Anthropological and Sociological Approaches to Football Fandom in the Nexus of Gender, Migration and Transnationality

For many football researchers in anthropology, Christian Bromberger’s ethnographic work on football supporters in Marseille (1991, 1995a, b, 1998, 2003) carried out in the 1980s is considered one of the first comprehensive ethnographies on football (cf. Rolshoven 2008, p. 48). Bromberger showed how an anthropological analysis of football provides an insight into our societies and is therefore not only worth researching but a duty to research for anthropologists. In the German-speaking European Ethnology, one of the first researchers that considered football fan research to be an important part of anthropological research was Rolf Lindner (1980, 1983, 1986; Lindner and Breuer 1978). Lindner’s edited volume from 1983 (Der Satz ‘Der Ball ist rund’ hat eine gewisse philosophische Tiefe) includes contributions by the ‘big names’ in sport research in the 1980s: Norbert Elias (1983), Gunter A. Pilz (1983) and Gunter Gebauer (1983). The contributions of this edited volume discuss, for example, the growing commercialisation, professionalisation and also problems with violence in football fan culture. Aspects of transnationalism, gender, and migration were not yet at the centre of attention.

Recent studies on football fan culture in European Ethnology include Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber’s (2003) project on the FC St. Pauli and a collection by Jochen Bonz et al. (2010) on football fan cultures in Northern Germany. Following an explicit ethnographic approach Schmidt-Lauber’s edited volume decodes myths, marketing strategies and images of the FC St. Pauli in Hamburg and its fans. The Bonz et al. edited volume especially focuses on the fan culture of Werder Bremen fans. It deals with a variety of topics relevant to fan culture such as policing, sports bars and away games.

 
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