Italian soccer’s revolutionary decade

title_english.gifKarl Marx was right after all. Capitalism corrodes all traditions, no matter how ancient and revered they are. It does not care about the sacredness of the institutions it turns upside down, contaminating them with the logic of “callous cash payment,” as the philosopher stated in “The Communist Manifesto.”

Italians might well agree. After all, in the last 10 years they saw the rituals of the country’s most cherished and practiced religion drowning “in the icy water of egotistical calculation,” as Marx would have put it. We are talking about soccer, obviously.

In this revolutionary decade “all that is holy [was] profaned,” and in place of the calm reproduction of the old rituals, one finds endless upheavals bewildering not only fans but even prominent social scholars. In 1990 sociologist Alessandro Dal Lago dedicated the introduction of his book on soccer to the continuity of the phenomenon from the early beginnings to our age. Ten years later he had turned to self-criticism.

In those years he admitted in his book “Descrizione di Una Battaglia: I Rituali del Calcio” (Description of a Battle: The Rituals of Soccer) that “soccer was conquered by the devastating logic of television market” and “the very same organizational (and to some extent technical) structure of the game has been radically transformed, due to the intrusion of television market.”

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