The beautiful game in the Middle East w/ Abdullah Al-Arian

19 Jul 2022 – 13:00 - 14:00 BST
CAABU (online event)

Far and away the most popular sport in the world, football has a special place in Middle Eastern societies, and for Middle Eastern states. With Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, this region has been cast into the global footballing spotlight, raising issues of geopolitical competition, consumer culture and social justice.

CAABU invites you to an online briefing on football in the Middle East, with an expert panel of speakers: Abdullah Al-Arian, author of Football in the Middle East; Zahra R. Babar, Associate Director for Research at the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University in Qatar and Professor Ramón Spaaij, a sociologist based at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

About the book

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book examines the complex questions raised by the phenomenon of football as a significant cultural force in the Middle East, as well as its linkages to broader political and socioeconomic processes. The establishment of football as a national sport offers significant insight into the region’s historical experiences with colonialism and struggles for independence, as well as the sport’s vital role in local and regional politics today–whether at the forefront of popular mobilisations, or as an instrument of authoritarian control. Football has also served as an arena of contestation in the formation of national identity, the struggle for gender equality, and the development of the media landscape.

The twelve contributions to this volume draw on extensive engagement with the existing body of literature, and introduce original research questions that promise to open new directions for the study of football in the Middle East.

About the author

Abdullah Al-Arian is Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University in Qatar, and the author of Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt.

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