Reviewing three recently published works on the history of football in Portugal, centered on the figure of the football player, as a worker, symbol and commodity, this text discusses the dominant theoretical and methodological models in sport studies – scales, periodizations, concepts and empirical materials. Focused on a semi-peripheral context of the international football system, the three books allow us to question the structural transformations of contemporary football, to reconsider the different modalities of the relationship between football and politics, and to broaden the research agenda of a historical sociology of football. Three key issues are highlighted in this text: the analytical relevance of the peripheries of the global football field, the importance of crossing conventional geographical periods and scales in sports history and the need to broaden and multiply the sources and materials used in research.
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