Richard Whittall:

The Globalist's Top Ten Books in 2016: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Middle East Eye: "

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer is one of the weightiest, most revelatory, original and important books written about sport"

“The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer has helped me immensely with great information and perspective.”

Bob Bradley, former US and Egyptian national coach: "James Dorsey’s The Turbulent World of Middle Eastern Soccer (has) become a reference point for those seeking the latest information as well as looking at the broader picture."
Alon Raab in The International Journal of the History of Sport: “Dorsey’s blog is a goldmine of information.”
Play the Game: "Your expertise is clearly superior when it comes to Middle Eastern soccer."
Andrew Das, The New York Times soccer blog Goal: "No one is better at this kind of work than James Dorsey"
David Zirin, Sports Illustrated: "Essential Reading"
Change FIFA: "A fantastic new blog'

Richard Whitall of A More Splendid Life:
"James combines his intimate knowledge of the region with a great passion for soccer"

Christopher Ahl, Play the Game: "An excellent Middle East Football blog"
James Corbett, Inside World Football

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sport, Politics, and Society in the Middle East

July 29, 2020 James M. Dorsey

Sports scholars Danyel Reiche and Tamir Sorek’s edited volume, Sport, Politics, and Society in the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2019), makes a significant contribution to what remains a largely understudied, yet critically important segment of Middle Eastern political and social life. It does so by discussing in eleven chapters multiple aspects and consequences of the region’s incestuous relationship between sports and politics. These range from corruption, the role of the private sector, an emphasis on elite sports and projection of the state at the expense of grassroots sports to battles for identity expressed among others in memories to how sports chants in Israel reflect society’s political and social moods as well as it fault lines, the struggle of women to overcome deeply entrenched social modes and how social media helps them with branding. The edited volume is not only an at times ethnographic dive into Middle Eastern sports’ multiple facets but also in many ways a mapping of how much remains to be explored. This is a volume that should attract the attention of anyone who is interested in the Middle East, sports and/or gender issues as well as readers whose focus is a specific country like Turkey, Israel, Palestine or Jordan or a group of nations like the Gulf states. Whatever one’s preference is, Reiche and Sorek have produced a volume rich in texture, insight and breadth that is likely to prompt the reader to think differently about the political and societal importance of Middle Eastern sports.
Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. He is also a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute of Fan Culture in Germany.

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