Menneskefabrik - fodbold i det postindustrielle samfund

Asger Romme Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The main focus of this thesis has been the study of how a historical process of increasing professionalization has affected the demands and expectations experienced by top football players. This development also reflects the organisational change of football clubs from organizations based on voluntary membership to organisations as business enterprises, and the study thus also analyses the consequences of the marketization of common social institutions. My research question is as follows: “Through an analysis of football players’ experiences this study investigates how professionalization has affected the social role of “football player” during the period 1960-2006.” Presumably the sporting success of a talented footballer should be the common interest of all relevant actors – the footballer himself, his football club and his football association. However when a football player for some reason or the other does not realize his perceived talent, I expect this instance to reveal areas of conflict where the interests of the relevant actors do not correspond. In order to investigate such conflicting interests in the topic area I have carried out qualitative interviews with football players covering the period 1960-2006 – players who were perceived as talented but whom later received little recognition as football players. I have analyzed these interviews primarily using Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri’s theories on postindustrial production, Benedict Anderson’s theories on imagined communities, Martin Roderick’s analysis on working conditions among professional football players in England and Ove Korsgaard’s historical analysis of Danish sports. The overall conclusions are that the social role of top footballer has changed in two primary respects: 1) The top footballer has changed from being a member of a concrete community to being a representative of an imagined community. The football player has thus been impeded with increased symbolic value as the embodiment of the concerned community, but also with the community’s increased concern and interference in his bodily virtue. 2) The top footballer has changed from voluntary member of a club to a wage earner in a business enterprise. Thus the football player’s bodily practice has been rationalized and standardized in order to improve sporting competitiveness. At the same time the football player must accept insubordination in the hierarchy of a working place, and the reduction of his personal value to the sporting and economic value that his bodily practice represents.

EducationsCultural Encounter, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date9 May 2012
SupervisorsChristian Groes-Green


  • imagined communities
  • Football
  • marketization
  • professionalization