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Nationalism, Patriotism, and Sport

Thursday, 29 March 2018 - 7:15am

In a recent essay published on the website of the Arts & Humanities Research Council, McDonald Lecturer in Christian Ethics and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker Dafydd Daniel explores the distinction between patriotism and nationalism in the context of international sport and through the lens of ‘warrior’ virtues and ‘common’ virtues.  


In a follow-up to his writing on the relationship between patriotism, nationalism, and international sport, Dr Dafydd Mills Daniel was interviewed about sporting rivalry and international politics during the FIFA World Cup. The interview was posted as a feature article at the Arts and Humanities Research Council: "Russia 2018: How world class football can 'normailse' unacceptable politics"

Dafydd suggested that their can be unforeseen long-term benefits in encouraging rival nations to take part in sporting competitions against each other. However, such benefits are overshadowed when the principal motivation for sporting competition is money, and when the rhetorical language we use to describe sport shifts.

Once we start to talk of sport as ‘not just for the good’ but as ‘an ultimate good’ it helps to ‘normalise unacceptable politics’. When sport is regarded as an end in itself, we no longer think that political changes within, or between, countries should precede, or follow from, international sports competitions.