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Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy

The Chinese Dream


Edited By J.A. Mangan, Peter Horton and Christian Tagsold

Xi Jinping’s "Soccer Revolution" is unique: the most extensive politicization and geo-politicization of the Global Game. His purpose is to extend the global softpower projection of "the Middle Kingdom": an ancient Western imperial mantra ("bread and circuses") has been replaced by a modern Eastern "imperial" mantra ("rice and pitches"). The Asian Football Federation shares this "allopathic" vision of East Asian soccer: the future is Asia and it starts in China! Soccer is a talisman for a New Asia in a New Era. For China soccer is a hubristic instrument of softpower projection. Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy: The Chinese Dream makes this point forcefully. In East Asia soccer in now "much more than a game"!

"Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy: The Chinese Dream is a contemporary analysis which illustrates the significance of the politics, culture, and economics grounded in the world’s most popular sport. The editors Mangan, Horton, and Tagsold, noted international scholars in the history of sport, have assembled a highly accredited global team for the task. The inclusion of Chinese but also Korean, Japanese commentaries relevant to the present dramatic softpower initiatives being undertaken by the world’s most populous nation ensures that this publication will be of interest to all concerned about the developments in the Asia Pacific region. This collection is essential reading for Australian scholars and students."—John Saunders, Associate Professor, Australian Catholic University; Editor in Chief, International Sports Studies

"This collection edited by J.A. Mangan, Peter Horton, and Christian Tagsold is cutting edge scholarship about a development of enormous consequences both for regional geopolitics and global sports studies. It is the exciting launch volume of a new series by Peter Lang on Sport in East and Southeast Asian Societies edited by Professor Mangan. The organized sports of the modern era, their administrative bodies, and their special relationships may have developed in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States, but in the twentieth-first century, it is the nations of East Asia which are fast becoming the dynamic center of the global sports scene with all the associated geopolitical softpower consequences. This is certainly true for soccer, which is rapidly becoming the major sport throughout the region and particularly in China. This collection is the most comprehensive and cosmopolitan analysis yet of how China—the state, the media, corporate sponsors, and a nation of passionate fans—is becoming a soccer superpower, inter alia, in pursuit of international softpower supremacy."—William W. Kelly, Sumitomo Professor Emeritus of Japanese Studies, Yale University, United States

"China's rapid rise has taken the world by storm and by surprise. But its ambitions have not all been realised yet. Soccer remains one sport where expectations have so far exceeded results. This edited volume is a timely and path-breaking investigation of the motivations, methods, and likely impact of President Xi's dream of soccer success in a regional context. Reflecting the multi-national team of experts involved, this volume not only charts China's domestic footballing development but also highlights how China's aspirations interact with other Asian footballing powers, Japan, Australia, and the two Koreas. A very welcome addition to the literature."—Brian Bridges, Affiliate Fellow of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

"Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy: The Chinese Dream is a timely, illuminating, and provocative collection of academic perspectives on the emergence of China as an aspirational footballing power. Uniquely it provides a platform for voices from within China and East Asia and is the most comprehensive treatment of Chinese soccer on the market. The range of topics covered is impressive, and all contributions go beyond speculative popular accounts to invest in solid theorizing and empirical investigation. The collection is a must read for anyone interested in the development of football in East Asia, how football reflects China’s broader ambitions, and the diverse sectors and processes implicated in Xi Jinping’s 'Football dream'."—Jonathan Sullivan, Director, China Policy Institute, The University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

"Once again the grand seigneur of the political, cultural and social history of sport, J.A. Mangan together with impressive colleagues Peter Horton and Christian Tagsold and a number of their colleagues have published a highly topical collection of articles, in which the social, political, and geopolitical dimensions of Asian sport are analysed from a number of innovative perspectives. Xi Jinping’s China is naturally the decisive player in this game, but much attention is also given to its competitors on the Korean peninsula, in Japan, and the Australian world. Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy: The Chinese Dream alerts Europe to the both the super power ambitions of modern China and the reality of the many-fronted efforts it is making to create and consolidate these ambitions."—Henrik C. Meinander, Keeper of the Swedish-Speaking Professorship in History, University of Helsinki, Finland