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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

No, not that kind... this one:

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A project by Quinn Savit and Harrison Stark

In a 1981 interview with a British television station, English manager Bill Shankly told viewers “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death: I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Eleven players on a field kicking a spherical ball with their feet; what could be simpler? Yet with the possible exception of organized religion, no activity has a larger geographical scope; football is played on every continent, in every country. Theorists such as David Goldblatt estimate that approximately three billion people watched the 2006 World Cup Final – almost half the planet’s population (compared to the 93 million who tuned in to last year’s Super Bowl). How can an activity so simple command the attention of half the globe?

Football cannot be treated as a game – it must be treated as a complex world phenomenon. And, as we shall see, this seemingly simple interaction between a spherical ball and a person’s foot has wrapped up in it issues of perception, personal identity, and cultural power.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What is a Football?

Part I: 'And With These Feet' - Physical Interaction with the Ball and Spacial Perception

Part II: 'Head Over Heels' - The Cultural Bias Against Feet and the Foot as Identification

Part III: 'The Ultimate Goal' - How The Football Impacts Cultural and Social Relationships

Conclusion: Passing the Ball

The Football Bibliography

The Football Proposal

Comments on The Football