Soccer and Philosophy
Taught By: Simon Critchley
The FIFA soccer World Cup is the most popular sporting event on planet Earth. This year, for the time since its inception in 1930, the World Cup will take place in the Fall, running from November 21st until December 18th, 2022. All the major European and world leagues will suspend their schedules and the action will move to Qatar, a small but very rich Arab state with little in the way of soccer history. Numerous stadia are being built at enormous cost, and many questions have been raised about the exploitation of guest workers and the significant corruption of soccer’s governing body, FIFA. The whole spectacle is a horror show and there have many calls from various national federations, investigative journalists and fan groups to boycott the event. Yet it would appear to be going ahead. So much for the beautiful game, one might think. Yet this crisis presents a unique and unrepeatable opportunity for thinking about the philosophical significance of soccer and place it occupies in our troubled world. The idea of this seminar is to begin by developing a philosophical approach to soccer, based on phenomenology, hermeneutics and social history and theory (I wrote a book on soccer in 2017 which outlines this approach called What We Think About When We Think About Soccer). There is a lot of great material written on soccer, on the history, sociology, tactics and ideology of the game, which we will read as well as immersing ourselves in a world of other media, especially podcasts. But the main task will be to develop techniques of observation and attention and to apply them to watching games, providing historical context, analyzing data and statistics, and everything else that happens in and around the World Cup. The class will have a particular tempo, beginning relatively slowly and meeting less frequently and then accelerating during the World Cup itself and meeting more often. I will expect students watch a significant number of games and report back to the group with their findings. Assessment will be more innovative, based on reports and whatever media appear most relevant to the phenomenon at hand. I expect this class to be intense, time-consuming and not the faint-hearted. But it should also be extremely enjoyable and provide a unique occasion for creative group work. Pre-approval for this class is necessary by emailing Simon Critchley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)
Department: Philosophy (LPHI)
Campus: New York City (GV)
Course Format: Seminar (R)
Max Enrollment: 18
Add/Drop Deadline: September 12, 2022 (Monday)
Online Withdrawal Deadline: December 18, 2022 (Sunday)
Seats Available: Yes
* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.
* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:24am EST 11/29/2022