Cover Vanity Fair 4 (small)At the moment when the draw for the group stage of Euro2016 brings together 24 national delegations in Paris and sparks the first anticipation of the big European tournament that is going to held in France next summer, a new book takes a retrospective look at the last edition of what is now commonly called « the Euro ».

‘The European Championship – Mega-Event and Vanity Fair’, just released by Palgrave-Macmillan, is based on anthropological and sociological research around Euro2012, the first European Championship to be held in two Eastern European countries, Poland and Ukraine.

The way in which football becomes a tool and carrier of national identity has been extensively researched over recent decades. The question of whether players and fans, as they experience increasing mobility within Europe, undergo changes through transnational football encounters and whether this may enable individuals to develop a certain reflexive understanding of Europeanness, has however been underexplored or ‘strangely ignored’, as Simon Kuper (Financial Times) says.

An event like Euro2012 turns out to be a ‘marketplace of identities’. Research reveals, through fieldwork on-site and in-depth media analysis, how fluctuating loyalties and belongings have become, how perceptions of oneself and the « Other » are constantly renegotiated and how identity and alterity are performed in public. The book thus explores in seven chapters how the meaning of football mega-events has changed in recent decades and what European football’s biggest festival says about being European today.

‘The European Championship – Mega-Event and Vanity Fair’ is the third book of the Football in an Enlarged Europe series founded on the transnational and interdisciplinary FREE Research Project and edited by David Ranc and Albrecht Sonntag.



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