The transition game: Toward a cultural economy of football in post-socialist China.

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    • Abstract:
      Following decades of significant economic and political reform, a once-closed China has emerged as the world's fastest growing and arguably most interconnected political economic system. In the context of what has been termed a "post-socialist" transition, China's sport system has similarly undergone rapid marketization (bringing in market actors and action). In this article, we examine the changing state and function of football (soccer) within this period of post-socialist transition. We provide a critical analysis of recent (c. 2010–2017) private and state-based initiatives to develop the commercial viability, international interconnectivity, and cultural significance of football (soccer). Drawing upon theories of cultural economy as developed by the globalization theorist Arjun Appadurai, we provide an historical and conceptual investigation of the strategic efforts to nationally imagine football culture as, and within, transitioning China. To do this, we examine how state actors and private intermediaries have leveraged increases in high-profile player transfers, domestic franchise valuations, investment in foreign teams, development of player academies, overall youth and adult participation, and expanded media rights agreements to simultaneously economize Chinese football culture and culturalize the logics of commercial sport and free market capitalism more generally. In so doing, we map the various "scapes" through which people, capital, images, technologies, and ideologies have been set aflow and thereby frame new imaginings of mass privatization, mediation, and consumerism for a national football consuming public. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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