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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Football is football and is interesting, very interesting

Davis, Paul (2015) Football is football and is interesting, very interesting. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 9 (2). pp. 140-152. ISSN 1751-1321

Item Type: Article


There are robust consequences of the fact that football is football and not something else. The aesthetic personality of football does not submit to a template inappropriately borrowed from elsewhere. One consequence is that beauty should not be awarded privileged status. Any just aesthetics of the game must be properly hospitable to the game's less hygienic and agonistic features, such as stolid defence, scuffling and scavenging, heroic goalkeeping, visible toil and strain, the intrinsic possibility of failure, the visibly strenuous working with materials (most obviously the body), one’s exposed vulnerability to conditions, luck, loss of form and the injured or ageing body, and the visible realisation of a plurality of life-values in a self-enclosed domain. This gives football a deep affinity with a Modernist aesthetics. However, ‘traditional’ aesthetics might also have a substantive and precious input into the aesthetics of football. Indeed, it might be that beauty is a legitimate aesthetic category and that it figures in true statements about football. Furthermore, the agonistic and traditionally aesthetic can fuse in rich and dramatic ways, within campaigns, performances and individual plays.
Football fandom therefore fails to normatively submit to any privileged desideratum of the contest. Fans legitimately enjoy the spread of both agonistic and traditionally aesthetic qualities. This is illustrated in the individual contest, but more powerfully through a campaign, where conditions, contests and performances of radically different flavours are properly enjoyed and sometimes not fully assessed in their meanings until the conclusion.

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Depositing User: Paula Normington


Item ID: 6295
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ISSN: 1751-1321
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ORCID for Paul Davis: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 10 May 2016 13:35
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 13:01