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Sport and the Repudiation of Global


Understanding of sports in terms of globalization is interpreted in different phenomenon depending on the author’s perspective. According to Rowe (2003), the sport continues to repudiate the concept of globalization. Indeed, sport focuses on the production of difference while ignoring the idea of being a global concept. However, the relationship between sports and national identity are closely interconnecting hence slowly showing the increasing culture of global sports. Sport is recognized with its national identity and prosperity at a global level. Thus, nations doing well in other global matters are more likely to have their sporting activities magnified than others.

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Sports at a national level are made up of culture, religion, politics, races, gender, and sex among other things. It is these factors that are used to determine the type of sport such as rugby or football. Therefore, these factors when integrated with other nations’ factors make global characteristics for a global type of sport. It is for the same reason that sports at a national level are different from those at the global level. Sports often give a nation identity unlike other cultural activities like music. The level of the difference a nation sport makes defined the identity of the country. Henceforth, sport limits act as constant reminders of the level of a nation’s identity.

A nation is central to sports in that it can interrupt the idea of globalization. Rowe (2003, p.288) uses the Korea/Japan World Cup 2002to bring forth these conclusions. Countries known for soccer including Australia, the US, Canada, and New Zealand may not have been identified based on their expertise in football. However, a country’s level of understanding of sports determines its adoption for globalization. Sports also influence a country’s number of rivals; for example, the Korea/Japan World Cup 2002 made China have new rivals from East Asia. The conclusion is that the reliance on international sports on the localized and national formation of identity also mobilized the idea of global repudiation.

Comparison of rowe’s arguments with those of other authors

One of Rowe’s main arguments is that sports at a local level focus on the production of difference while repudiating globalization and its ideas. Sporting is another way of building a nation’s identity and the difference in sports is what makes the country outstanding. Nations pay more attention to being outstanding in international games. For example, England is known for football because it is created on the roots of differentiation. The national sports teams tend to in return pay less attention to globalization or even adopt the global culture. Hognestad (2009) also affirms Rowe’s claims by providing that passion and loyalty to sports are obtained locally. Therefore, before looking at sports from an international angle, the locals view sports as a national responsibility hence find little regard for globalization.

Repudiation of globalization by nation sports is felt to be the responsibility of a country. According to Hognestad (2009, p. 3), the passionate development of sport differences at a national level cannot be identified as heroic or as victims of neo-liberal concepts. Instead, the idea is viewed as just being just and loyal to the country without necessarily looking up for recognition. Consequently, in the absence of recognition, the local sporting teams tend to ignore globalization ideology. In support of these ideas, Antonio Gramsci provides that globalization is less influenced by sports but rather by hegemony (Rowe, 2004). Therefore, whether the local sports recognize globalization or not, adopting the concept can only be enabled by the hegemony.

The relationship between sports and national identity is slowly revealing the increased global sporting culture. Whether a nation’s sports team repudiate globalization or not, the relationship between sports and national identity reveals otherwise. Unintentionally, sports at the national level may be working towards differentiation but their results put them at a global level. Rowe (2003) provides that a nation’s identity attracts global culture to a country which affects sports too. Therefore, even when not involved in globalization, sports activities draw a nation to a global level. Also, a country’s activities influence globalization concepts hence influencing sports focus.

The landscape of sports in a country defines where the games are played and watched (Bairner, 2009). Consequently, the landscape gives the nation’s sports an identity that draws the country to recognition. The landscape, sports, and nation are therefore interconnected together to give an insight to globalization culture. Learning from international sports clubs such as English Premier League (EPL), the football teams involved practice global culture by creating differentiation. The EPL teams have a wider landscape where they are watched globally. Consequently, their nation, landscape, and sports connect to form global outreaches. It is also critical to note that such huge teams enhance their effectiveness by adopting global ideas of differentiation. Sports teams may repudiate international culture but by borrowing trendy ideas about sports, they in one way or another enter the global culture.

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Various types of sports are formed based on religion, culture politics, income, social classes, race, gender, and sex among others. Each local sports team whether football, volleyball, netball, or even basketball is realized after consideration of these concepts. Rowe (2003) mentions that similarly, these factors are applied in making international sports teams. The factors that make different sports are integrated with a global culture to make sports international. Seippel (2017) states that while some countries are low in the level of sport nationalism, others are of high level. For example, Western Europe, despite having developed countries has a lower level of sports nationalism than some least developed countries in Eastern Europe. The difference is so because sports nationalism depends on a country’s characteristics. Some characteristics such as age, religion, sports participation, sports attendance, and income indicate sports nationalism (Seippel, 2017).

The sport nationalism factors or characteristics are applied in each nation to develop sports teams. These characteristics create sports culture at a local level hence changes at an international level. A major reason for globalization repudiation in sports is because their sport nationalism factors differ and adopting global culture may pose challenges. Rowe (2004) mentions that Antonio Gramsci rejects such claims by giving the power of sport nationalism to the ruling power. Gramsci states that even though countries may have different sports nationalism based on the characteristics, the hegemony can still influence the sports to adopt globalization.

The last major argument by Rowe is that sports control the identity of a nation. Countries doing well in sports are more likely to be recognized as a global market. Unlike music or other arts, sports represent a nation locally and internationally. Sports do not involve individualism whether at the local or international level. Thus, as a team, it is easy to make a country’s name shine or stay unrecognized. Furthermore, sports identity at the international level control globalization of a nation (Rowe, 2003). A winning national team raises the flag of a country for international recognition. Upon such acquisition of identity, other sports countries will want to associate with the winning country. Consequently, international relations are developed which leads to global markets recognition.

Globalization of sports is more based on a nation’s power to reach international levels. According to Mukherjee (2011), the globalization of sports is based on economic and political spheres represented in the sports grounds. Porting federations at a global level provides universal standardization of playing norms adopted by countries’ sports teams. Antonio Gramsci supports this argument by providing that despite the presence of neo-liberalism in the world, the economic and political power of a nation determines its sporting spot in a global field.

Evaluation of rowe’s arguments

Rowe’s arguments are based on his opinions, principles, research, and reality of his study time frame. Out of the four major arguments, I agree with three of them. I agree that the relationship between sports and nations is slowly revealing the increasing sporting global culture. The idea is true because no matter how sports try to run independently of what is happening in the country, the nation still has a huge influence on the sporting field. I also agree that various national characteristics make sports nationalism. Each nation has different factors which make varied sporting activities (Seippel, 2017). Consequently, even at a global level, no integration would make such characteristics compatible. So, each sporting nation has its unique sports features that cannot be changed even at the global level.

Another affirmative argument is that sports control a nation’s identity. A positive identity in sports positively influences a nation’s identity. Hence, a nation has the power to use sports in shaping its identity at an international level. I disagree with Rowe when he states that sports repudiate globalization by focusing on differentiation. I agree that the production of difference gives sports a positive impact at a local level. However, that does not mean little or no focus is given to globalization. According to Mukherjee (2011), countries seeking to outstand through differentiation borrow global ideas in sports. Besides, a nation with economic and political power has access to global ideas of sporting success hence has a chance to embrace globalization. Also, the time has changed between how sporting operated in 2003 and 2021.


Bairner, A., 2009. ‘National sports and national landscapes: In defense of primordialism.’ National Identities, 11(3), pp. 223-239. Web.

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Hognestad, H., 2009. ‘Transglobal Scandinavian? Globalization and the contestation of identities in football,’ Soccer & Society, 10(3-4), pp. 358-373.

Mukherjee, A., 2011. ‘Globalization and Sport.’ Soccer & Society, 10(3-4), pp.701-703. Web.

Rowe, D., 2003. ‘Sport and the repudiation of the global.’ International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 38(3), pp.281-294. Web.

Rowe, D., 2004. ‘Antonio Gramsci: Sport, hegemony and the national-popular.’ In Sport and Modern Social Theorists, pp. 97-110. Palgrave Macmillan, London. Web.

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