Global Culture and Marketing of FC Barcelona
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Area of Study
Management, Marketing, Popular Culture Studies, Sports Management
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
Course focus and approach:
This is a course that analyzes the key role of football in the European context within the
framework of cultural studies, focusing on the historical, sociological and political issues tied to a specific case study: Football Club Barcelona. The course develops critical tools to interpret the significance of sport in the modern era, by highlighting the implications a brand like FCB has in social, cultural and media contexts.
European football (soccer) has become a major cultural vehicle in the globalized world, both in terms of economical impact and social influence. This course focuses on the links between the game and the different dimensions that surround it: media coverage, symbolic value, political targeting, class and gender issues, or public and corporate policy… FC Barcelona is a unique case study that embodies tensions between European, Spanish and Catalonian national identities while arguably being the most accomplished team of the 21st century in terms of game style. But its significance goes beyond the game itself, blending with global marketing strategies and transnational fandom. We will make the best of being located in Barcelona in order to develop ethnographic research to better understand football as a controversial issue within contemporary popular culture.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
Understand the sociological, cultural and historical issues that shape football as a key Catalan, Hispanic and European phenomenon.
Develop a critical view of the game’s media coverage as well as the different communication strategies involved.
Get to know the game’s historical implications in a deeper level, learning to interpret the very styles and structures of football along with its inner symbolism.
Grasp the links between Barcelona as a contemporary global city and FC Barcelona as a unique team –and club- in football’s history. Visualize and discuss the tensions between culture and marketing, the anthropological and the economic, within the current landscape of monetized sport competitions in a globalized world.
The course combines required readings to be discussed in groups with a variety of assignments and field-studies related to how football is experienced in the city, in order to grasp its historical significance critically. Depending on the public protocols and limitations related to
Covid-19, the specific assignments will be adapted to facilitate the student’s work throughout the course.
The course is based on a series of theoretical classes and reading seminars the content of which will be further developed by the students with different tasks and assignments, such as reporting on the media coverage, writing critical essays and making interviews. Other activities involve a field trip to one of the oldest FCB penyes (social clubs). Groups of four/five students will work together reading and researching about specific topics, in order to present their findings within the classroom to the rest of the classmates, promoting a collaborative pedagogy where the key issues have to be presented and discussed collectively. Each group will showcase their work in two ways: a class presentation based on a previous reading (weeks 5 o 8), and a critical research project based on the analysis of a football-related visual motif, submitted as a final group-paper.
The course’s assessment comprises the following inputs: group presentation of a reading (30%), a group research project about football and visual motifs (50%), and class assignments (20%).
There will be two individual class assignments to be handled in weeks 1 and 3.
The reading presentations are group-based and will be presented during weeks 5 to 8.
The visual motif final projects are group-based and develop through the whole term.
Football Culture: Anthropo-Geographies
Reading: The Illustrated History of Football
FC Barcelona: History & Sociology I
Reading: How Football Explains The World
FC Barcelona: History & Sociology II
Reading: Barça, A People’s Passion J.Burns
FC Barcelona: From History to Tactics
Reading: Inverting the Pyramid J. Wilson
FC Barcelona: Gameplay & Identity I
Reading: Another Way of Winning G.Balagué
FC Barcelona: Gameplay & Identity II
Reading: The Special One Diego Torres
La Masia: Education & Role Models
Reading: Senda de campeones M.Perarnau
Football and Branding: FCB Transmedia
Reading: Convergence Culture H. Jenkins
CLASS 9 – METHODOLOGICAL WORKSHOP I – Football and Visual Motifs
CLASS 10 / GROUP READING 1
Football and War, Combat Narratives
Reading: Dynamo Andy Dougan
CLASS 11 / GROUP READING 2
Football: Totalitarianism vs. Democracy
Reading: Football Against The Enemy S. Kuper
Week 6 No class, national holiday
CLASS 12 / GROUP READING 3
Football, Hooliganism & Mob Mentality
Reading: Among The Thugs Bill Buford
CLASS 13 / GROUP READING 4
Football and Bonding: Being a Fan
Reading: Fever Pitch Nick Hornby
CLASS 14 / GROUP READING 5+6
Football and Patriarchy: Gender Gaps
Reading: A Beautiful Game Jean Williams
CLASS 15 / GROUP READING 7
Football and Children: Miss-Educations
Reading: Niños futbolistas J. P. Meneses
CLASS 16 / GROUP READING 8
Football, Wellbeing and Public Policy
Reading: Soccernomics Kuper-Szymanski Week 9
METHODOLOGICAL WORKSHOP II
Football & Visual Motifs: Images + Interviews
Football & Storytelling: Hero’s Journey
Reading: La jugada de mi vida A. Iniesta
CLASS 19 / FIELD TRIP or GUEST CONFERENCE (depending on Covid-19)
Football & Storytelling: Class Struggles
Reading: Ken Loach+Sport and Film Crosson
Football & Storytelling: Offside (2006)
Reading: Sport and Film Seán Crosson
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.