With the new semester kicking off, I am shifting my focus from practicing various digital tools and enhancing technical skills, to working on my own research project, depicting immigrant players on the German national football team since 1990. As I mentioned in my first CHI blog post, I’ve taken interest in how the sociological phenomenon of football influences German national identity. As one of the most popular sports in the world, football is more than just a sport that people watch and play in their leisure time. As a cultural product, football could represent the sprits of certain region as well as a country (nation). In the meanwhile, football also provides its audience a platform to express their emotions with their peers. Football received enormous attention during the World Cup every four years. World Cup attracts not only football fans, but also general population especially when their national team perform well. One of the reasons behind this collective fanaticism roots in the competition form of World Cup. Players fight for their own countries and people who share the same origin stand behind and cheer for them.
In recent years, some people pointed out that the German national football team is no longer “German” anymore. Statement as such triggers me to think what does it mean to be “German”. In my second post, I mentioned the dilemma Einstein had to face, where in Germany people identify him sometimes as “German scholar” and sometimes as “Swiss Jew”. His nationalities are interchangeable based on his academic performance. After nearly a century, the biased judgement of one’s nationality based on one’s performance remains the same. Özil, one of the most famous professional football players in the past five years, explicitly expressed the discrimination he experienced during his time playing for the German national football team. Writing this post provided me an opportunity to really get to know a player’s life trajectory, to try to understand why some players struggle to “fit in” the society even they are no different from other players besides their outlook. This process eventually helped me to make a decision on my project: studying players with immigrant backgrounds who play for the German national football team.
After settling in on the topic, I start to think about how can I make the knowledge I learned from the previous semester applicable for my own project. In my last post, I briefly mentioned that using mapping tools could help depict players’ heritage in a more intuitional way. After a few weeks of thinking, I finalized my research project Vision Document where I describe various aspects of this project, including project description, outcomes, functionality, Audience, etc. This project depicts and summarizes the personal profile of the players who played for the German national football team in the World Cup since 1990, with a specific focus on football players who have immigrant backgrounds. The end result of this project will be a website where audience could learn about the national football team members from 1990 to 2018, and read narratives of certain players, such as Özil, Boateng, etc. This research will ideally address and challenge the notion of an “un-German” national team, as multicultural identity has long been and will continue to be part of the team. As part of my doctoral dissertation “The German Football Team and National Identity,” this project will serve as the foundational function of presenting historical facts.
At the end of this blog post, I would like to say that writing blogs is beneficial for me in terms of figuring out what I want to present and how I could present my ideas. This writing process encourages me to consistently ask myself what my research interests are and how I could turn them into a presentable project with the help of the technologies I acquired through last semester. I am looking forward to working on this project and hopefully present the final website before the summer comes to Michigan.