Africa’s place in the international football system

Why South Africa received the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Master's Thesis, 2007
156 Pages, Grade: 70


Table of Contents





Table of Contents

List of abbreviations


1.1. Introduction
1.2. Problem to be investigated
1.3. Aims of the thesis
1.4. Research question and hypothesis
1.5. Literature review
1.6. Framework for analysis
1.6.1. World-Systems analysis
1.6.2. Criticism on Modern World-Systems theory and overcoming it
1.6.3. Conceptualisation of Universalism regarding football
1.6.4. Football within the framework of Modern World-Systems theory
1.7. Summary

2.1. Introduction
2.2. The beginnings of football
2.2.1. From medieval times to the Renaissance
2.2.2. Utilisation of football for education and socialisation
2.2.3. Industrialisation and universalism
2.2.4. Amateurism versus professionalism
2.3. Spread of football
2.3.1. British cultural hegemony
2.3.2. Football and mass media
2.3.3. The link between football, industry, and politics
2.4. FIFA
2.4.1. The beginnings of FIFA as the universal football body
2.4.2. FIFA versus the Olympic football tournament
2.4.3. FIFA versus the Mitropacup
2.4.4. The FIFA World Cup
2.4.5. FIFA’s universal power and military preconditions
2.5. Summary

3.1. Introduction
3.2. Rise of football in African culture
3.2.1. European imperialism and colonialism
3.2.2. Internal African resistance
3.2.3. International African resistance
3.2.4. International institutionalisation of African football
3.3. Rise of Africa in FIFA
3.3.1. Demise of English power
3.3.2. Havelange, the new FIFA President from Brazil
3.3.3. South Africa’s role in the 1974 Presidential elections
3.3.4. Havelange’s promises
3.3.5. Northern capital for Havelange’s FIFA
3.4. Increased African representation in international football
3.4.1. African football success
3.4.2. Neo-colonialism
3.4.3. Comparative advantage
3.4.4. Problems in African national associations
3.4.5. Differences within Africa
3.5. Summary

4.1. Introduction
4.2. Diplomatic preconditions
4.2.1. The 2002 World Cup co-hosting decision
4.2.2. Johansson versus Blatter
4.2.3. Television rights
4.3. The two opposing blocs of votes
4.3.1. German formation behind the World Cup bid
4.3.2. German hegemony in UEFA
4.3.3. South Africa and CAF’s division
4.3.4. South Africa’s deal with Brazil
4.4. The public discourse as a moment of pressure
4.4.1. Negative views on FIFA and South Africa’s anger
4.4.2. The Asian ExCom members
4.4.3. The Dempsey Case
4.5. Towards the rotation system and the African World Cup
4.5.1. FIFA’s official version regarding bribery speculations
4.5.2. South Africa’s anger at Dempsey
4.5.3. Towards the 2010 World Cup in Africa
4.6. Summary




For millions of people around the globe, football is an important part of every-day life. Similarly, many African governments have found in international football competitions one of the few opportunities to be internationally represented. Furthermore, through successful participation of their respective national football sides, they internally seek to foster nationhood. In fact, football is an integral part of African self-esteem with regards to being recognised by the rest of the world. However, to succeed in international sports means to succeed in a politico-economic structure far from equality and general solidarity. This thesis goes about the question why South Africa received the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Thereby it will distinguish the position of the African continent within the international football system.

This mega sport event which takes place every four years receives global attention. For a nation to be chosen by the world football body FIFA to host this event elevates a nation to an equal participant in the international community. Particularly because hosting this event is widely demanded by governments, it was of immense significance that Africa, a continent with the stigma of being backward and ‘underdeveloped’, was named as a FIFA World Cup host for 2010. Thus, what this thesis needs to answer is how Africa overcame the stigma of backwardness. This regards the system of international football which is itself embedded within the general system of international social interaction. Thus, this thesis is to make clear the variables of the international football system in association with the overarching social system. A historical analysis will clarify the processes and actors as well as the driving motivations which led to the FIFA World Cup host decision in favour of the African continent.

The outcome of this study suggests that social interaction is driven by the interplay of two variables: normative principles and economic practices. The historical development of modern social behaviour from the 16th century until today’s global capitalism surely reflects the interplay of these two traits. At the hand of the historical development of the international football system this thesis is going to outline this interplay – as a European form of behaviour that came to encapsulate all social relations on the globe particularly by the spread of the cultural practice of football. This study reaches the overall conclusion that the decision to let an African nation host the FIFA World Cup meant that economic practice and normative principles were brought into perceived congruence. At the specific moment in time the decision was made, FIFA diplomacy came to recapture its character of a body that acts ‘fair’ and ‘for the good of the game’. However, this outcome came about by mediation between

clashing self-interests, with South Africa being able to finally succeed. Importantly, this appeasement was a success by the African continent as a whole only in symbolic terms. In economic terms, it was a South African achievement and, thus, the expression of South Africa’s self-interest. Obviously, football is an important element in the submission and general acceptance of the dialectic value-system from which social orders and hierarchies are derived and by which they are maintained in our capitalist (and global) world-economy.


Vir miljoene mense regoor die wêreld is sokker ‘n belangrike deel van hulle allegdaagse lewe. Terselfdertyd verleen suksesvolle deelname deur hulle nasionale spanne ‘n geleentheid vir die vestiging van ‘n gevoel van nasionale identiteit. Sokker is veral vir Afrika-state ‘n integrale deel van hulle self-handhawing. Maar om suksesvol te wees in internasionale sport, vereis ook sukses in politieke en ekonomiese strukture wat nie gekenmerk word deur gelykheid en algemene solidariteit nie.

Hierdie tesis vra die vraag: hoekom het Suid-Afrika die reg verower om die 2010 FIFA Wêreldbeker aan te bied.? Die massiewe sport gebeurtenis wat elke vier jaar plaasvind geniet ongekende wêreldwye belangstelling. Wanneer ‘n staat deur die wêreld sokkerliggaam FIFA gekies word om ‘n wereldbeker aan te bied, word daardie staat geag ‘n gelyke deelnemer in die wêreldgemeenskap te wees. Gegewe die feit dat die Afrika-kontinent die stigma van ‘agterlikheid’ en ‘onderontwikkeldheid’ dra, is die aanbied van die 2010 wêreldbeker in Afrika van enorme belang.

Wat die tesis dus vra, is hoe het Afrika hierdie stigma van agterlikheid te bowe gekom veral in die lig van die feit dat die stelsel van internasionale sokker gewortel is in die groter stelsel van internasionale sosiale interaksie. Hierdie tesis verklaar die belangrikste faktore in die grotere sosiale sisteem wat die rangorde van die internasionale sokkerstelsel bepaal. ‘n Historiese ontleding verklaar die prosesse en akteurs asook die dryfkragte wat daartoe gelei het, dat die FIFA Wêreldbeker toegeken is aan ‘n Afrika-gasheer staat.

Hierdie studie bevind dat sosiale interaksie gedryf word deur twee faktore, nl. normatiewe beginsels en ekonomiese gebruike. Die historiese ontwikkeling van moderne sosiale gedrag sedert die 16de eeu tot vandag se kapitalistiese stelsel weerspiëel duidelik hierdie twee faktore.

Hierdie tesis verduidelik dat die twee faktore sentraal staan tot die historiese ontwikkeling van die internasionale sokker stelsel wat as ‘n aanvanklike Europese spel ‘n universele kulturele praktyk geword het.

Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die besluit om ‘n Afrika-staat as gasheer te kies, genoop is deur die persepsie dat die ekonomiese oorwegings en normatiewe beginsels waarop FIFA gebou is, weer-eens nader aan mekaar gebring moet word.

Die besluit is gebasseer op die veronderstelling dat FIFA sy karakter moet herbevestig as ‘n instelling wat beide ‘regverdig’ en ‘ter wille van die spel’ optree. Hierdie uitkoms was egter ‘n soort kompromie weens botsende belange waardeur Suid-Afrika eindelik kon seevier.

Wat belangrik is, is dat hierdie bevrediging as ‘n sort Afrika-wye sukses slegs in simboliese terme beskou kan word. In ekonomiese terme was dit ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse prestasie en dus eindelik ‘n manifestasie van Suid-Afrikaanse eie-belang. Uit die aard van die saak, is sokker ‘n belangrike element in die toekenning en algemene aanvaarding van die dialektiese waarde-stelsel waardeur sosiale ordes en hierargieë onstaan en in ons kapitalistiese (en globale) wêreld-ekonomie in stand gehou word.


I would like to extent my gratitude to the following people:

- To my supervisor, Dr Janis van der Westhuizen, for his patience and guidance
- To Dr Scarlett Cornelissen and Bartholomäus Grill for their interest in my work and helpful comments
- To my family and friends for their ongoing support and encouragement

Mark-Marcel Müller Frankfurt am Main, Germany October 2006

List of abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt


1.1. Introduction

On 15 March 2001, the FIFA Executive Committee agreed to let the FIFA World Cup rotate between the continents and “that the rotation of the FIFA World Cup, due to begin in 2010, would start in Africa” (, 15.03.2001). On 7 July 2001, the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Buenos Aires ratified this decision by the Executive Committee (, 07.07. 2001). The fact that since the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 it was never held in Africa before meant that an extraordinary change took place. This thesis seeks to understand why this phenomenon in the history of social interaction occurred. It was of global significance and reflected society’s worldwide interdependencies. Analysis of this change will help to understand that today people are living in a global political-economy. To back this claim, this thesis is going to analyse processes in the system of international football. It will find out that these processes are based on the interplay between normative principles and economic practices. By historically analysing the social phenomenon of a football World Cup to be hosted in Africa, this thesis will respect the complexity of this change in particular and international relations in general. It will take into account systemic processes on all levels including economy, politics, and culture and their effect on individuals, households, classes and other groupings, firms, and states.

The first chapter sets the theoretical scene for the analysis in the subsequent chapters. This means to understand what normative principles and economic practice mean in football and in turn what they mean in society at large. Asking why Africa received the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the analysis answers that FIFA sought to represent the capitalist system’s ‘universalism’ in order to legitimise its ‘universal’ football rule. Universalism refers to the historically evolved ideals to legitimise the modern world-system’s order – its processes and hierarchies. FIFA had the capacity to subordinate a sub-system, the international football system as a socio-cultural institution, to the capitalist world-system’s ‘universalism’. In fact, the capitalist world-economy imposes itself onto its principle institutions (households, classes and status-groups, firms, and states) also by help of football. The outline of the Modern World-Systems theory will therefore serve as the analytical framework as well as providing with the main ideas for conceptualising the international football system, its processes and actors, its motivations and legitimisations. As will become clear in this thesis, the interplay of economic practice and normative principles is the root cause for changes in society.

The second chapter will then analyse the roots of the cultural practice of football. The sport incorporated the modern world-system’s universal value-system and was able to submit a sense of order and hierarchy (both national and international) to the general public. Elite classes of society, mainly managers of capitalist firms and state managers used the socialising capacity of football for their own intentions. The sense of order included Christian-based ideals of liberalism, meritocracy, and peace as well as competition and rivalry for the sake of economic growth. Together with the capitalist world-economy’s growth and spread towards a global arena, the football body FIFA came to enhance a sense of this spread and the functioning within. However, decisive for the acceptance to be a platform to display and enhance acceptance of the system and its enlarged geographic space, FIFA needed to incorporate areas outside Europe. In fact, without the so-called developing world, FIFA would not be able to claim and legitimise the ‘universal’ football rule.

The third chapter argues that FIFA had to take Africa into account as a host to the FIFA World Cup. There, this thesis will show that football was introduced by European powers to suppress Africans in Africa; but in contrast, Africans turned the cultural practice of football against their oppressors. The sport helped to support political consciousness and to realise that the ‘universalism’ of equal rights was far from being practiced by European powers. But while football became an important cultural practice in Africa and a symbol for African self- esteem and emancipation, the post-colonial leaders rather came to reproduce the European- given order: In the form of sub-imperialists. Nevertheless, Africa became a central part in the capitalist system’s and the football system’s ‘marketing-characters’ as both an ideological and an economic resource. Increased African representation in the world football body FIFA and on international football fields veiled the inequality that was steadily reproduced in the economic reality of the world-system and particularly in that of international football. Still, especially the ‘marketing-character’ of FIFA had to ensure its image by organising football fairly and equitably. In addition, Africa became an increasingly powerful constituent in FIFA as well as the organiser of a core mode of football production. And finally, South Africa rose to a major power both as an ideological symbol and a politico-economic force in FIFA. Therefore, FIFA had to take an African nation into account as a possible host for the World Cup in order to keep FIFA’s ‘universal rule’.

The fourth chapter will finally conclude that FIFA was forced to hand out the football World Cup to Africa. FIFA’s ‘marketing-character’ and its claim of ‘universal’ football rule was factually threatened. FIFA became more and more a business encounter instead of being the keeper of football’s normative principles of fairness and equality. The most powerful constituents in FIFA, such as the European football confederation (UEFA), were focussed on their own interests. Core state and industry patronage became dominant in FIFA. This led to a boiling point when the 2006 World Cup host decision was made. The FIFA statutes did not allow for any government interference in the decision-making processes of football. But in contrast, Germany’s defeat of South Africa in the host decision rooted in the alliance of Germany with national industries and governments represented by members in the FIFA Executive Committee. In addition to national industry leaders, Germany outmanoeuvred South Africa’s hopes in an outright bidding war. However, journalistic accounts have revealed information which threatened the unity of FIFA, its image, and the image of the dominant powers within FIFA. In fact, the media had developed into the main (if not only) control institution over activities in the FIFA body. The information deployed in the public discourse in newspapers concerning the decision-making processes in FIFA created a pressure moment which South Africa used for its own advantage. While upholding pressure via the public discourse and the threat of official investigations into corruption within FIFA, it became also clear that the conflicting parties would reconcile and reproduce FIFA’s legitimacy as the universal football control institution.

At the same time as FIFA enhanced its legitimacy, also the capitalist world-economy enhanced its legitimacy in favour of the existing hierarchies in the world and to the advantage of the economically dominant powers. Most material profit remains with core nations such as those in Europe, by using peripheral representatives (or leaders) to impose core rule over the rest of the periphery. Nevertheless, the capitalist world-economy is not only driven by economic practices. Those in power shaping material reality need to legitimise their actions politically: Via the acceptance of order by the masses of society in accordance to generally accepted normative principles. In the end, perception of reality is manipulated for the sake of the well-being of those at the top-end of the capitalist world-economy. Nevertheless, as long as a liberal discourse is upheld by the media as an increasingly important democratic institution in international relations, conflict can be channelled into material peace. The capitalist world-economy thereby remains a ‘naturally’ evolving organism. It guides processes within its boundaries towards its own enlargement and maintenance through imposing itself on possibly everyone and everything.

Coming to the framework for analysis, the main argument in this first chapter is that international relations are guided by two variables: the political and the economic. To support this thesis, the process that led to an African FIFA World Cup host will be analysed hypothesising that this change in social relations was the perceived alignment of normative principles and economic practice. This first chapter will provide the theoretical framework: Modern World-Systems theory. In advance, the actual problem this thesis is going to investigate will be highlighted, as well as the aims of this thesis. Finally, the research question and the hypothesis of the analysis will be presented. In addition, before the framework and the concepts for the analysis will be outlined, a literature review will summarise foregone academic thought on international football relations. Thereby, this thesis clarifies its contribution with new knowledge for theorising on international football relations, sport diplomacy and the academic field of international relations.

1.2. Problem to be investigated

The general problem for theorising on international relations remains with understanding changes in social interaction with the intention to foresee change. In order to help solve this problem, this thesis is going to investigate a specific change in international relations that took place in March 2001 which saw the decision to let an African nation host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This will be approached by using a qualitative, interpretive methodology. The specific problem of this investigation is to understand this change with the intention to add knowledge to the academic process of theorising international relations. In particular, the world football body Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA, decided to let an African nation host the FIFA World Cup. Since the first World Cup in 1930 the football tournament has never been held on the African continent before which makes the decision in favour of Africa an extraordinary change in international relations.

Still, the argument that this change was so extraordinary needs clarification. This implies, asking what football and FIFA means. Furthermore, what does football for Africa mean, and what does Africa mean in world football? And what were the processes which led to an African nation host the World Cup, what historic processes moved (who, why, and how) to this decision? To answer these questions, this thesis will analyse the decision starting from the origins of the football sport to the recent decision by FIFA to stage the 2010 World Cup in Africa.

1.3. Aims of the thesis

The main aim of this thesis is to understand the structures and processes of the international football system regarding its economy and its politics in FIFA diplomacy. This will shed light on what predominantly drives football development in the world today: On the one hand, football’s normative principles (the political representation embodied in the football sport’s ideals of fairness, equality, and universalism) and, on the other hand, the economic practices of the international football system (embodied in economic activities within international football). Thus, this thesis is going to highlight the reciprocal relationship of the two processes. In other words, changes in both political ideals and economic demands shaped changes in the structure of the international football system.

By outlining the interaction of the two mentioned processes at hand (normative principles and economic practice), this thesis will outline two compromising traits of human interaction and how they developed into social interdependences on a global scale. This requires to outlining the interplay of local, regional, and global sport processes, the main agents in international sport relations, and the structures of international football relations from the bottom (international division of labour) to the top (international diplomacy).

1.4. Research question and hypothesis

The research question of this paper is: Why did South Africa receive the FIFA World Cup for 2010? This question is posed with why instead of how, or who which emphasises the complexity behind that social occurrence. The hypothesis to answer this question is: FIFA was forced to hand out the World Cup to Africa in order to maintain the view that FIFA represents fairness and equality; which meant that the African World Cup embodied the perceived realignment of normative principles and economic practice. In particular, the thesis here is that social history is the process of the interplay of normative principles and economic practice guiding human individuals to live in a reality that is a political-economy. Finally, the capitalist world-economy as described by the Modern World-Systems theory is our contemporary reality or the world order we live in and made to adhere to.

1.5. Literature review

Elias and Dunning (1971) and Dunning (1971) describe football development from medieval to modern football and detect a transformation of the meaning of sport. The cultural spread of the English Christian-liberalist values was enhanced by football. In fact, football developed into a global culture and shows religious traits (Elias &Dunning, 2003; Pfister, 2002). Much of the older research found, approaches football from a liberalist perspective. In that view, football is the peaceful outplay of conflict to implement and reproduce identities in the form of representational wars (‘symbolic dialogue’), as a form of politics which expresses national and international unity and conflict at the same time (Ashworth, 1971; Lowe et al., 1978; Shaw&Shaw, 1978). Still, some Marxist views on sport are also found which say that the reality of sports reflects the contrast to equality and fairness (Stone, 1971, Gruneau, 1983). Generally, sport is a utility by which ruling actors (states and economic leaders) seek to legitimise and uphold a current order, for example supremacy of one state over another. MacPherson et al. (1989: 102) go so far as to call sport a form of political propaganda. Politics, economy, and sport are inextricably intertwined where states (politics) seek to promote their own profile as well as protect investment (economy) in sport: “sport becomes a form of cultural capital that is traded along with other capital, such as technology, education, and information” (Nixon & Frey, 1996:276).

More contemporary authors take over a ‘globalisation’ perspective on football. However, these often combine realist and liberalist views. Nevertheless, these writings admit economic variables as a main motor for international sport and football relations. The state- centric view on international relations is left thereby, and firms (especially multi-national corporations) are emphasised. Still, the cultural aspect overall receives a prominent place in international football relations which neglects that the cultural issues are rooted in economic behaviour. It is said that football is two-faced in character: while it fosters nationalism, racism, and material inequality, the representational practices are dominated by normative principles of equality attached to strategically deployed symbols (Fanizadeh & Pinter, 2002; King, 2004). Nevertheless, power over football has recently shifted (yet not fully) from political to commercial patronage as well as towards ‘globalisation’ in terms of the interdependency of local, regional, and global structures (Ben-Porat & Ben-Porat, 2004). Football enhances international solidarity through the “de-nationalization of playing styles” or “creolization of fan cultures” (Horne & Manzenreiter, 2004:198). Furthermore, there are also approaches which are closer to a Marxist perspective. Yet, these views rather stay entrenched in the core-periphery view on football relations, in accordance to dependency theory. Furthermore, a lack in conceptualisation on principle institutions in international football as part of an overarching political-economy has led to blurry simplifications; such as regarding the conceptual use of periphery, core, exploitation, or development (Alegi, 2004; Darby, 2000, 2002, 2006, Sudgen & Tomlinson, 2003:195). Still, these sources clarify that “economic disparities between the First World and the Third World impact strongly upon the development of football in Africa and have a direct bearing on its political strength within FIFA”; football is a “symbol of economic and cultural imperialism” (Sudgen & Tomlinson, 2003:195; Darby, 2000:56). More specifically, neo-imperialist practices (particularly by Multi-national corporations (MNCs) backed by states) are legitimised by the linkage of international sport and nation-building whereby a sense of identity at the supra-national level is developed (Houlihan, 1994). And it becomes also clear that exploitative structures of the international division of football labour help African football associations and governments “to obtain top international results” (Poli, 2006:289).

In addition, football is an industrial system wherein which actors seek to create extraordinary surplus value, for example in the form of the FIFA World Cup. Still, this football show called FIFA World Cup remains a hegemonic firm competing with other firms providing football, yet with the power to reproduce status and legitimisation of nation-states’ identities (Fanizadeh et al., 2002; Spitaler & Wieselberg, 2002). The FIFA World Cup stands at the top-end of a global football industry wherein all actors behave according to economic interests and under commercial pressure to withstand monopolistic intentions (Hödl, 2002). Thereby, young football players of peripheral descent are drawn into an exploitative international division of labour (at times perverted in slave-owner relationships) (Giulianotti, 2002; Dabschek, 2006). In fact, states subordinate themselves to the flourishing of national football economies whereby governments legitimise their power through illogical public spending to host the FIFA World Cup and thereby accepting societal burden (Horne & Manzenreiter, 2004). Football has the power to veil discrepancies between rhetoric (e.g. FIFA’s slogan ‘for the good of the game’) and reality as sportsmanship is “surrounded by connotations of honor and ethical imperative” (Lowe et al., 1978:x). This thesis will recapitulate that sports was “a lever for diplomacy; that sport was the number one weapon of the outside in its attempt to change apartheid” in South Africa (Lapchick, 1978:371). In addition, this thesis will reframe the international football system as an industry wherein actors seek to accumulate capital and to create supremacy over other actors. To legitimise this, they represent themselves as bodies which reflect ‘universalism’ in the form of normative principles inherent in football as fairness and equality. Therefore, this thesis will go beyond dependency theory and orthodox Marxist views by highlighting the Modern World- Systems theory as the appropriate framework for analysis into international football.

1.6. Framework for analysis

International relations display a system which is global in character and driven by both ‘political’ and ‘economic’ considerations. In fact, social interaction today is taking place in a global political-economy. Thus, what needs to be developed now is the understanding of what political and economic means in terms of the social reality of football as well as within the overarching global political-economy. The hypothesis here is that the African host decision was an alignment of the two. World-Systems analysis (from now WSA) seeks to incorporate a global political-economic perspective and will therefore be the theoretical basis for the analysis.

1.6.1. World-Systems analysis

The framework whereby this thesis chooses to analyse the international football system is Modern World-Systems theory (from now MWS). MWS is holistic in approach and we see ourselves as a unit of analysis. The main thesis of Modern World-Systems theory is that the currently overarching system is a world-economy and that this system is capitalistic. The historical systems within which humans live (or lived so far) are either a ‘minisystem’, a ‘world-empire’, or a ‘world-economy’. The difference between these categories is found in the ways in which their economies are organised. In minisystems, the economy is organised by reciprocity “(a sort of direct give and take)”. Economies of world-empires function “redistributive[ly] (in which goods went from the bottom of the social ladder to the top to be then returned in part to the bottom)”. The world-economy is organised via a “market (in which exchange occurred in monetary forms in a public arena)” – below some examples of the first two will be given, yet emphasis here rests with the world-economy. Now, the system we live in today is a world-economy. Our world-economy has encountered the whole globe, meaning that all individuals on the globe today live within one world-economy. And finally, this (global) world-economy is the world-economy that has so far prevailed for the longest time, meaning since the 16th century (Wallerstein, 2004:16-17).

The reason why this world-economy prevailed for so long and how it managed to encompass all social behaviour around the globe is that it is capitalistic. Capitalist, in this case, means that the system “gives priority to the endless accumulation of capital” (Wallerstein, 2004:24). This is not so much an ideal or a necessity but rather a practice born of the dictates of the economic system bearing the material reality wherein which social life takes place. The unit of analysis is the whole system and all behaviour within is based on this economic intention of ‘endless accumulation of capital’. This is done through modes of production (or production processes) with the intention to create surplus value (or financial profit). The resources to do so are however scarce and therefore undergo a specific form of distribution. Distribution takes place on a market where goods are exchanged according to the principles of demand and supply. There, a good is sold in exchange for monetary value. In addition, goods are exchanged globally and, hence, there is a global market. However, there are also different markets within the global market with particular boundaries to the outside (meaning the rest of the global market). Furthermore, there are different actors which interact with each other defined as principle institutions of the world-economy: markets, competing firms, states competing with each other in an interstate-system, households, classes, and status groups (Wallerstein, 2004:24).

Modern World-Systems theory reduces social interaction to economic behaviour as the basis for all social interactions. In addition, all actors within the system are interdependent. Indeed, the processes within the system are very complex and, naturally, the reduction of social interaction to economic behaviour meets with many critics. Therefore, the following section will now highlight the criticism on MWS. And thereafter, the framework for analysis will be highlighted including a conceptualisation for the analysis in the subsequent chapters.

1.6.2. Criticism on Modern World-Systems theory and overcoming it

This section will now look at the critiques on the structuralist approach taken by Modern World-Systems theory (from now MWS). They claim that MWS steps into a functionalist and determinist trap saying that MWS falls for a teleological fallacy by reasoning occurrences within the capitalist system to be determined by the systems structure and in turn determining reality in favour of the system’s reproduction. By the end of this section the ‘structure- agency’ dilemma will be overcome, appreciating the structuralist (or functionalist or determinist) approach to reason occurrences in international football.

The critiques on Modern World-Systems theory (from now MWS) look at the perspective to explaining change which is exemplified in the discussion around the emergence of capitalism. The critics highlight that the transition from feudalism to capitalism in 16th century Europe is insufficiently explained by MWS. Favouring endogenous reasons for this change, the exogenous reasoning put forth by MWS is denied by the critics. On the one hand, endogenous reasoning sees “the roots of the transition … in elements internal to the states, specifically in England.” On the other hand, ‘exogenous’ argumentation highlights external factors determining the transition, “particularly trade flows” aiming at accumulating surplus on the world-market (Wallerstein, 2004:14).

Wallerstein (2004:19-21) groups the criticism on Modern World-Systems theory (or world-systems analysis, from now WSA) into four different categories. Thereby, he refers to four different schools of thought: nomothetic positivists, orthodox Marxists, state autonomists, and cultural pluralists. First of all, they are all inclined to be against WSA due to its unidisciplinary approach. In fact, WSA criticises the partition of social science into different academic disciplines as intellectually illegitimate. WSA understands history of society as a single analytic frame in respect of the world’s complexity.

‘Nomothetic positivists’ criticise particularly the ‘grand narrative’ and that MWS bases on hypotheses which are not ‘rigorously’ tested. This critique claims that the propositions and thus the methodology of WSA are not disprovable (proving by negating) and therefore invalid. The nomothetic positivists want quantifiable data and say that WSA does not provide for this and has therefore no legitimacy to reduce complex situations to clearly defined and simple variables. However, as Wallerstein points out, WSA is narrative in character in order to understand the complexity of reality. And quantification as a methodological tool is surely used – where necessary.

The other three categories of critique are somewhat similar to each other as they all claim their own unit of analysis as the only true starting point from which to conduct social research. Whereas ‘orthodox Marxism’ wants a sole focus on the system’s modes of production relationships, the state-autonomists claim that particularly political life must not be reduced to being only determined by economic variables. In their view, the motivations that govern political decisions regarding behaviour of the state as well as behaviour between states (in an interstate-system) ‘are autonomous and respond to pressures other than behaviour in the market’. Finally, with the rise of the various ‘post’-concepts linked to cultural studies, as Wallerstein (2004:21) puts it, world-systems analysis has been attacked with arguments analogous to those used by the state-autonomists. Therein, WSA is said to create a superstructure which subordinates the cultural sphere under economic behaviour without respecting “the central and autonomous reality of the cultural sphere” (Wallerstein, 2004:21). Thus, all of these three criticise the unit of analysis defending the centrality of their particular unit of analysis, respectively the mode of production (class-struggle), state (politics), and culture (individual value frame). The weakness of these critiques is that they contradict the necessity of researching society as a totality – thus within one single unit – in order to theorise on reality as a complex total.

Critique by ‘orthodox Marxists’ focuses on that Modern World-Systems theory says that ‘non-wage labour’ is very seldom. Yet, MWS does not say that such exchange (or non-wage labour) does not take place. It only says that wage-labour is the dominant form of labour in the system and non-wage labour is understood to cease in existence because it is limited in accumulating capital. The other particular critique by orthodox Marxism is that the discussion in MWS on the core-peripheral division of labour is ‘circulationist’ and neglects the ‘productionist base of surplus value’. And thereby, MWS is said to not give the class struggle between bourgeoisie (owners of capital) and proletariat (workers or direct producers) centrality in explaining change.

Before overcoming this critique here, the concept of a core-peripheral division of labour needs clarification. There are different ways of creating surplus value which means different modes of production. However, some modes of production become outmoded and are exchanged by innovative modes of production. The new mode of production is taken over because it can generate more surplus value. The reason therefore is that, through time, the old mode of production becomes known to more producers. In addition, the innovative (or core) mode of production is a quasi-monopoly enforced by a state, for example through a patent system. On the other side, the old (or peripheral) mode of production is rather free-market. More organisers of production start to supply a similar good which leads to a decrease in price (taken the condition that the demand for that good remains on the same level). On the search for greater financial profits the innovative (or core) form of production is taken over, which is generally more knowledge and capital intensive, i.e. it needs investment into knowledge (higher educated human resources for management or the production process) or new machinery (necessary to produce the new product or to substitute respectively increase effectiveness of workers in order to reduce costs). MWS generalises that the old mode of production is more labour intensive (like sewing cloths) and the innovative mode of production is more knowledge and capital intensive (like producing computer chips). In a nutshell, the new mode of production substitutes the old mode of production and the old mode is shifted to other areas where labour is cheaper and does not have the education ready for the innovative mode of production. This shift produces two different areas called ‘core zone’ or ‘core’ (where the new production is processed) and ‘peripheral zone’ or ‘periphery’ (taking over the old mode of production). This represents a division of labour with an axis that sees core on the one side and periphery on the other side. Importantly, the concepts of core and periphery refer to the polarisation of modes of production and the concentration of these in particular zones. And only this concentration of either core or peripheral modes of production gives a zone or a state the definition to be either core or peripheral.

Now, to claim (as orthodox Marxists do) that MWS does not take into consideration the ‘productionist base of surplus value’ is obviously void. With regards to the critique of ‘circularism’ done by MWS, one must acknowledge that the product produced by the old mode of production may still be demanded in the market of the area with the new mode of production. Therefore, the produce made in the ‘periphery’ (defined by the mode of production) by means of the old (or peripheral) mode of production is transported to the ‘core’ (where innovative products are produced) for selling it on the market there. (In fact, this distinction might start within a city and then develop towards the distinction between continents, always referring to the concentration of peripheral or core modes of production.) The exchange value will then be transferred back to the peripheral area. However, production processes may also include both peripheral and core modes of production that form a value chain (see example in the following paragraph). In addition, peripheral areas might also demand products produced by core production processes (the innovative production). There we find circularism, yet not with regards to argumentation or methodology but with regards to empirical processes.

To exemplify this (in the words of the author of this thesis), the production of a car shall be split into two (extremely) simplified processes: generating steel and putting steel onto four wheels. Formerly, the core production included the generation of steel that is exploiting ore from the ground and process steel by heat. The innovation was to put that steel onto four wheels and the knowledge behind it was to know where to put the wheels (at the bottom and not on the top of the steel) which then created the innovative product: a car. Another area was found where steel could also be generated and labour was cheap because it did not have anything else to create income (surplus value for the household). However, the peripheral mode of production allows for less profit than the core mode of production. But in order to introduce a core mode of production capital investment is needed. Because the peripheral area remains with less profitable production processes it is almost impossible to establish a core mode of production in the periphery. Finally, the workers in core modes of production have a more secure income (protection of a quasi-monopoly by the state) and receive higher salaries than those in peripheral modes of production. On the other side, peripheral modes of production in alliance with the state seek to export their products (mostly raw material) in order to gain a bigger share in surplus value. Workers of those peripheral production processes are therefore split between core and periphery. Solidarity beyond these boundaries of complexes is not likely due to this systemic or structural competition.

The critics of MWS look at internal factors rather than external factors to be decisive for change in terms of the origin (transition from feudalism to capitalism in 16th century Europe) as well as the central dynamics of the capitalist world-economy. This critique particularly concerns the interstate-system within the capitalist world-economy. To counter these critiques, Arrighi (2006) refers to two ‘non-debates’. The first non-debate is The Skocpol- Brenner-Wallerstein non-debate as Theda Skocpol (1977) and Robert Brenner (1976) were associated with the dominant critical stand-points in favour of endogenous reasoning. Wallerstein (2004) categorises Skocpol (as well as the prominent critique by Aristide Zolberg) as ‘state-autonomist’ and Brenner as ‘orthodox Marxist’. In the eyes of Skocpol, Wallerstein’s explanations suffer from a two-step reduction: “first, a reduction of socio- economic structure to determination by world market opportunities and technological production possibilities; and second, a reduction of state structures and policies to determination by dominant class interests” (1977:1078-1079). In her critique on the origins of the capitalist system (or the transition from feudalism to capitalism in late medieval and early modern Europe), Skocpol (1977:1083) actually cites Brenner’s interpretation of feudal agrarian class relations, who said:

[E]conomic backwardness … can only be fully understood as the product of established structures of class relations (particularly “surplus extraction relations”), just as economic development can only be fully understood as the outcome of the emergence of new class relations more favourable to new organization of production, technical innovations, and increasing levels of productive investment. These new class relations were themselves the result of previous, relatively autonomous processes of class conflict (Brenner, 1976:36-37).

Brenner (1976:56) claims that the “peasant’s class” in late medieval Europe was able to institutionalise power in order to resist “seigneural” (or landlords’) pressure. “As one historian of the German peasantry has stated, ‘without the strong development of communal life in (west) Germany, the peasant wars (of 1525) are unthinkable’” (Brenner, 1976:58). Internal dynamics of negotiation between formations of power (peasants versus landlords) are here seen as the root cause for structural change. Yet, Brenner admits particular claims made by Wallerstein: First, the 16th century saw the full development of trade. However, this rather mirrored the dynamic which divided the organisation of production and direct producers from market-independent access to means of reproduction. The division which turned land and workforce into goods was not caused by exchange only (Brenner, 1983:99). Second, it is a fact that the rise in population in some countries called for more grain imports and better distribution of nutrition. The Baltic states or the Mediterranean region became exporters for Amsterdam. In turn, the growth of grain production for the world-market depended on different systems of work control in the particular regions. Brenner admits a feudal crisis in the landlords’ production and income to have been a decisive threshold. But he emphasises that this was the result of changes in class relationships and class conflicts (Brenner, 1983:100-101). However, Brenner then steps into a trap when looking at interstate competition. Brenner admits a rise in grain exports to the core (e.g. from the Baltic regions to Amsterdam) as well as that the core created luxury goods for the feudal landlords in Eastern Europe. But is wrong what Brenner (1983:104) then says: industrial products only played a small role in the development of the work forces.

When looking at the structural development of the work forces, Brenner himself highlights ‘feudal needs’. In comparison to the 14th century, the 17th reflected a feudal crisis which stemmed from the investment into extra-economic goods of luxury and warfare. To claim these goods being extra-economic is wrong. Still, he appears to be right in his analysis that the then non-capitalist European agriculture was not investing (or reinvesting) accumulated capital to enhance the mode of agrarian production. The rising competition and the military expenditure by feudal landlords met with the stagnating productivity by farmers. So what happened was that the landlords increased pressure on farmers without acknowledging that they could not produce more. Thus, Wallerstein’s (1978) definition of the crisis as an “overproduction” was rather a crisis of an absolute lack of produce. The prices did not fall but rise (Brenner, 1983:106).

Obviously, the lack of capitalist managers in feudalism led to a competition over existing resources rather then a reorganisation of production towards innovative modes of production. In addition, the building up of capacities to counter increased military competition from outside firmly grounded on market-generated capital as well as industrial manufacture of state-of-the-art weaponry – both rather from the outside than from within states. Here we get to the point of Skocpol’s and Brenner’s critiques regarding the origin of different strengths of states which were to become decisive for hierarchy as well as the unequal exchange between states in the interstate-system. In their view, MWS reasons teleological in saying that this inequality occurred by chance (Brenner, 1983:96).

Here we get to the second non-debate described by Arrighi (2006): The Wallerstein- Braudel non-debate. In fact, WSA can appreciate a particular critique by Brenner (1983). Highlighting Sella (1977) Brenner (1983:90) sees two world-economies existing already before the capitalist system: the city-states of northern Italy and those of Flanders and Northern Germany. Furthermore, he identifies Northern Italy, the Rheinland, and Flanders as the core, France and the rest of Germany as the semi-periphery, and England, Sicily and the regions of the Black Sea as the periphery. Furthermore, Brenner (1983:89) claims a division of labour and specialisation in modes of production to have already existed before the emergence of the capitalist system: England exported wool, France exported wine, Sicily and the Krim specialised on grain, Cyprus on sugar and cotton, and Northern Italy and Flanders on cloth. Individual trade beyond borders was eminent but not imperial (Brenner, 1983:89).

Fernand Braudel was able to combine his analyses on Mediterranean city-states with MWS’s core-periphery analysis. Importantly, the capitalist world-economy was “not the first world-economy, but the first economy to survive as such for a long period and thrive, and it did this precisely by becoming fully capitalist.” In addition to this, the concept of core- periphery must be understood as a “relational concept, not a pair of terms that … have separate meanings” (Wallerstein, 2004:17):

[T]he answer lay in the degree to which particular processes were relatively monopolized or relatively free market. The relatively monopolized were far more profitable than those that were free market. This made the countries in which more core- like processes located wealthier. And given the unequal power of monopolized products vis-à-vis products with many producers in the market the ultimate result of exchange between core and peripheral products was a flow of surplus-value (meaning here a large part of the real profits from multiple local productions) to those states that had a large number of core-like processes (Wallerstein, 2004:18).

Therefore, Braudel called the capitalist system the “anti-market” and far from a free market. And finally, Braudel’s concept of a structural time, longue durée (of the modern world- system), as well as his “insistence on the multiplicity of social times became essential to world-systems analysis” (Wallerstein, 2004:18). The structural time for the unit of analysis means that the capitalist world-system does not claim eternal truth but rather a certain life- span with a beginning, a life in which it ‘develops’, and an end (or “terminal transitions”).

Still, the diverging level of states’ strength needs to be clarified. Due to a lack of space, it can only be shortly defined what “by chance” actually means. The evolvement of innovative modes of production remains a precondition for the inter-state system to have occurred. And this move for innovation, in fact, rooted in an evolutionary human process which goes far back in time regarding the origin of humanity as well as migration of peoples. England’s development of strength serves as a good example. Brenner (1976) shows England’s internal transition from feudalism to capitalism, i.e. the move towards an internal division of labour between regions within England. Such an early level of capitalist economic structuring was, however, conditioned by the geographic position of England on an island. On the one hand, this enabled a rather autarkic societal development, e.g. less disturbances such as the pandemic religious wars on mainland Europe. On the other hand, this geographic position predestined the early advance of England as a naval power, in fact overtaking the United- Provinces (today about the region of the Netherlands) in the capacity to allow for secure long- distance overseas trade. Now, specifically the securitisation of such long distance trade was defining the hierarchy within the interstate-system. Brenner explained, as pointed out above, internal feudalist production relations did not allow for increased accumulation of capital – but the world-market did.

Brenner points out that ‘power is not a good’ and that the control over work is an aspect of the relationships between classes (Brenner, 1983:97). However, power is a good in terms of supplying enforcement of one interest over another. Taxes on surplus created by innovative production processes are demanded by the state in return for security. Therefore, the different states had built huge bureaucracies in order to organise taxation (a part of the surplus created by households and firms). However, households and foremost firms were only willing to pay taxes if the state gave something in return, mainly infrastructure (e.g. education and a transport system, necessities to allow for the smooth running of production processes and selling products) and security (securing property within states and also securing transportation of goods to other markets, e.g. against pirates that targeted shipping lines in the practice of long-distance trade). This meant that the state guaranteed with a monopoly on exercising force. Thereby the state was able to uphold security of property – including life and creating rule of law to ensure the functioning of market exchange – internally and externally, with military force (for external business encounters by large firms seeking for resources to endlessly accumulate capital). Hence, dominant bureaucracies to allocate taxation (in order to provide with security guarantees and infrastructure) emerged at the end of the 15th century in the ’new monarchies’ in England, France and Spain – just at the onset of the modern world- system. After the 30-years-war, most European powers (or states) came to an agreement to settle their conflicts in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This institutionalised Renaissance diplomacy was beforehand developed on the Italian peninsula between the Italian city-states. The Peace regulated interstate relations with rules to set limits to, and allocate guarantees of ‘relative autonomy’ of individual states. These rules were later expanded in the form of international law. Importantly for the definition of states, was that each sought to centralise structures to subordinate regional power under state authority.

And they sought to ensure this by strengthening (really by creating) a civil and military bureaucracy. Most crucially, they sought to give themselves strength by securing some significant taxing powers with enough personnel actually to collect the taxes (Wallerstein, 2004:42).

Fernand Braudel (1984) emphasised the long-distance trade and high finance regarding Renaissance city-states of the Mediterranean (today mainly the area of northern Italy) and emphasised them as ‘centres of gravity’ and ‘organising centres’. From 1350 until 1650 they were defeated in the ‘intercapitalist competitive struggle’ by the European world-economy. For Arrighi (2006:6-7) the focus is “on how a world-economy centred on city-states was transformed into a world-economy centred on territorial states and, in the process, expanded its tentacles to encompass the entire globe” (Arrighi, 2006:6-7). Importantly, despite domination and subordination the states came to meet up and agree on respecting each others existence – ‘sovereignty’. What was necessary therefore was the agreement on specific norms, in fact, universal principles.

Obviously, there were different European world-economies as well as world-empires before the emergence of the capitalist world-economy (or modern world-system). The Italian city-states and their long-distance trade were mentioned. In addition, there was also ‘longer’ distance trade done by the Hanseatic cities regarding North- and Baltic Seas, and also that of the Spanish Empire (later Habsburg and including the area of the Netherlands) which garnered wealth by overseas exploitation of resources (specifically from the then freshly encountered Americas). And also the emergence of the United Provinces (around Holland’s trading power) as the first hegemon of the capitalist system after the 30-years war and the instalment of the interstate-system in the peace of Westphalia had a distinct back-up: What had always legitimised power (and does so today) was culture. It provided for the sense of subordination to rule and order. In most instances, religion was the dominant culture (or cultural practice). Concerning the Italian city-states, the Spanish Empire, or the Roman Empire of German nations, the Roman-Catholic Church was the legitimising force. Also the emergence of the capitalist world-economy stood in timely correlation with the emancipation of a counter religion to Catholicism, namely Protestantism. Religious wars paved the way for a decisive belief-system: secularisation. This psychological transition from believing in a God-given order towards believing in a worldly hierarchy as a derivative of the struggle over endless accumulation of capital was the real transformation of the world-economy into a capitalist world-economy. Such formation of a normative value-system took place in the individuals’ minds. Today, culture (including their normative principles) is found in the form of arts and fine arts (which used to be ruled by churches) and massively implemented in the minds of people through media of the entertainment industry such as literature, music, movies, or sports. In fact, the hegemonic culture today is found in the dominance of a consumer culture. In this sense, football is a cultural practice at the same time as it is a good to be consumed.

Which culture came to succeed was rooted in economic competition whereby the critique by ‘cultural-pluralists’ was overcome. Culture is the societal accumulation of individuals’ reactions. These are derived from psychological processes wherein information penetrates the cognitive processes of individuals. What information penetrates minds, is rooted and guided by the economically (and thus politically) dominant elite. In order to understand an elite’s supremacy, the concept of hegemony will clarify the power of a specific culture. Importantly, the states were to legitimise rule over people within a geographic area by internal cultural hegemony. And this brought about the ‘nation-states’ where nationhood became the sense of belonging and identity by which to legitimise monopoly on force over people which were then called ‘nationals’ or ‘citizens’. Thus, the cultural sense of nation- hood rooted in the military struggle over securing resources and capitalist producers against other ‘nation-states’. This shows the relational character of ‘nation’ as it is defined by being different from other ‘nations’.

This nationalist character of ruling over people within particular boundaries derived from forcefully ensuring market exchange and access to resources including human resources (first workers which are also to become consumers in later stages). Now, a producer (and then seller of products) prefers a monopoly “for then they can create a relatively wide margin between the costs of production and the sales price, and thus realize high rates of profit” (seeking for an endless accumulation of capital). Real monopolies are rare because “one producer’s monopolistic advantage is another producer’s loss. The losers will of course struggle politically to remove the advantages of the winner” (Wallerstein, 2004:26). In the end, ‘quasi-monopolies’ and oligopolies (several producers with a combined monopoly on producing and selling a specific product) are created. A mode of production seeks securitisation of being the only one to produce and sell a specific product in order to increase surplus value. There are different ways to achieve this, for example through patents (an exclusionist system enforced by the state) which reserves knowledge on a new mode of production (“invention”). Other examples are state imposed restrictions “on imports and exports (so-called protectionist measures), or subsidies and tax benefits as tools by a state to support modes of production and selling products (to enhance their monopolistic status). This reflects the respective search for endless accumulation of capital by the state through securing surplus value for capitalists.

Obviously, state and firm follow the same logic as both seek endless accumulation of capital through the reciprocal reinforcement of state power and business monopoly. However, firms are able to choose between different states according to which state can guarantee the utmost security or offer subsidies and other incentives to allow for more surpluses for the firm. Therefore, states compete in attracting firms to subordinate themselves to the power of the state. In contrast, in a world-empire capitalists could not choose between political powers and would be overridden by political interests. “Capitalists need a large market (hence minisystems are too narrow for them) but they also need a multiplicity of states, so that they can gain the advantages of working with states but also can circumvent states hostile to their interests in favor of states friendly to their interests. Only the existence of a multiplicity of states within the overall division of labor assures this possibility” (Wallerstein, 2004:24). Different rulers attempted to establish world-empires, like Charles V in the mid-17th century, Napoleon at the beginning of the 19th century, and Hitler in the mid-20th century. They failed in their attempts to create a structure with “a single political authority for the whole world- system” precisely because capitalists supported the multiplicity of states (or political authorities).

However, there were political powers (or states) which achieved hegemony or became temporary hegemons of the world-economy. This means that “for a certain period of time, they were able to establish the rules of the game in the interstate system, to dominate the world-economy (in production, commerce, and finance), to get their way politically with a minimal use of military force (which they however had in ample strength), and to formulate the cultural language with which one discussed the world” (Wallerstein, 2004:58). So far, three hegemonic powers have emerged: in the mid-17th century the United Provinces (today known as the Netherlands), in the mid-19th century the United Kingdom, and in the mid-20th century the United States. Central to this thesis is Wallerstein’s clarification of the ‘cultural’ that went along hegemonic rule within the capitalist world-economy:

Was there no place for ideas, values, science, art, religion, language, passion, and color? Of course there was, for cultures are the ways in which people clothe their politico- economic interests and drives in order to express them, hide them, extend them in space and time, and preserve their memory. … How could there not be a cultural expression of hegemony? Core powers often dominate peripheral areas, imposing a sense of inferiority on people regarding their own culture; … but cultures are precisely arenas where resistance to hegemony occurs, where appeals are made to the historical values of established ‘civilizations’ against the temporary superiorities of the market. This is true today and was no less true in the seventeenth century (Wallerstein, 1980:65).

This reduction of culture into a politico-economic variable is very important for the thesis presented here. In addition, the understanding of “development” also becomes clearer: On the one hand, it means to take over new or innovative forms of production. This shows a form of historic tradition wherein material processes – innovative (new) modes of production shift old modes of production (Time) to another area (Space) causing an axial division of labour. On the other hand, hegemonic cycles cause a “development” of culture whereby a tradition of norms evolves according to the value frame necessary for the capitalist system to function. These include, for example, voting rights, a minimum wage, or the abolishment of child labour and to emphasise on education. Wallerstein claims this normative tradition to have evolved into a geoculture understood today as “universalism”. In the following section, this chapter will highlight more thoroughly what universalism means. In short, it is the value- system which rooted in Christian teachings and which evolved towards what is known today as ‘liberalism’.

Finally, this section is to define hegemony regarding normative patterns within states as well as in the system as a whole. Although he returns to the state as the prime actor, Cox (1987) must still be highlighted in this regard, specifically his view on the historic bloc:

At any time, concentrations of forces tend to maintain the system’s structure. Disturbances in any one part can be counteracted by mobilizing strength from other parts of the system. Yet change is possible and does happen. Change can occur at all levels – in production relations, in class relations, in the emergence of new historic blocs and of alternative forms of state, and in the structure of world order (Cox, 1987:8).

Cox’s definition of historic bloc and hegemony refers to class relations within states. However, he misses out on the fact that it is a system-wide phenomenon. The liberal ideology served the system as a whole. The point made by Sklair (1997) and Robinson (2005) is that both states’ and capitalist elites can be summoned into the transnational capitalist class (TCC). In order to understand the system as people driven rather than systemic and deterministic, Cox highlights the Gramsican sense of hegemony whereby “[t]he extraction of surplus flows from the subordinate and weaker levels of production to the dominant and stronger” (Cox, 1987:5). This is to overcome the so-called structure-agency dilemma. Nevertheless, what Skocpol (1977: 1080) highlights as the “historically pre-existing institutional patterns, threats of rebellion from below, and geopolitical pressures and constraints” is a system-wide phenomenon. Global capitalism is a vulnerable social system that is in constant stress to “reproduce its hegemonic order globally” via “large numbers of local, national, international and global organisations” (Sklair, 1997:514-515). While Cox stresses the importance of the historic bloc, Sklair makes clear that block formation convenes “the transnational corporation, the characteristic institutional form of economic transnational practices, a still-evolving transnational capitalist class (TCC) in the political sphere, and the culture-ideology of consumerism in the culture-ideology sphere” (Sklair, 1997:520). Overcoming Cox’s (and Gramsci’s) state-centric view, Sklair (1997:521) makes clear that the four main fractions of the TCC today are the actual system maintainers: Transnational corporation (TNC) executives, globalizing bureaucrats, globalizing politicians and professionals, consumerist elites (merchants and media) – including institutions such as teachers or professors, profession in and ownership of media, and also think-tanks. Individuals are interchangeable between these fractions and key individuals are in fact found in more than one of these fractions at the same time. Looking at globalisation today, Robinson clarifies that “Globalisation is not a ‘national’ project but a class project without a national strategy, or rather, with a strategy that seeks to utilise the existing political infrastructure of the nation-state system” (Robinson, 2005:11). When taking the internal ideological hegemony to the international scale, it is the power by a particular state dominating the interstate-system, the hegemon, to enforce this ideology on the system as a whole, serving the system-wide elite, the transnational capitalist class.

Hegemonic powers (including their cultural impetus for the system) rise and thereafter fall (due to the competition between states) which Wallerstein calls cyclical rhythms of a world-economy (or hegemonic cycles). Thereby he refers to Kondratieff-waves which are about fifty to sixty years long and which include two system-wide macro-economic phases: expansion (A-phase) followed by stagnation or contraction (B-phase). In an A-phase the world-economy expands due to economic growth of ‘quasi-monopolistic leading industries’ (backed by political rule). The subsequent B-phase lowers the intensity of quasi-monopolies’ which thrive and the world-economy stagnates and contracts. The A-phase goes along the line of inventing a new mode of production and its flourishing due to its profitability as a monopoly or quasi-monopoly. In the B-phase, however, major production processes become less profitable. Producers start to reduce costs by lowering wage levels or by relocating production to zones where labour is less costly (peripheralisation). “Meanwhile, there is increasing unemployment in core zones, and this affects global effective demand” which finally leads to a chaotic situation. States increasingly influence the market variables of demand and supply, unemployment leads to households’ diminution of consumption strength, and firms lose their consumer base. States become unable to provide for social guarantees and foster national identification to legitimise their power. The hegemon loses its military- economic strength and creates a power vacuum which other states seek to fill. Ultimately a major (world) war breaks out. The hierarchy in the interstate-system (balance of power) is redrawn as every single nation-state seeks to achieve hegemony (or fill the power vacuum left by the declined hegemon). In the history of the capitalist world-economy, this happened three times and therefore, MWS talks of three world wars.

The first was the 30-years-war after which the United provinces became hegemonic. The second was the Napoleonic wars (in aggregate) at the beginning of the 19th century after which the United Kingdom emerged as hegemon. And the third was the aggregate of wars commonly known as the First and the Second World War at the beginning of the 20th century after which the USA became the hegemon. In addition, the end of a hegemonic cycle does not mean that history restarts from where the hegemonic cycle had begun or that the end of a B- phase means the beginning of the A-phase. The new A-phase is different from the previous A- phase meaning that the redrawing of the interstate-system’s hierarchy underwent the significant change from one hegemon to a new hegemon (another state).

Now, in the eyes of MWS, there are many different cultures. Yet, there is one culture that normally dominates the system. During a hegemonic cycle, one state (the hegemon) was able to prominently infiltrate other cultures, either causing a mix or a full incorporation of the hegemonic culture and value system. Culture in terms of norms and values undergoes an evolution towards one common culture, ‘universalism’, which is dominant.

1.6.3 Conceptualisation of Universalism regarding football

“The complex relationships of the world-economy, the firms, the states, the households, and the trans-household institutions that link members of classes and status-groups are beset by two opposite – but symbiotic – ideological themes” (Wallerstein, 2004:38). This is the modern world-systems ‘universalism’ and it is essential for the capitalist system to function. According to Wallerstein (2004:38), it reflects the “priority to general rules applying equally to all persons, and therefore the rejection of particularistic preferences in most spheres” such as racism or sexism, or the supremacy of one group of people over another. Wallerstein (2004:39) claims that “active institutional discrimination” is practiced on a day-to-day basis against particular identities whereby social rankings are produced (which happens everywhere on the globe). The examples Wallerstein (2004:39) puts forth are: “men over women, Whites over Blacks (or non-Whites), adults over children (or the aged), educated over less educated, heterosexuals over gays and lesbians, the bourgeois and professionals over workers, urbanities over rural dwellers.” We find rankings between ethnic groups and between religions. And nationalism defines a specific group as “true” nationals, for example, “adult White heterosexual males of particular ethnicities and religions” (Wallerstein, 2004:39).

In the world of sport, these distinctions are also reinforced, no less so than in global football. Hence, the decision to have an African state host the 2010 Cup sought to undo the perception of hierarchical divisions, especially between the formerly colonised African states and the European colonisers. In doing so, football could be more readily claimed to be ‘universal’. However, a holistic and historical analysis is necessary to illustrate how this came about. Only through a historical analysis for that phenomenon through the modern world- system framework can the decision to allow Africa to host the 2010 World Cup be understood.

This thesis argues that the FIFA decision to let an African nation host the FIFA World Cup, was driven by both economic practices and normative principles. These Normative principles refer to the norms that are represented in football sport: “fair play” (regarding behaviour during a football match) and “for the good of the game” (regarding the way football is organised in the confines of FIFA diplomacy). It is important to understand these concepts (or rather these marketing claims) within the historical legacy whereby these norms came to be accepted as good and legitimate. There were two preconditions: first, the emergence of Liberalism as the basis for the system’s geoculture as well as the emergence of the legitimising processes in modern society. And second, this universalism had to be incorporated and ‘lived’ in the cultural practice of football and its organisation. The sociologist, philosopher, and psycho-analyst, Erich Fromm (1979), provides a good understanding of what Wallerstein (2004) came to define as the evolution of a ‘geoculture’.

According to Fromm, the modern normative principles (the ‘religion of the industrial age’) were rooted in the Christianisation of peoples within the world-system. Christian based humanism emerged in the Renaissance and took over the (utopian) mysticism of writers of the 12th and 13th centuries. The norms included: all are equal before God (God-given order), people must not be used as economic tools by others without being righteously awarded (meritocracy), and the state has the moral obligation to uphold Christian values of equality and justice (Fromm, 1979:135). The actual start of the industrial age’s religion started with Martin Luther’s religious protest (Protestantism versus Catholic Church). The Catholic Church preached ‘universal’ norms but its leaders did not adhere to these norms themselves. However, as Fromm (1979:139-141) puts it, this protest meant to ban the thought of ‘unconditional love’ (or motherly love) and paved the way for ‘conditional love’ (fatherly love or meritocracy); thus away from mercy, feeling, and nature towards justice, thinking, and intellect. Behind a ‘Christian façade’ a ‘new secret religion’ emerged and instead of Christianity’s original values, ‘it reduced humans to servants of the economy’ (similar to what the famous sociologist Max Weber defined as protestant work ethic):

The religion of the industrial age is based on a new society-character which’s core consisted of the following elements: Angst before mighty masculine authority and suppression there under, creating feelings of guilt in those who would not obey, dissolution of the linkages of human solidarity through the regency of self-interest and mutual antagonism. ‘Holy’ in the religion of the industrial age is work, property, profit and power although – in the borders of their general principles – they also fostered individualism and personal freedom. By transformation of Christianity into a patriarchal religion it was possible to dress the religion of industrial age with Christian terminology (Fromm, 1979:141).

In advance of industrialisation, humanist values of medieval times flourished again at the hand of the movement of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th century. This flourishing mounted in the outplay of tension between higher (oppressing) and lower (suppressed) classes of society at hand of the French Revolution. It displayed a political revolution taking place just like a religious revolution: like Islam or the Protestant revolt, it crossed borders and flooded countries and people and spread through preaching and propaganda (Fromm, 1979:139).

However, the movement for individual freedom represented in the French Revolution only lasted shortly. The French Revolution was led into a ‘reign of terror’ (in France) by the ancien regime and gave rise to the ideology of conservatism. As a form of a ‘counter- revolution’, conservatism preached ‘acute caution’ and meant that any kind of social change would have to take place within the confines of established institutions and guided by ‘responsible people’. The main institution to restore and maintain the authority of the traditional institutions was the ‘hierarchical, patriarchal family structure’. Yet, they sought to limit education to the elites and believed that inequality between classes was God-given. This principle channelled (French) society towards the regime by Napoleon Bonaparte who transposed its universalistic self-assurance and missionary zeal into French imperial expansion justified by revolutionary heritage. Politically, conservative ideology was on the rise everywhere after 1794, and presumably ensconced in power after Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 in a Europe dominated by the Holy Alliance. Those who thought that any return to the ancient regime was both undesirable and impossible had to regroup and develop a counter-ideology. This counter-ideology came to be called liberalism (Wallerstein, 2004:61-62).

In fact, the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century was, as Wallerstein (2004:60) puts it, “a turning-point in the cultural history of the modern world-system”. Two fundamental changes emerged as the basis of the world-system’s ‘geoculture’: “the normality of political change and the refashioning of the concept [of] sovereignty” (Wallerstein, 2004:60). Sovereignty was installed by the fact that people were called ‘citizens’ with inclusive universal rights. However, practice showed that ‘citizenship’ actually excluded many people and a debate started on the line between inclusion and exclusion. This debate took place “within the framework of a geoculture that proclaimed the inclusion of all as the definition of the good society. This political dilemma was fought out in three different arenas – the ideologies, the antisystemic movements, and the social sciences” (Wallerstein, 2004:60).

According to Wallerstein, an ideology is more than a set of ideas or theories, and more than a moral commitment or a worldview. It is “a coherent strategy in the social arena from which one can draw quite specific political conclusions.” This ideology is directly associated with the idea of ‘normality of change’ and that the responsibility for it rested with ‘citizens’, was adopted as the basic structural principles for political institutions.

As a result of the struggle between conservatism and liberalism our contemporary geo- culture came to be born through the prevalence of liberal thinking: it was a transformation from humanist thought to “the only theoretical basis of practical knowledge, science” (Wallerstein, 2004:63). Replacing theology and philosophy (thus the transcendental reason for order) started the “path for material and technological progress and hence for moral progress” including specialisation on all levels (including scientific fields). In 1848, a “world revolution” or “social revolution” took place. Political parties were formed and fostered liberalist institutional conduct on conflict. In addition, suppressed classes and status-groups achieved more rights such as legalisation of trade unions, extension of suffrage, or the beginnings of a welfare state. The French Revolution’s punch-line of ‘liberty, equality, and fraternity’ became introduced as public policy. This created ‘citizens’ as members of a ‘nation-state’ (representing the constructed national as the dominant status-group) which sought for their protection enclosure into one ‘nation’ or ‘nation-state’. Workers and peasants were to attend primary school in order to educate them of their ‘national duties’. However, racism played an ever greater part in ‘civilisation’ practices by the state. Imperial conquests were renewed and in 1914 nationalism led to full subordination by all citizens to state rule forcing them into a major war (Wallerstein, 2004:63, 66-67).

Still, universalism is rather used to create a form of ‘normalisation’ by exclusion in terms of including a specific status-group (or identity). Hence, the norms of universalism are perceived differently regarding different spheres of life (or rather when applied to the different principle institutions). Regarding firms or schools, “it means for example the assigning of persons to positions on the basis of their training and capacities” (thus according to merit = meritocracy). Looking at households: for example, “marriage should be contracted for reasons of ‘love’ but not those of wealth or ethnicity”. On the state level, it means for example universal suffrage and equality before the law. Universalism is a “positive norm” and has become “the official gospel of modernity” despite the fact that “negative norms” or “anti- universalism” are eminent in society (Wallerstein, 2004:38-40).

In football, this ‘universalism’ is represented in its rules, including normative principles of fairness and equality. In addition, the use of force (in terms of tackling an opponent) is sanctioned as a foul or even with the exclusion from the field. The establishment of ‘Association Football’ emerged just when liberalism (in terms of meritocracy and peaceful negotiation of interests and change) emerged as a political ideal. The establishment of association football achieved by agreement amongst representatives of the English elite including those from English ruled national-geographic zones such as Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Despite the fact that it was a masculine focussed order, it implied the universal relevance of the rules of the football game beyond state borders, classes, religions, other status-groups, thus including all households.

The concept of fairness is the universal norm of contemporary social interaction. This is explicitly so when looking at John Rawls (2003) definition of political liberalism by conceptualising justice as fairness. The idea of fair social cooperation is derived from rational thinking and bases on the condition of mutual benefit. Modern society is to follow a constructivist approach in order to manifest fair conditions for social cooperation, the way principles of justice are agreed on by representatives of free and equal citizens in a fair situation (Rawls, 2003:178).

It is important to realise that the conception of the person is part of a political and social conception of justice; i.e. it describes how citizens shall view themselves and one another in their political and social relations, … as … lifelong and unlimited cooperative members of a society (Rawls, 2003:495-496).

The fairness ideal in football is promoted by organisers of football and made (more or less) accessible to the general public. In fact, there is a reciprocal relationship between the system- wide universalism and the normative principles of football. This is particularly so regarding the incongruence of material and chance inequality on the one hand and its realignment to promoting fairness and equality on the other. This defines change in the reality of sport and sport diplomacy. The utopian ideals of the liberal ideology were transferred into the sport and were concerned with the “openness of the ranking system”. This openness or fair equality is “ideally only depending on performance” (meritocracy as a precondition for football on the playing field). In turn, this intends to guarantee “a degree of legitimacy of the system which is not existent to such an extent in the class system” (Lüschen, 1976:66-67).

To understand this implementation of norms in society through football, the concept of identification is essential. Central to modern social history is the notion of universalism as being either excluded or included.

The most important key to understand both the character-structure as well as the secret religion of today’s society is the transformation which took place in the society- character between early capitalism and the second half of the 20th century. The authorial-constrained-hoarding character which started to establish itself in the 16th century and which predominated at least in the middle-class until the end of the 19th century blended itself with the marketing-character or was ousted by it (Fromm, 1979:141).

Marketing-character means that the single individual experiences itself as a good and its own value not as a utility but as an exchange-value. The human being becomes a good on the ‘personality-market’. The evaluation is the same as on a regular market. The difference is that personalities are supplied in return for an exchange-value. Success is dependent on how well an individual can sell himself on the market, if he ‘wins’, how ‘attractive’ his package is, if he is ‘happy’, ‘solid’, ‘aggressive’, ‘reliable’, and ‘ambitious’, depending from which milieu he comes, which club he is member of, and if he knows the ‘right’ people. The deployment of these traits depends on which profession or economic task one seeks to occupy. ‘The highest priority of the marketing-character is total adaptation in order to be unconditionally attractive on the personality-market. … He steadily changes according to the principle: “I am the way how you want me to be.” … [The intention thereof is] to function according to the logic of the “megamachine” [or the capitalist world-economy or the modern world-system]’ (Fromm, 1979:142). Now, this thesis sees that this ‘marketing-character’ refers not only to individuals but also to social institutions such as football as a whole and FIFA (as the world governing body of football) in particular. And there lies an inherent ambiguity: while football serves to identify with a specific identification (city or nation), FIFA seeks to transcend that narrow identification towards universal norms like fair play and chance-equality, which is adaptable to all modern forms of sport such as presented in the realm of the Olympic Games.

[O]ne should think of the raving nationalism with which many people follow the Olympic Games which presumably serve peace. The popularity of the Olympics is itself an expression of Western heathendom. It is a celebration to the honour of the heathen hero: the victor, the strongest, the one who can best carry through, wherein spectatorship is ready to oversee the dirty blend of business and publicity which now marks today’s version of the Greek Olympic Games (Fromm, 1979:138).

According to Fromm (1979), it is human nature for individuals to want to feel as ‘one’ with others and to avoid the feeling of isolation. This means the search for unity with nature, but foremost with other people, e.g. mother, idol, tribe, nation, class, religion, and organisation. They want to participate in a felling of ‘us’ or ‘we’ and are scared of being ‘outsiders’ through a ‘symbolic solidarity’. However, this is not real solidarity because it is conditional and rather self-focussed (Fromm, 1979:104). Happiness in this case is not really ‘shared happiness’ but a ‘taken’ or ‘consumed’ happiness (Fromm, 1979:113). In football, this happiness is reproduced by identification with a specific team (wishing to defeat an opposition) as well as by the excitement produced by the openness of the match (insecurity of victory).

In the case of the FIFA World Cup, Fromm’s ‘marketing-character’ refers to the intention of the national side to be identified with a ‘nation’. At the same time, ‘marketing- character’ refers to the image of FIFA as the main organising body to inclusively transpose universal norms into equal competitiveness for all participants to ensure that victory is based on sporting merit. And such meritocracy is the main trait of FIFA’s ‘marketing-character’ of fairness which refers both to the football field and the diplomatic field. Thus, FIFA diplomacy seeks to create the view of openness and chance equality for all members. And, in fact, the decision to let Africa host the 2010 FIFA World Cup sought to present this justice in terms of fairness embodied in FIFA. Therefore, the symbol of the host decision is identified as that of Africa having developed into a ‘highest-performance-athlete’ in the international community in general. However, the hard facts of economic reality show that it was rather South Africa and not Africa as a whole that managed to become perceived as such a top-performer.

What skews equality in the reality of social interaction (including the football system) is that the system gives priority to ‘endless accumulation of capital’. And this defines the economic practice found in the football sport. To achieve capital accumulation in sport is equal to victory in terms of the performances’ material preconditions. In international football, this means the historic-economic givens for performances on the football field as well as for achievements in FIFA diplomacy. Crucial for universalism or geoculture with regards to football and its diplomacy is identification. According to Fromm (1979:37), identification is mostly used mistakenly for describing imitation or subordination. To the author of this thesis, identification rather refers to the spiritual incorporation of a specific feeling that is produced by understanding the self as part of a bigger group or a bigger order. This creates a meaning for the individual life and acceptance of order in terms of the individual’s place in time and space.

Football represents an ongoing tradition embodied in the overarching regulator over this cultural practice, FIFA. The Modern World-System became truly global through economic- military expansion. This enabled FIFA to represent a common ‘global’ tradition – by inhibiting the history of a common cultural practice. And only if FIFA represents the common tradition according to meritocracy in respect of contemporary standards of fairness and equality can it legitimise its universal football rule. Hence, the football tradition embodied by FIFA is perceived as something ‘good’ as it stands in line with the modern world-system’s ‘universal’ norms.

According to Fromm (1979:37), people’s main objective regarding their free-time today is consumption. In fact, the formula of modern consumers’ identification is “I am what I have and what I consume.” Similarly, consuming the ‘good’ football tradition means that consumers identify the self as part of that ‘good’ and global tradition. Because this football tradition is presumed to be going on forever, the self is transcended into a greater order through identification. Therefore, afterlife was transformed into a more graspable and real-life function of the self. This process of transcendence is facilitated either as an active player or organiser to be remembered ‘forever’ in the annals of the sport tradition, or as the fan who enables a team’s victory as the so-called ‘13th team member’. What is consumed through football is in fact a sense of eternity or the sense of the self as an eternal being. Football becomes a transcendental experience of life as a common (and today global) reference point. The memorisation through active participation (actively playing or actively cheering) is what Wallerstein (2004) refers to as a celebration whereby a sense of the self in space and time is created.

Yet, inequality is produced within FIFA. And given the popularity of football, it legitimises the capitalist interstate-system. While the individual perceives a possibility to understand the self within and across time and space, football fosters the liberalist maintenance of the modern world-system. The football competition enhances affiliation and provides with reference points for identification, especially national identity. International matches in general (such as clubs of different nationalities or continental championships like the African Cup of Nations) and the FIFA World Cup in particular create possibilities for ‘peaceful’ rivalry between ‘nations’ by peoples’ identification with ‘national sides’ (football teams). It enhances peace at the same time as it reproduces national rivalry. The interstate- system receives a tool by which to peacefully achieve recognition and legitimisation. By the congruence of normative principles displayed in football and the ‘universal’ norms of general society (both nationally and internationally) universalism becomes accessible to those who are otherwise not willing to, not having the time to, or not being able to identify the capitalist ‘universalism’ as ‘good’ through costly (time and effort) philosophic reflection.

Finally, universalism is important because it is believed to ensure a better functioning of production processes. It fosters the selection of ‘the best’ professionals by competence and merit.


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Africa’s place in the international football system
Why South Africa received the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Stellenbosch Universitiy
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Football, South Africa, Africa, World-Systems Theory, Soccer, FIFA World Cup, Politics, Diplomacy, Power, Fußball, Südafrika, Afrika, Immanuel Wallerstein, Politik, FIFA Weltmeisterschaft, Diplomatie, International Studies, International Relations, Internationale Beziehungen, Welt-System Theorie, 2000, 2006, 2010, Gerhard Schröder, Danny Jordaan, Thabo Mbeki, Franz Beckenbauer
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Master of Arts International Studies Mark-Marcel Müller (Author), 2007, Africa’s place in the international football system, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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