Loves, Suffering and Identification: The Passions of Australian Football League Fans

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Klugman, Matthew ORCID: 0000-0002-0554-6761 (2009) Loves, Suffering and Identification: The Passions of Australian Football League Fans. International Journal of the History of Sport, 26 (1). pp. 21-44. ISSN 0952-3367 (Print), 1743-9035 (Online)


The people of Melbourne are renowned for their ‘football fever’, yet this fever is under-studied. This paper addresses this fever by exploring the loves, suffering, and strange identifications of Australian Football League fans. Building on and complicating Freud's theories of group psychology, I argue that love, or rather two loves, are at the heart of the experience of being a fan. Fans love their club in a manner that incorporates the club into their sense of self, with the club becoming an ideal that is to be served. This love facilitates a particular form of identification where fans experience the club's trials, tribulations and triumphs, as if they too were being subjected to them. Moreover, in identifying with their club through love, the fan also takes on a second love, that of the club's object of desire, the elusive premiership. This is the love of the conquest and pursuit, a love that entails pain and suffering.

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Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise & Sport Science (CARES)
Historical > FOR Classification > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
Historical > SEO Classification > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Keywords ResPubID18189, Australian Football, footy fans, passionate loves, group psychology
Citations in Scopus 11 - View on Scopus
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