Entering the Field

The central places where football fandom of the two Istanbul clubs Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e is performed in Vienna on a daily basis are Beisln (pubs), streets, fan clubs, and living rooms. The advancement of media and technology results in the chance to integrate fandom easily in one’s everyday practices (cf. McManus 2015; Sandvoss 2012). This includes celebrations of championships in various public places in the city. Vienna as a football space and city has become deeply entangled with the performance of fandom, and for many Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray fans it is the origin of their fandom. For all of the fans that are a central part of this book Vienna is the main physical space where football takes place in their everyday lives - next to many online spaces. Chris Stone summarises the meaning of everyday life in the football context:

It is in everyday life that football culture is primarily perpetuated, expressed and experienced. That is not to say that the spectacle of match-days and the actuality of football teams’ performances and results do not play an important part for many supporters, but it is not the primary aspect of football culture that affects individuals’ notions of self-identity, belonging and interpersonal

© The Author(s) 2017 29

N. Szogs, Football Fandom and Migration, Football Research in an Enlarged Europe, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-50944-0_3

relations; all of which are initiated, reinforced and challenged through the

enactment, internalization, embodiment and contestation of structural influences within the daily practices of life. (Stone 2007, p. 170)

This book has a strong ethnographic focus. The ethnographic fieldwork includes predominantly participant observations and qualitative interviews (cf. Bernard 2006). Interview sections and also sections from my fieldnotes are directly quoted in this book to underline the ethnographic emphasis of this research. Moreover, I have included the analysis of different online and offline media that the respective interview partners referred to during participant observations or qualitative interviews. Part of the fieldwork was also staying up-to-date on Austrian, transnational and Turkish fanzines, fan fora, Facebook pages and Austrian and German media reports on Turkish football. Furthermore, the research comprised the analysis of leaflets, pictures, (self-made) merchandise and many other items relevant to football fan culture of Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e fans and beyond.

The 18-months long fieldwork was conducted from August 2012 until December 2013. In late spring 2013 the Gezi protests in Turkey sparked off and also impacted the everyday lives of Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray fans in Vienna. Gezi Park is one of the few remaining parks in Istanbul and located right next to Taksim Square in the European part of the city. Thousands of protesters gathered to stand up against the neoliberal politics and construction plans of the government and against President Erdogan’s conservative and authoritarian regime. Gezi changed the discourses about Turkish football and about fandom to a Turkish club. It was a critical moment of hope to some interview partners that directly impacted narratives about club loyalties and rivalries. Additionally, Fenerbah^e was expelled from European tournaments because of match fixing accusations, which again changed narrations about the football clubs and the fan practices.

The fieldwork was conducted in different cities and countries, but the home or main site for my research was the city of Vienna. I went to several Viennese pubs where Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e matches were broadcasted. I was invited to join fans to watch matches in living rooms and I sometimes visited official fan clubs and fan associations in Vienna. For the Europa League and Champions League matches I accompanied Fenerbahqe fans to Salzburg (Austria) and went to Schalke (Gelsenkirchen, Germany). During summer 2013, I went to Istanbul for one month to join those interviewees that went to Istanbul for the summer. In Istanbul, I watched matches with my interview partners and their friends and families in bars and in the stadium. Also, I visited places that the football supporters in Vienna had told me about. These places mostly were part of nostalgic and ‘mystifying’ narrations and I linked these narrations to the actual places. They included for example the football stadia, the club museums and the Bagdat Caddesi (Bagdad Street) in Kadikoy, which is famous for big celebrations when Fenerbahqe wins derbies or championships. This stay in Istanbul took place shortly after the first wave of the Gezi protests and the city and its people were still shaped by the protests. The one-month stay in 2013 was complemented by a one week field trip to Istanbul in spring 2014.

My research can to some extent be considered a multi-sited ethnography (Marcus 1995) because I accompanied my interview partners to different places in Europe. Although Vienna is the main physical site, for many of the fans mobility is a central aspect to the fan practices that I observed and therefore my fieldwork also had to be mobile. It could therefore also be described as following ‘moving targets’ (Welz 1998) to different football-relevant places. However, it might not even be necessary to find a term for being mobile while doing fieldwork. Mobility has become a general precondition and thus normal in many research fields. This does include football fandom that is strongly impacted by transnationalisation, Europeanisation and globalisation. I follow Sabine Hess’s and Maria Schwertl’s understanding of an alterable or flexible field that needs to be reconsidered and reviewed constantly (2013, p. 31).

The sample that was used for the analysis consists of 34 participant observations and 16 qualitative interviews.[1] All interview locations were chosen by my interview partners and thus all interviews were conducted in an environment that the interviewees knew and felt comfortable in. Some of them were football related places, some of them were not.

One interview in Istanbul was conducted in English, all of the other interviews were conducted in German and then partly translated into English for this book by myself. Most of my interviewees used Turkish words or terminologies in the interviews, which I did not translate directly into an English equivalent but which are indicated. The same applies to Austrian idioms when they are necessary to understand the context. Pseudonyms have been used for all the names of persons, places and fan clubs in order to maintain confidentiality. The names of cities and football stadia remain the same. Age, job positions, and further details of the interview partners are taken from the time in which the fieldwork was conducted.

The interviews consisted of three parts: a biographical part, a part on everyday practices of fandom, and lastly a part on the meaning that people attribute to their club. I did not follow a strict questionnaire but three different interview units that contained different topics. The strength of the qualitative or narrative interview is its flexibility regarding unexpected topic changes or insights in the interview situations (Schmidt- Lauber 2007). Consequently, I could adapt questions according to the different interview situations and to the interviewee’s interests. I was able to stay open-minded because the methodology particularly allows for unexpected turns in the interview (cf. Dornheim 1984). At the same time all interviews at least touched upon the same topics to make them to a certain extent comparable.

An important example for the so-called ‘situated knowledge’ (Haraway 1988) in research is the decision to conduct all interviews that took place in Vienna in German. This was on the one hand due to my insufficient Turkish language skills but on the other hand it also generated an interesting perspective. Talking about the support of a Turkish team, where fan chants, broadcasting and transnational online chat rooms are predominantly in Turkish generates the need for translation and therefore sometimes also for rethinking for example when interview partners translated fan chants.

The analysis of all interview transcripts and fieldnotes followed the grounded theory approach by Anselm L. Strauss and Barney G. Glaser (Strauss 1987, 1994; Glaser and Strauss 1967). This technique was chosen to ensure the continuation of the inductive approach of this anthropological research also during the course of analysis. Transcripts and fieldnotes were coded, memoed and analysed during and after the fieldwork period to keep openness to the research and to leave the chance for ‘surprises’ in the very sense of an inductive approach and of ethnography.

  • [1] For an overview over the qualitative interviews and participant observations please see a table inthe appendix of this book.
 
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