Author:Tibor Komar (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb)
Paper short abstract:
This paper is reviewing the symbolic relationship between identity and football among the Croatian national team members born in diaspora. Emphasis is placed on expression of national identity of top football players who choose to play for the national team of their "imagined homeland".
Paper long abstract:
This paper is reviewing the symbolic relationship between diasporic cultural identity and football among the Croatian national football team members born in diaspora. Emphasis is placed on finding the elements that contribute to construction of national identity of later generations of migrants, specifically top football players who rather choose to play for the national team of their ancestors and for the "imagined homeland" (where they actually never lived) than for a country of their birth. As one of the functions of sport is that it acts as a mechanism for promoting national solidarity, a sense of identity and community, football has shown to be an ideal testing ground for exploring the symbolic dimensions of belonging, identity formation and discursive practices that shape national sports loyalty. The research behind this paper is based on several key research questions and is elaborated around results obtained from a number of semi-structured interviews and fieldwork conducted in Germany and Croatia. Migrant communities are usually places where social memory and national heritage are being reproduced and transferred to younger generations of migrants. Through analysis of interviews that the author has recently made with members of Croatian national football team born and living outside Croatia, this paper will try to point out the practices and discourses related to non-political context of national identification through football in (Croatian) migrant communities.
Imaginaries of migration: identity and belonging