International sporting events, including the Olympic Games and
the FIFA World Cup, have experienced profound growth in popularity
and significance since the mid-twentieth century. Sports often
facilitate diplomacy, revealing common interests across borders and
uniting groups of people who are otherwise divided by history,
ethnicity, or politics. In many countries, popular athletes have
become diplomatic envoys. Sport is an arena in which international
conflict and compromise find expression, yet the impact of sports
on foreign relations has not been widely studied by scholars.
In Diplomatic Games, a team of international scholars examines
how the nexus of sport and foreign relations has driven political
and cultural change since 1945, demonstrating how governments have
used athletic competition to maintain and strengthen alliances,
promote policies, and increase national prestige. The contributors
investigate topics such as China's use of sports to oppose Western
imperialism, the ways in which sports helped bring an end to
apartheid in South Africa, and the impact of the United States'
1980 Olympic boycott on U.S.-Soviet relations. Bringing together
innovative scholarship from around the globe, this groundbreaking
collection makes a compelling case for the use of sport as a lens
through which to view international relations.
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