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Sport, politics and reunification - a comparative analysis of Korea and Germany

Taylor & Francis
Publication Date
  • N260 Sport
  • Leisure And Recreation Management
  • L311 Sport And Leisure
  • Political Science


FINAL Sport, Politics and Reunification (revised final) - Udo Merkel 1 Sport, Politics and Reunification – A Comparative Analysis of Korea and Germany (Udo Merkel – School of Service Management, University of Brighton) Abstract Sport is a double-edged sword, it has the potential to bring divided nations together but it can also cause or exacerbate tensions and conflicts. Sport events do not only provide a stage for political rivalries but also increase understanding, celebrate commonalities, facilitate cooperation and bridge differences. This paper critically compares the use of sport as a foreign policy tool in two politically divided societies: Korea and Germany. The comparative analysis examines the very different political use of sport in these two countries. In divided Korea, cooperation in the world of sport between the North and the South is multi-dimensional, happens at various levels and appears to be an important diplomatic tool. In the former divided Germany, both the East and the West used sport to establish distinctive national identities and to fight ideological battles, even if it stressed differences and consolidated the existing political division. Furthermore, the recent increase in sport exchanges between South and North Korea offers a unique opportunity to examine the changing role and efficacy of contemporary sport diplomacy. The research implicitly subscribes to the pluralist paradigm of International Relations as it avoids the limiting state-centrism of other theoretical frameworks. Therefore this investigation deals with all cross-border activities and recognises the contributions made by non-governmental organisation, for example sport organisations. The largely qualitative research was conducted 2 during a six-month fieldwork period in South Korea in 2006 and a two-week visit of the North in 2008. Introduction At the end of

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