1st Edition

FC Barcelona History, Politics and Identity

Edited By Jim O'Brien, Xavier Ginesta, Jordi de San Eugenio Copyright 2024
    304 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is the first critical, in-depth academic study of FC Barcelona (also known as Barça), one of the world’s great football clubs, exploring the historical, political, cultural and commercial dimensions of this global sporting institution.

    The book examines why and how the club grew from its genesis as a small sporting organisation in the developing urban landscape of Barcelona in 1899 to become a contemporary giant that has both shaped and transcended football. It considers how globalisation, cultural identity and political ideology can help us to understand the development of Barça, but also how the growth of the phenomenon of FC Barcelona helps us to better understand those forces shaping contemporary global societies. It brings together leading scholars from around the world to examine key themes such as governance, regional and national politics, storytelling, fandom, digital media, branding, commercialisation and sport diplomacy, exploring topics such as the European Super League fiasco and the rise of Lionel Messi as a global icon. It also includes a series of chapters looking at the importance of FC Barcelona around the world, including in Latin America, the United States, Africa and East Asia.

    This illuminating, multi-disciplinary study of FC Barcelona is essential reading for anybody with an interest in football, Catalonian politics and culture, or the history, politics, culture and business of sport.

    Introduction: FC Barcelona, a Club Apart or Just Like All the Rest?

    Jim O’Brien, Xavier Ginesta and Jordi de San Eugenio 

    Part I: History and Political Culture 

    1          FC Barcelona, Football, Politics and Culture: Foundations and Legacies

    Jim O’Brien

    2          The Transformation of FC Barcelona from ‘More Than a Club’ to a Global Brand

    Joan Esculies and Iwan Williams

    3          FC Barcelona, Governance, Democracy and the Commercial Impulse: Striking the Balance

    Sean Hamil

    4          Presidential Politics in FC Barcelona and Power in Contemporary Catalonia

    Albert Juncà Pujol and Joel Rookwood

    5          Politics, Identity, Capitalism and Desire: An Anthropologist Reports from Camp Nou

    Mariann Vaczi 

    Part II: Media, Cultures and Identities 

    6          Folklore, Narratives and Metanarratives: The Commodification of FC Barcelona’s Storytelling

    Joaquín Marín Montín and Paula Bianchi

    7          FC Barcelona and Media Representations: Scottish Perspectives

    Raymond Boyle

    8          A Historical Perspective on Fan Cultures at FC Barcelona: Spectators, Supporters and Hooligans

    Carles Viñas

    9        FC Barcelona and Digital Communication in the Twenty-First Century: Strategy, Values and Entertainment in a Brave New World

    Guillermo Sanahuja Peris, Eva Breva Franch and Santiago Mayorga Escalada 

    Part III: Brands and Commodities 

    10        Studying FC Barcelona as a Corporate Body:  How to Become a Global Entertainment Multinational in the Post-Covid Era

    Xavier Ginesta, Enric Ordeix and Gregory Payne

    11        Sport Diplomacy and Sport Place Branding in the Metropolitan, National and International Space: Promoting FC Barcelona and Catalonia

    Xavier Ginesta, Jordi de San Eugenio and Gema Lobillo Mora

    12        FC Barcelona and the European Super League: Necessity and Desire

    Jordi Badia Perea, Santiago Giraldo Luque and Cristina Fernández Rovira 

    Part IV: FC Barcelona and Its International Markets 

    13        Lionel Messi as a Global Icon: The Player as Personal Brand in the History of FC Barcelona

    Nahuel Ivan Faedo and Montse Corrius

    14        FC Barcelona and the Middle Eastern, Chinese and Asian Markets: Eastern Frontiers

    Carlos Pulleiro Méndez and Fernando Gutiérrez Chico

    15        FC Barcelona in the United States: A Situational Assemblage

    David L. Andrews, Francesc Solanellas, Junbin Yang and Brandon Wallace

    16        FC Barcelona and Africa: The Blind Spot of Corporate Communication

    Raúl Martínez Corcuera and Max Mauro 

    Conclusion: A Catalan Club or a Global Superpower?

    Jim O’Brien, Xavier Ginesta and Jordi de San Eugenio


    Jim O'Brien is an independent author and scholar, most recently being Visiting Professor at the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia, Spain. He has published extensively on football, politics and culture in Spain and Argentina, and is co-founder of SPRING (Sport and Politics Research International Network Group). His other research interests include the songs and music of Bob Dylan. He also writes autographical fiction.

    Xavier Ginesta is Associate Professor at the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia, Spain. His main research interests are sport management, communication and politics and sport place branding. He regularly collaborates with different media outlets as an expert in sport and politics. He is a member of the research group TRACTE (Audiovisual Translation, Communication and Territory) at the UVic-UCC and co-founder of the research network SPRING.

    Jordi de San Eugenio is Full Professor at the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia, Spain. His research interests include place branding, public diplomacy, environmental communication and humanistic geography. He is a member of the research group TRACTE (Audiovisual Translation, Communication and Territory) at the UVic-UCC.