Research Foci and Structure of the Book

In this book, I analyse the meanings and strategies that supporters link to their football fandom practices from an actor-centred and inductive approach. The anthropological micro-perspective is especially helpful to learn how people interpret, adapt to and subvert local, national, European, transnational and global processes. Hegemonic discourses that are part of these processes impact the supporters’ practices, narratives, and perceptions to a great extent. Subversive interpretations and performances, however, can alter these discourses. Consequently, via the analysis of football fan practices, this anthropological endeavour can offer insights into questions of hegemony and agency in society.

There are three important preconditions for this research. First, it can be considered Eurocentric in the way the FREE Project defines Europe in an ‘enlarged’ definition (see Preliminary Remarks). While I am well aware of the limitations of this approach, it is at the same time a necessary step to keep the focus on the central questions of this research. Second, the research focuses on men’s football teams only. This is due to the fact that men’s football is still much more popular than women’s football and reaches more people in Europe and beyond. Consequently, fans of women’s football teams are rare and less visible in the city also in Vienna. Lastly, this research focuses on football fans only; it does not include the analysis of (migrant) football players or (migrant) local teams.

This book is eager to stress that the fan practices of Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe supporters in Vienna cannot be reduced to a migratory context. The following research foci go way beyond a simple study of migration and football fandom. It is a study of many different aspects of fandom where discourses that evolve around migration are only one (important) aspect next to many others (cf. Romhild 2014, p. 263).

This book focuses on five analytic approaches: [1]

  • 2. The book analyses how and where Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray fans perform their fandom in Vienna, Istanbul, and Europe more broadly. It looks into the mostly offline practices and delves into homes, bars and public places. The aim is to understand the social hierarchies and dominant discourses that these performances inhabit and (re) produce.
  • 3. Due to the constructed antagonism between Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray, practices and narratives that evolve around performances of rivalries and loyalties become significant. The research asks how rivalries and loyalties are performed in everyday practices and how the flexibility of these performative concepts is negotiated. Dominant practices in these performances include the othering and selfing practices about the own and the other club. The book asks what these performances reveal about their self-images and how others and selves are constructed within fan narratives and also beyond the football context.
  • 4. A central focus of this book is the examination of how gender roles, social class, subcultural affiliations, political affiliations, nationalities, ethnicities and so on are performed and narrated as part of fandom practices. It asks which socially constructed categories or attributions become particularly relevant and how they intersect. Thereby, the analysis answers the question of which categories or attributions become more important for some interviewees than for others.
  • 5. This anthropological research talks about microperspectives from certain milieus and their actor-centred perspectives on broader contexts. The book focuses on whether and how different fans and fan groups relate to each other and which images they (re)produce in this process.

The following chapter of this book serves as an introductory chapter to become familiar with the current state of the field in anthropological and sociological football fan research with regard to discourses on migration, gender and transnationality. In a second step, central theoretical concepts for this book will be clarified, critically discussed and defined for the use in this ethnographic study. This particularly concerns concepts, theories and critique of migration, intersectionality and related socially constructed categories.

Chapter 3 leads the reader to the research field. Relevant persons will be introduced and contextualised regarding their significance for this book. The central questions of Chap. 3 evolve from the analysis of the entering phase to the research field. The chapter analyses the obstacles I met in accessing the research field. It discusses how these obstacles can lead to first insights into fan performances and particularly into the bias or constructivity of research itself. My role in the first months of the research process is critically reflected in this chapter as are the research practices and the way that I decided to define my research field. This includes a discussion about the constitution and hierarchies of emotional practices and sensory perceptions that will be analysed using exemplary situations from participant observations and interviews.

Among the most distinctive and likewise most common characteristics about the research field are the performances of loyalties and rivalries. The construction of us and them is thereby indeed (always) a construction of several ‘UsES’ and ‘ThemS' that are performed in and via football. Chap. 4 disassembles these different intersecting - and most importantly shifting - layers. These performances go way beyond club rivalries and are informed by nationalities, politics, subculture, gender and class. This discussion includes the analysis of the construction of the antagonism between Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray and likewise the practices of distance that question this very antagonism. Thereby, the chapter looks into the strategies and meanings that supporters attribute to their football fandom. It discusses the transnational aspects of these practices and narratives that include practices of doing kinship, doing home and embodiment via merchandise.

Whereas all chapters to some extent work with the concept of inter- sectionality, Chap. 5 puts a spotlight on the intersecting performances of gender, social class, and ethnicity. The chapter analyses narratives and practices of self-ethnicising and its intersection with the construction of masculinities and femininities in fan narratives. The chapter looks into the negotiation of different perceptions of masculinities, feminism and the empowerment of women. The question of the interdependence of football places, gender constructions and the (re) production of social class is central to the analysis of this chapter. It critically looks at how intersecting performances of social class, gender and ethnicisation (re) produce boundaries in football places in Vienna and beyond.

The conclusion of this book returns to the initial starting point of this research: the intersection of football fandom and migration. Whereas the respective chapter conclusions discuss the results of the different sections of this book, Chap. 6 will focus on the main themes and results that (re)occured in all chapters and discuss them on a meta-level. In a final analysis, I will recapitulate how self-images and self-representations of Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e fans in Vienna are negotiated via football fandom. I will discuss the ethnicisation of football fandom, of gender and social class in this research field and its meaning for fan discourses. The conclusion offers an outlook to further research on the topic of football fandom and migration and critically reflects the ethnicisation in this ethnographic study.

  • [1] It analyses the role of the researcher in different periods regarding itsrelevance to the research. This includes a critical reflection of thechoice and construction of the ‘field’ such as the choice of interviewpartners and a reflection of the interaction and impact in the researchfield. This is to understand the contexts and situations in which thequalitative interviews and fieldnotes were gathered.
 
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