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Popular Sport and Society in South America

Sport, for a long time a neglected topic in the social sciences, deemed mere superficial pastime, has undergone an impressive career within academia lately. Through my doctoral research on football practice among Bolivian and Ecuadorian migrants in Spain, men and women, I have participated in the re-evaluation and conceptualisation of sport as subject of anthropological inquiry. In the monograph (Müller 2013) based on my doctoral thesis, I explore migrants’ place making, sociability and local participation as well as gender relations and disputes through the lens of weekly-held amateur football leagues. South American migrants’ put enormous efforts, time and dedication in the self-organisation of teams and competitions and these form the origins of advocate groups.

With Christian Ungruhe, I published a special dossier in Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in order to re-assess sport research in German-speaking anthropology. My experience during fieldwork, beeing personally involved as a team player, contributed to my writing on the topic, especially in a theoretical-methodolocial piece on apprenticeship, habitus and habituation (Müller 2018).

My interest in social organisation and ritualization of sport practice and football led to a collaborative project with international scholars and the publication of an edited volume in Bolivia (Plural Editores 2014, La Paz, with Mario Murillo). This book ‘Otro Fútbol’ bundles historical, sociological and anthropological work on popular, indigenous, rural, union-based and neighbourhood football in Bolivia and among migrants abroad. It includes a general introduction on the anthropology and sociology of sports and football, along with a comprehensive bibliography that makes it a reference book for interested students and scholars.

Related publications and outreach include:   

2018 Sport as a common ground in fieldwork. On apprenticeship, habitus, and habituation. In: Pretextual Ethnographies. Challenging the Phenomenological Level of Anthropological Knowledge-Making, edited by Rakowski, Tomasz and Helena Patzer. Sean Kingston Publishing. 141-155.

2016 (Christian Ungruhe and Juliane Müller, eds.). Neue Perspektiven einer Ethnologie des Sports [New Perspectives on an Anthropology of Sports]. Special Dossier Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 141(1): 1-99.

2016 „Wir werden eine Mannschaft von Nicht-Bolivianern gründen“: Ethnizität und soziale Teilnahme lateinamerikanischer Migrant*innenorganisationen im kommunalen Breitensport in Spanien [Ethnicity and Social Participation of Latin American Migrant Associations in Popular Sport in Spain]. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie Special Dossier 141(1): 61-80.

2015 Local Relations and Transnational Imaginaries: Football Practices of Migrant Men and Women from Andean Countries in Spain. Soccer and Society 15(4): 596-617.

2014 (Juliane Müller and Mario Murillo, eds.). “Otro Fútbol”: Ritualidad, organización institucional y competencia en un siglo de fútbol popular en Bolivia (1896-2014) [Rituality, Social Organization and Competition in a Century of Popular Soccer in Bolivia]. La Paz: Plural Editores.

2014 ‘El duelo Warisata contra Achacachi’. Escuelas rurales, educación física y la indigeneización del fútbol en el departamento de La Paz (1910-1940) [Rural schools, Physical Education, and the Indigenization of Soccer in the Region of La Paz, 1910-1940]. In: “Otro Fútbol”: Ritualidad, organización institucional y competencia en un siglo de fútbol popular en Bolivia (1896-2014), edited by Müller, Juliane and Mario Murillo. 45-74.

2013 Migration, Geschlecht und Fußball zwischen Bolivien und Spanien. Netzwerke – Räume – Körper [Migration, Gender and Soccer – Bolivians in Spain]. Berlin: Reimer Verlag.

2013 ‘El otro fútbol’: Prácticas y discursos acerca del fútbol como motor de integración social de los inmigrantes en España [Practices and Discourses about Soccer and Social Integration]. Etnográfica 17(1): 121-143 (with Adolfo García Jerez).

2011 La práctica del fútbol entre mujeres bolivianas en Sevilla. Redes sociales, trayectorias migratorias y relaciones de género [Soccer Practices of Bolivian Women in Seville (Spain): Migrant Trajectories, Social Networks, and Gender Relations]. ICONOS Revista de Ciencias Sociales 41: 153-169.

Interview with Uni Bonn TV in the context of the Symposium ‘Football – Power – Politics’, October 13th, 2012: