Wetenschap Leestijd: 16 november 2013
National bonding and meanings given to race and ethnicity: watching the football World Cup on Dutch TV. Sterkenburg, J. van (2013).

In this article, the author examines how the FIFA World Cup broadcast on Dutch television informs its viewers around understandings of race/ethnicity and nation. International sport contests may provide a sense of national belonging that overrides other markers of difference such as ‘race’, ethnicity or gender. As such, the football World Cup can be considered a tool for constructing a collective national identity among viewers of various racial or ethnic origins.

The project provides a unique opportunity to explore this further. One of the aims is to explore if and how race and ethnicity as markers of difference may be overridden by feelings of connectivity with the Dutch national team and to what extent this differs for various ethnic audience groups. A total of 36 persons, 12 European-Dutch, 13 Surinamese-Dutch and 11 Moroccan-Dutch, were interviewed.

Findings from the study suggest that various ethnic audiences experience a feeling of national bonding but at the same time engage in everyday processes of racialization/ethization. These results will be situated in an international comparative perspective during the substantive element of this article.

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