Aspects of Hooligan Violence: A Reappraisal of Sociological Research into Football Hooliganism

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Spaaij, Ramon ORCID: 0000-0002-1260-3111 (2006) Aspects of Hooligan Violence: A Reappraisal of Sociological Research into Football Hooliganism. Working Paper. Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, Amsterdam.


Systematic and detailed comparative research into hooligan identities constitutes a vital new approach to the study of football hooliganism. Despite the ongoing globalization of football culture and societies at large, there remain important national and local variations in the manifestation of football hooliganism worldwide. These dissimilarities thwart efforts to conceptualize and explain football hooliganism as a homogeneous phenomenon and, more specifically, seriously limit the applicability of dominant sociological theories on the subject. It is argued in this essay that comparative research into football hooliganism should move beyond general explanations in terms of societal fault lines and towards a more detailed analysis of hooligan identities and social interactions between hooligans and significant others. Although emphasizing the great practical heterogeneity of football hooliganism, the author suggests that a number of universal aspects can be identified. On the basis of longterm fieldwork among hooligan formations, the author distinguishes six key aspects of football hooliganism as a transnational phenomenon: excitement and pleasurable emotional arousal; the construction of hard masculine identity; territorial identifications; the individual and collective management of reputation; solidarity and belonging; and sovereignty and autonomy.

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Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
DOI ASSR working paper 02/06
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords comparative research, football hooliganism, hooligan behaviour, social interaction
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