Sport and International Relations

General Information
prof. Andrzej Polus
Number of Hours: 
Monday 12:00 - 13:30
Preliminary requirements: 

There are no specific preliminary requirements for students who are willing to attend this course, however the general knowledge about the theories of international relations (course: Theories of IR), as well as awareness of the post-cold war international political situation and globalisation processes (course: Globalization and regionalization) is recommended.

Course Description: 
  1. The very idea of sport’s role and meaning during decolonization processes and the cold war politization of Olympic Games will act as starting points for the first debates.

  2. Students will examine the inter-relationship between politics and FIFA Word Cup, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and various Word championships.

  3. Special attention will be given to the increasing economic, cultural and political significance of sport in the global era.

  4. The specific issues of sport boycotts, the impact of communism and fascism on sport, racism in sport, promotion of gender equality through sport, the role of sport during struggles for nationhood, sport’s political economy, sport diplomacy, sport and terrorism, creation of the international regime to combat doping in sport, and African football players migrations will be taken into consideration.

Aims of the course: 

W1. Student will be able to select and adopt various epistemological and methodological approaches towards multidimensional relations between sport and politics

W2. Student explains the role of sport as a diplomatic platform

W3. On the basis of knowledge obtained during the course, student analyzes particular developments in IR and its correlations with sport

U1. Student perceives differences between various epistemological and methodological approaches towards multidimensional relations between sport and politics.

U2. Student describes and contextualizes the very past events, when sport and politics were deeply interrelated

U3. Student projects his/her own analyzes of a selected phenomenon where sport and IR are interrelated.

K1. Student discus the interrelations between sport and politics.

K2. Student identifies the correlation between market driven forces, and modern sport

K3. Due to the various active methods adopted during the curse (discussions, seminars, group work, etc.) student is able to articulate his/her own points of view in terms of relations between sport and IR,

Teaching methods: 



- prsentation;

- individual consultations;

-grup work.

Evaluation & Completion: 

Active participation in discussions and group work

Essay Presentation


Essay submission

(each essay will be checked against the criteria presented in the table below)








Analytical Skills







Introduction outlines overall argument






Introduction fails to outline argument

Argument relates to question






Answer irrelevant to question

Argument is logical and well-structured






Argument illogical and poorly structured

Competent explanation of theories, concepts and methods






Inadequate explanation of theories, concepts and methods

Appropriate selection of evidence






Inappropriate, insufficient or irrelevant evidence

Appropriate application of theories, concepts and methods to evidence






Inadequate application of theories, concepts and methods to evidence

Where relevant, appropriate use of statistical/numerical material






Where relevant, inadequate or insufficient use of statistical/numerical material

Where relevant, appropriate use of tables/charts






Where relevant, inadequate or insufficient use of tables/charts

Structure reflects outline in Introduction






Structure does not reflect outline in Introduction

Conclusion summarises argument and key evidence






Conclusion fails to summarise argument and key evidence

Research Skills







Demonstrates relevant reading and knowledge of the literature






Demonstrates little or no reading or knowledge of the literature

Appropriate provision of quotations and references to relevant literature






Insufficient quotations or references to relevant literature

References follow academic conventions






References inadequate

Bibliography follows academic conventions






Bibliography absent, or inadequate

Communication Skills







Appropriate length






Too short/too long

Clear presentation






Poor presentation








Basic Literature: 


Eitzen D.S., Sport in Contemporary Society. An Anthology, St. Martin’s Press, New York 1979.

Houlihan B., Building an international regime to combat doping in sport, “Sport and International Relations. An emerging relationship”, ed. R. Levermore, A. Budd, New York 2004.

Houlihan B., Sport & International Politics, Harvester Wheatsheaf 1994.

Houlihan B., Sport, Policy and Politics. A comparative analysis, Rutledge, London and New York 1997.

Kuper S., Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power, Nation Books 2006.

National Identity and Global Sports Events. Culture, Politics, and Spectacle in the Olympics and the Football World Cup, ed. A. Tomlinson, Ch. Young, New York 2006.

Sport and Postcolonialism, ed. J. Bale, M. Cronin, Oxford, New York 2003.

The Political Economy of Sport, ed. J. Nauright, K.S. Schimmel, New York 2005.

Whannel G., Culture, Politics and Sport Blowing the Whistle, Revisited, London and New York 2008.



Black D., Bezanson S., The Olympic Games, human rights and democratisation: lessons from Seoul and implications for Beijing, “Third World Quarterly”, Volume - v2525, Issue 7, 2004.

Black D., Nauright J., Rugby and the South African Nation: Sport, Culture, Politics and Power in the Old and New South Africa, Manchester 1998.

Dheensaw C., The Commonwealth Games: The First 60 Years, 1930 – 1990, Auckland 1994

Horne J. Sport in Consumer Culture, New York 2006.