Berlin, Germany

More than just a Game - Football as a Philosophical, Anthropological and Sociological Subject

online course
when 31 May 2021 - 8 July 2021
language English
duration 6 weeks
credits 7 EC
fee EUR 1200

There are many reasons for the global success of football. The game fulfils our longing for triumph and endorses our knowledge of failure. It produces heroes and losers, demonstrates that we have to fight to reach our aims, but also shows the importance of cooperating and interacting. Thus football acts as a theatre of existence, in which life can both mirror and transcend itself.
The class will take a look behind the scenes and identify the mechanisms that make football so popular. They lie partly in the game’s structure itself, partly in its connection to other cultural fields, like religion, or war.
We will also take a look at the European Championship, that is happening during our class.
This gives us the opportunity to review and test our theories about football. We will watch parts of the games and analyze them.
Because football is a game that is always “more than just a game”, it is an appropriate subject for philosophy and cultural studies. At first sight, of course, this relation seems to be counterintuitive. Traditionally, particularly philosophy was defined as a purely mental activity while football in reverse was reduced to a physical combat game. But we will see that one of the characteristics of modern philosophy is to involve the body in the process of thinking, while football urges a specific intelligence from its players.

Course leader

Dr. Sven Rücker

Target group

Students from all faculties interested in the subject.

Course aim

The class will explore the cultural and philosophical references of football and vice versa, the ludic and bodily aspects of philosophy. By this, we will gain a new perspective on football as well as on philosophy. In addition to that, the focusing on the specific subject “football” can show the different approaches as well as the overlaps between the individual sciences.

Credits info

7 EC


Active participation: 30 %
First essay: 35 %
Second essay: 35 %

Fee info

EUR 1200: course fee (incl. online discount)
EUR 90: program fee

Early registration discount: -40€ (until April 3, 2021)


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