Football, like education or the corporate world, is a revealing and often contradictory field for the academic study of diversity. The tensions between ethnic communities, cultural norms and linguistic practices were on the agenda of a recent French-German ‘Junior Colloquium’ organised on 6 November 2014 by Jean-Christophe Meyer and Pierre Weiss at the University of Strasbourg, with the support of the CIERA (the Paris-based Interdisciplinary Centre for Studies and Research on Germany).
As the name suggests, a ‘Junior Colloquium’ is an opportunity for young scholars, usually PhD candidates, to present their work to established scholars in the field, who are expected to give critical and constructive feedback. The Strasbourg event delivered on this promise and provided a lively debate following original paper presentations.
Albrecht Sonntag, invited as discussant, along with other well-known scholars in the field such as Dietmar Hüser or William Gasparini, concluded the morning session, which included papers on ethnocentrism in German fan culture, identity ‘bricolage’ among French-born Algerians, and the comparative use of Anglicisms in media coverage.
Other presentations dealt with issues like the ethnographic study of the behaviour of players within an ethnically mixed women team, or the top-down efforts by public authorities in favour of social and ethnic integration in amateur football on both sides of the Rhine. The colloquium was wrapped up in a conclusion by Alfred Wahl, emeritus professor and pioneer of French football studies in the 1980s.
Congratulations to the organisers for this excellent initiative, as well as to the CIERA for their support of this useful and enriching format.