Narratives of Negotiating Europe

Whereas the second subchapter dealt particularly with the construction of loyalties in the narratives of doing home and doing kinship, in this subsection I will further look at the construction and performance of loyalties and rivalries. The rivalry between football clubs is a central element to the excitement of being a football fan. As Almut Sulzle puts it in a nutshell: ‘This rivalry is eventually based on the mutual agreement simply to be rivals’ (2011, p. 231, [author’s translation]).[1] However, this rivalry is part of complex contexts, strategies and self-presentations of a fan. Richard Giulianotti and Gary Armstrong, who analyse football rivalries from a structuralist approach, emphasise:

We do require to be highly cognizant of the classificatory practices and binary oppositions that shape football rivalries; but we need to allow for the possibilities that these oppositions contain relatively unique cultural properties, and are understood in complex terms by the social actors themselves. (Giulianotti and Armstrong 2001, p. 269)

The excitement of being a supporter of either Galatasaray or Fenerbahqe is strongly connected to the celebration of antagonism between these two clubs. The ‘quest for excitement’ (Elias and Dunning 1986) in the Super Lig is determined by the performance of the traditionalised rivalry between Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe (Erhart 2014, p. 1735). Be§ikta§, the ‘little brother’ in the nexus of the uf buyukler, the big three from Istanbul, also plays an important part in this rivalry but games between Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe are seen by many fans as the most important matches of the year (Dmowski 2013). The respective opposite club can be considered as a ‘self-defining counter-pole’ (Baumann 2004, p. 31) in this relationship. This means that Galatasaray fans do need Fenerbahqe fans to define what they themselves are and what they are not. The same applies for Fenerbahqe fans: Only because they can distinguish themselves from Galatasaray fans, can Fenerbahqe fans define what they are or rather: what they want to be like/not to be like. This can be seen as central practice of orientalism in football fandom (cf. Alpan and Schwell 2015). In this subchapter, I will analyse different performances of rivalries and loyalties with a special regard to orientalising practices and the construction of Turkey and Europe in the narratives of Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans in Vienna.

  • [1] ‘Diese Rivalitat basiert letztendlich auf einer gemeinsamen Ubereinkunft, eben Rivalen zu sein.’
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