2 July 2014

How countries are using the World Cup as a nation-brand booster - or otherwise

In my last postI shared my thoughts on country and city brand rankings. Now, I want to debate the entanglements of another competition, the FIFA World Cup 2014.
At first glance one can critically ask – is this another contribution to the massive debate on football? I’d like to reassure readers that I don’t plan to talk all about football, as my knowledge of that is rather weak. Instead I want to discuss another competition taking place in the shadows of the World Cup – a competition of 32 national images.

In the field of World Cup studies, Stuart Jeffries from The Guardian kicked off with a critical parallel discussion in A critical theoretic Marxist dialectical analysis of the World Cup song. Jeffries convincingly states that the song ‘is a brilliant critique of the ideology on which the World Cup, and indeed any purportedly unifying global sporting event, rests’.

As argued elsewheresporting, cultural and other entertaining events cannot create high impact on places if they are not integrated in a wider strategy. But do they attempt to enhance nation image and reputation? Or, as the World Cup anthem – ‘We Are One (Ole Ole)’ asks for – is the World Cup able to unite divided nations? Can it bring citizens together in support of their country, not only inside the playground?

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