconi) 111–112 National Basketball Association (NBA) 36–37 National Football League (NFL) 36; influence of Trump’s race-baiting tweets 202; Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl half-time performance 220–232; promotion of patriotism, nationalism, militarism 228; Trump’s condemnation of 186, 202, 235; Zirin’s comment on 36 National Health Service 60 National Monarchist Party (Partito Nazionale Monarchico, PNM) 108 Nazi Germany 33, 37 Negri, A. 192 neoliberalism: British populism and 11; Couldry on 67; Fraser/progressive neoliberalism 34; Harvey’s definition of 56; link with populism 11, 165; Trump and 56, 187, 195 neuro-liberalism 56–70; personal transformation programs 60; self-branding and 58, 61–62, 64, 67; self-marketing and 57–62; television entrepreneurship and 62–77; Trump, Johnson, neoliberal populism, and 68–70 Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) 59–60, 62, 64–65, 67 Neville, Phil 50 Newman, Omarosa Manigault 202 New Statesman 3 Noah, Trevor 202 Nolan, Daniel 15 No Logo (Klein) 66 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 246 Notebooks (Antonio Gramsci) 30

Index Obama, Barack 172, 189, 211, 230, 243, 247 Obama, Michelle 230 Ó’Briain, Dara 57 Occupy Wall Street movement 9 O’Donovan, Martin 60 Odría, Manuel 157 Oliveira, F. 139 Olympic Games: African nations withdrawal (1976) 47; ancient Greece 45, 85, 92; Athens, Greece (2004) 92–95; Berlin (1936) 33; boycott of Moscow Games (1980) 47; Brazil (2016) 114, 122, 129–130, 136–138, 140–141, 144–151; Budapest (2024) 16; de Coubertin’s restoration of 45–46, 136; London (2012) 169; murders of Israeli athletes (1972) 47; Tokyo (2020) 48–49; see also International Olympic Committee One, advocacy organisation 77, 79–81, 83–84 opinion sharing websites 34 Orbán, Viktor 14–18; description of Johnson 14; description of Trump 14; passion for sport 14–18; use of sport to fight ideological battles 37; see also Hungary Organised Games 6 Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) 139 Ovink, S. M. 127 Palmer, Gareth 60, 67 Pancalli, Luca 115 Pancho Aréna (Hungary) 15–17 Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) 91 Papachristou, Paraskevi “Voula” 98 Papanikolaou, P. 92 Pappas, T. S. 90–91 Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT; Workers’ Party) 125, 137–151 patrimonialisation of sport, in Argentina 164 “people, the” 26–39; cultural populism and 12; differentiation from “others” 28; as distinctive entity 28; “elites” and 13, 26; Gramsci on 31; left-wing populism and 9, 10; Lenin on 31; in liberal-capitalist democracies 28–29; Mussolini’s rejection of 32; Orban and 17; terminology usage derivation 9; Thatcherism and 11


People’s Monarchy Party (Partito Monarchico Popolare, PMP) 108 Pereira, C. 141 Perón, Eva 17, 158, 159 Perón, Isabel Martinez de 147 Perón, Juan Domingo 27, 158 Perry, Imani 197 personal transformation programs 60 Peru: Argentina-Peru football scandal 161; football team 160–161; inauguration of Nacional of Lima stadium 157; presidency of Videla 157, 161 Petri, Frauke 61 “political athleticism” style of politics 105, 118 political frontier, of populism 28 political sublime, of sport “mega-events” 167 Political Sublime (Flyvbjerg) 167–168, 170, 176, 178 Política Operária (Polop; Workers’ Politics) 140 populism: contradictions of 248–250; cultural populism 12–13, 76; definitions and debates 8–14; gendered perspective on 18, 22; historical background 26–30; historical roots of 26–30, 203–204; left-wing populism 9–11, 13, 19, 22, 137, 203, 217; leisure, sport, and 18–20; market populism 12; “the people” and 26–39; progressive populism 9, 28, 187; reactionary populism 9, 226; right-wing populism 7, 9, 61, 168; self-professed populists 28, 32; sociological future of 20–22; see also authoritarian populism Populist Persuasion, The (Michael Kazin) 8 power theory (Michel Foucault) 7 Pride Parade (Canada, 2016) 4 Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC; Program of Growth Acceleration) 139 progressive populism 9, 28, 187 Public Spending (Evan Davis) 59 Puskás, Ferenc 15–17 Putin, Vladimir 37, 173–177 Question Time 61 racial populism, of Trump 186–190 Radio Nacional (Brazil) 131

268 Index Raggi, Virginia: election as Rome’s Mayor 114; Lega populist party and 114, 116, 118–119; M5S and 114–118; withdrawal of Rome’s hosting 2024 Olympics 115 Rapinoe, Megan 36, 50–51, 236 reactionary populism 9, 226 Reagan, Ronald 12, 187 Reddit 34 Rees-Mogg, Modwenna 58 Reid, Eric 203, 208–209 Renzi, Matteo 102, 114 right-wing populism 7, 9, 61, 168 Rimet, Jules 42–43 Rinke, Stefan 157 Ritchie, I. 136–137 Robbe, Federico 108–109 Robeson, Paul 197 Robinson, Cedric 197 Robinson, Gerry 57 Robinson, Jackie 197 Roca, Julio Argentino 155–157 Roca Paz, Alejo Juilo Argentino 157 rock concerts 18 rock music genre 18 Rodrigues, Nelson 158 Rodrigues da Fonseca, Hermes 156 Rojek, C. 78, 80, 83 Rosanvallon, Pierre, on populism 10 Rose, Derrick 191 Rous, Stanley 44–45, 170 Rousseff, Dilma: confrontation of Brazil’s retro-macho politics 147–148; Continuity campaign theme 139–140; gendered populist politics and 139–147; impeachment of 136, 142–148; as the Latin American “supermadre” 145; membership in Política Operária 140; Olympics, Lula’s leftist populism, and 137–139; oversight of Program of Growth Acceleration 139 Royal Irish Constabulary 74 Russell, Bertrand 12 Russia: hosting of World Cup (2018) 19, 173–176; Putin’s anti-democratic policies 37; use of sport to fight ideological battles 37 Russo, Maria Cristina 3–4 Sáenz Peña, Roque 155 samba-exaltação (national samba), of Brazil 13, 122, 128, 129

Sanders, Bernie 187 Santos, Juan Manuel 163 Schawbel, Dan 60 Scholz, Ronny, on Trump-speak 51 Seeldrayers, Rodolphe 44 self-branding 58, 61–62, 64, 67 self-marketing: Life Coaching books 60; neuro-liberalism and 58–62; NeuroLinguistic Programming and 59–60; origins of 59 Self-Marketing: A Guide to Creative Job Search (Dunn and Spence) 59 self-professed populists 28, 32 Sennett, Richard 66 September 11, 2001 (9/11), terrorist attacks 189, 192, 227–228 sexual identity 27 Shinzo Abe 49 Shirazi, Nima 8–9 Siv, Jensen 61 Smith, Ariyanna 190–191 Smith, DeMaurice 203 Soccer Dad 235, 249 Social Democratic and Labour Party (Ireland) 74 sociological future of populism 20–22 Soros, George 14 Spectator, The 69 Spence, B. 59 Spierings, N. 20–21 sport: animal blood sports 29, 30; “civilised” sport 30; debates about types of 29–30; definitions 29; emotions associated with 30; film on the phenomenology, poetics of 52; geopolitics of football aspiration 243–248; Hall on studies of 6–7; Hargreaves analysis of 6–7; Hitler/Mussolini, exploitation of 30; invention of modern sport 29; liberal-capitalist democracies and 28–30; link to hegemony 38; modern understandings of 29–30; Mussolini’s use of football to celebrate fascism 33; Organised Games 6; Rimet’s thoughts/writings on 43–44; sociological studies of 5; Trump’s attack on black athletes 36, 195–196, 202–203, 205, 236; Trump’s politicisation of 3, 19, 37, 185–186, 202–217, 235–250; see also Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA); Men’s World Cup 2026; National

Index Association for Stock Car Auto Racing; National Basketball Association; National Football League; World Cup Sport, Power, and Culture (John Hargreaves) 6 sport-based international non-government organisations (SINGOs) 18; FIFA and 42–45; IOC and 45–47; populist elements of 41–53; supranational pitch of rhetoric of 42–47 sport “mega-events”: in Brazil 129; description 167–168; FIFA’s stewardship of 41; Flyvbjerg on “megaevents” 167; four “sublimes” of 167–168; Frick on” 167; popularity with national governments 19, 136; projection of soft power through 177–178; sport policies focus on 133; state funding for 144 sportive populism 47, 53, 256, 257 Sports Club Corinthians Paulista (Brazilian football team) 132 Stills, Kenny 203, 211 Strange, Luther 204 Street, J. 76, 81 Sugar, Alan, Lord 56–57; characterization as East End barrow boy 63; flexible strategies of 64; formula for winning business entrepreneurship 64; old-fashioned leadership style 62–63; profits in “the sphere of leisure time” 63; rudeness to losers on The Apprentice 66 “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (U2) 73–74 Super Bowl: Lady Gaga’s half-time performance, Super Bowl LI 220–232; Trump, Philadelphia Eagles, and 202, 209 supply-side economics (Reagan) 12 surveillance theory (Michel Foucault) 7 Swank, D. 168 SYRIZA party (Greece) 89–90, 92–95, 97, 99 Szöllösi, György 16 Taine, Hippolyte 6 technological sublime, of sport “megaevents” 167 television entrepreneurship 62–67; see also The Apprentice; Dragons’ Den Temer, Michel 136


terrorist attacks 8, 34, 190, 227; in the United States 34 Thangaraj, Stanley 4–5 Thatcher, Margaret/Thatcherism: authoritarian populism strategy of 11–12, 27, 255; Hall’s analysis of 187; Hargreaves’s analysis of 255; Leys on 57; Leys’s analysis of 57; neoliberal hegemonic formation 11; populism of 11–12, 27, 187; self-marketing concept and 59 Thirty-Minute Life Coach, The (Curly Martin and Gerard O’Donovan) 60 “This Land is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie) 220, 229 Timcke, S. 35, 37 Tipaldou, S. 98 Together (Richard Sennett) 66 Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 49 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games (2020) 48–49 Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Thomas Hughes) 6 Tosuna, Fehmi 77 Tour de France 52 Traganou, Jilly 48–49 Trimble, David 74 Trump, Donald: antagonistic, moral panic approach to sport 235–237; anti-immigrant rhetoric 35, 187–190, 194–195, 223, 244–245; appearances at national sporting events 237; The Apprentice television programme 56–58, 61–62, 64, 66–68; attacks on anti-racist protests 36; attacks on black athletes 36, 191, 195–196, 202–203, 205, 236; authoritarian populism of 3, 19, 187, 190, 193–194, 207, 213–214, 235, 244–250; celebration of NASCAR stock-car drivers 19–20; Cohen on 68; combative politicisation of uber-sport 185–198; comments about football 185; comparison with Mussolini 33–39; condemnation of the National Football League 186, 202, 235; contradictions of 248–250; counter politicisation of anthem protests 193–194; COVID-19 pandemic and 70; “deal maker” reputation 68; desire for political wins 247; effort in replacing the North American Free

270 Index Trade Agreement 246; Homolar/ Scholz, on Trump-speak 51; inheritances from father 64; losses in business 62; “Make America Great Again” slogan 186, 195, 207, 235–236, 244, 247–248; media background 35, 56; negative comments about Mexican immigrants 188; neoliberalism advanced by 56, 187, 195; oldfashioned leadership style 62–63; Orbán’s description of 14; praise for NASCAR sport 196, 209, 236–237; race-baiting tweets on Twitter 191–192, 202; racist attack against Kaepernick 36, 191; racist polemics against immigrants 35; Rapinoe’s spat with 50–51; reactionary populism of 226; Reid’s response to Trump’s tweets 208–209; resonance of Trump’s racism with Republican core 189; rudeness to losers on The Apprentice 66; sponsorship of Miss Universe competition 56; spread of fear, distrust 35; unscripted sport talk and opinions 234–235; use of social media 191–192; use of sport to fight ideological battles 37; white patriot assemblage of 194–196; as a white “saviour” 22; see also Trumpism; Twitter/ Twitterstorms by Trump Trump, Fred 63 Trumpism: ascendancy of 3; comparison to Sanders‘ internationalist and, inclusionary progressive populism 187; engagement in constructing fears about Others 189–190; Kusz’s examination of 195, 234; mattering maps of 234; racially-inflected symbolic violence of 188; as reactionary populism 187; schismatic populism scapegoats of 186–187; Timcke on 37; as whitemale dissonance machine 187 Truth, Sojourner 197 Tsipras, Alexis 89–90, 93–94, 97, 99 Tutu, Desmond 77 Twitter/Twitterstorms by Trump 202–217; Andrews’ comment on 205, 209; Baldwin’s response 212; Bennett’s response 208, 212–213, 216; Boldin’s response 203, 208–209, 212, 216; James’ response 205–206; Jenkins’s response 208, 211–212, 215–216; Lane’s response

208; Long’s response 203, 210–212, 216; Reid’s response 208–209; Stills’s response 211; targeting of athletes 202–217; targeting of Obama 189; Trump’s race-baiting tweets 191–192, 202; tweets on Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl LI performance 230; use of populist tactics 203; White House bait-andswitch tactic 209–214 Uba, K. 98 uber-sport: politics of 190–194; Trump, populism, and 185–198 U2 18; 360° Tour 73–85; association with radicalism 73–74; Bono (U2 lead singer) 18, 74, 76, 78–84; comments of fans 78–84; HIV/AIDS programmes, Africa 77–80, 84; influence of 81–84; One advocacy organisation 77, 79–81, 83–84; online discussions about 82–83; philosophy of peace, nonviolence 73–74; populist pitch of 73; socio-political themes, narratives 77–81; support/withdrawal of support for Aung San Suu Kyi 77, 79 Ulster Unionist Party 74 Ultimate Brand-Building and Business Development Handbook to Transform Anyone into The Brand Called You, The (Peter Montoya and Tim Vandehey) 59–60 Union of French Sports Associations 45 United Bid, for 2026 Men’s World CUP 234–250 United Kingdom (UK): Chester Committee Report 171; devaluation of the currency 172; efforts at using sports to capture the Zeitgeist 169; frequency of general elections 168; use of television by Johnson 111 United States (U.S.): boycott of 1980 Moscow Olympic Games 47; capitalist character of sport, media systems 36; Electoral College system 35; FIFA Women’s World Cup and 50; hosting of the 2026 World Cup 19; immigrant applications, refugee claims 34; terrorist attacks in 34; see also Trump, Donald Urbinati, N. 91 U.S. Soccer Federation 241, 243 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team 36–37

Index Vandehey, T. 59–60 VanWynsberghe, R. 136–137 Vargas, Gétulio Dornelles 18–19, 27, 122; comparison with Lula da Silva 125–126; interplay with sports, music, populism 128–132, 158; nation-building project 125; populist presidency of Brazil 123–125; suicide of 157; use of radio to promote propaganda 131; Worker’s Day speech 123–124 Vasilopoulou, S. 91–92, 97 Videla, Jorge Rafael 157, 161 Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology 50–51 “vitalism” (of Hall) 12–13 Waseda Brussels Conference 4 Weber, Max, on charismatic authority 76, 81 Weekend Life Coach (Field) 60 What Is Populism? (Jan-Werner Müller) 9–10 Whigman, S. 14–15 Wills, Garry 12 Wilson, Harold 53, 170–173 Winfrey, Oprah 230 Women’s World Cup (France; 2019) 22, 36–37, 43, 49–53 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair (1969) 73, 85


World Cup (FIFA): Brazil/Argentina, national rhetoric 165; Brazil’s stadium irregularities 145; broadcast rights of Fútbol para Todos program 164; documentary film about 161; England’s victory (1966) 19, 168; FIFA 1990 final 114–115; Havelange’s presidency of 169; hosting by Argentina (1978) 160; hosting by Brazil (2014) 129, 138–141, 144; hosting by England (1966) 19, 169–173; hosting by Germany (1934) 33, 106–107; hosting by Russia (2018) 19, 173–176; Hungary’s two losses 16; Italy’s victory 33, 111; journalistic, academic exploitation of 169; losses of Hungary 16; Men’s World Cup United Bid 19; Orbán’s appearances at 16; populism and political motives for hosting 167–178; populism research and 177–178; Putin and 173–177; Wilson and 53, 170–173; Women’s World Cup, France (2019) 22, 36–37, 49–53 World Wide Wrestling Federation 56 X, Malcolm 197 YouTube 34 Zirin, Dave 36