The multiculturalism of World Cup teams
The fans supporting their teams at the World Cup in Russia are overwhelmingly white. Their teams? Not so much.
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku failed to score a goal in the FIFA World Cup semi-final against France. The French team won by the smallest margin: 1-0.
Will Lukaku now go back to being called "the Belgian striker of Congolese descent"? His quote, in the graph below, highlights a curious dichotomy in the world of soccer.
Perhaps especially in the case of the World Cup and other international tournaments, soccer is a contradictory amalgam of exclusionary nationalism and a post-national multiculturalism that dare not speak its name.
While the fans indulge in flag-waving, anthem-singing and opponent-taunting, the teams on the pitch often resemble each other's multi-ethnic composition more than they do the overwhelming whiteness of their respective fan bases.
As this graph shows, many teams harbor a significant number of players of migrant descent.
More than three-quarters of the players in the French team are the sons of immigrants, the same goes for almost half the Belgian players. In both cases, most have their roots in Africa.
In contrast, migrants constitute less than 7% of the total population of France and just over 12% of the Belgian population.
Switzerland has one of the highest shares of migrants in its total population—24%—but that's still a far cry from the share of immigrants playing for the team: almost two-thirds.
Two Swiss players of Kosovo-Albanian descent barely escaped bans by their national league for making an eagle-like hand gesture after scoring goals against Serbia—the eagle is the national symbol of Serbian arch enemy Albania.
If the share of immigrants in the national team is anything to go by, integration is a success story in England (48% of immigrant players vs. 9% of immigrants in the general population), Germany (39% vs. 11%) and Portugal (30% vs. 4%).
The figures are relatively low for Spain (17% vs. 10%), Sweden (17% vs. 8%) and Denmark (13% vs. 8%). Iceland is the only team with a smaller share of immigrants in the team (4%) than in the general population (8%).
Map found via M. Deuze.
Strange Maps #922
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