An Agon Aesthetics of Football

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 9 (2):97-123 (2015)
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In this article, I first address the ethical considerations about football and show that a meritocratic-fairness view of sports fails to capture the phenomenon of football. Fairness of result is not at centre stage in football. Football is about the drama, about the tension and the emotions it provokes. This moves us to the realm of aesthetics. I reject the idea of the aesthetics of football as the disinterested aesthetic appreciation, which traditionally has been deemed central to aesthetics. Instead, I argue that we should try and develop an agon aesthetics where our aesthetic appreciation is understood as involving and being embedded in our engagement in the game. The drama of football is staged but not scripted. The aesthetics of competitions like football matches—the agon aesthetics—lies in engaging in the conflict that a competition is, while being aware that the conflict is not over ordinary world or everyday life issues, but unnecessary and invented for the very purpose of having a conflict to enjoy



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Steffen Borge
Nord University