Concluding Remarks on Selfing and Othering Practices
The antagonism between Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray is central to the excitement of following the Turkish football league. In the interviews with Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans in Vienna it became clear that it is a central motive to narrate rivalries and loyalties as inflexible and insurmountable even though they require permanent repetition and negotiation. The ongoing negotiation of loyalties and rivalries was a recurring motive in interviews and participant observations. This particularly applied to international competitions such as the Champions League and the Europa League. When fans that consider themselves ‘fanatic’ construct the opposite club as something bad and ‘evil’ but then support the other team on a European level, it becomes obvious how contextual, flexible and situated rivalries and loyalties remain.
Many interview partners characterised their respective club as something very special and crucially distinctive from the rival. However, they often loved their club and hated the other club for very similar reasons. Once, Galatasaray was seen as ‘so wonderful’ because the club is so European and modern, and Fenerbah^e is ‘so dreadful’ because it is elitist and corrupt. On another occasion, Fenerbah^e fans were using similar arguments only the other way around: Fenerbah^e was so ‘lovely’ because the club is so European and modern and Galatasaray so elitist and corrupt.
The narratives, motives and images that are part of loyalty and rivalry performances were central to the analysis of this chapter. By applying these selfing and othering practices some interviewees tried to construct the other team as something entirely and fundamentally different and opposite to themselves and their team. In accordance with Sandvoss’s psychoanalytical approach (2003, 2005, 2012), it became clear that personally informed characteristics are attributed to a club according to the self-image of a person. Sandvoss’s approach to football fandom as a ‘selfreflection’ is useful to carve out categories that are relevant for my interviewees and are expressed via their fandom.
The narrative constructions of loyalties and rivalries are thus always processes of subjectification. Judith Butler underlines the processual and contextual dimension of ‘the subject’ or rather, subjectification:
[...] I would suggest that performativity cannot be understood outside a process of iterability, a regularized and constrained repetition of norms. And this repetition is not performed by a subject; this repetition is what enables a subject and constitutes the temporal condition for the subject. (Butler 2011 [1993, emphasis in the original], p. 60)
Applied to the case of Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e fans in Vienna, it is not the subject that performs loyalties and rivalries again and again but because people repeat ‘a temporal condition for the subject’ the (fan) subject is constituted in loyalty and rivalry performances. When the Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e fans in Vienna talk about their club in the interviews or during participant observations, it is a performative strategy of subjectification.
Among the Viennese fans, the football clubs Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe are considered suitable to reflect oneself on the fan object. Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray have marketing strategies and images that they are eager to sell. However, these are vague and diverse enough to leave the chance for interpretation. This interpretation can then be adapted according to different contexts. This may happen as part of an argument with a colleague or in an interview situation with an anthropologist where narratives about the club can be strategies to represent oneself in this specific interview situation.
Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe form a nexus of discourses that are so manifold that it becomes possible to use them to a certain extent as a canvas for processes of subjectification. However, this is only possible so long as a variety of representations exist. New, dominant discourses such as the ones around Gezi or experiences of disrespect can question these representations and can consequently alter them. The flexibility of loyalty and rivalry constructions is limited when other dominant discourses occur that require distancing practices from the fan. Some representations of clubs are too strong, too powerful to add differing opinions, values, and political affiliations to them. Be§ikta§ is a club that represents in a dominant manner a left-wing fan culture so that it is hardly possible to identify with the club outside this given framework. Nevertheless, constructing the image of oneself via the club is not always possible even with Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray and is part of constant negotiations.
For many Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray fans that I interviewed, fandom is a strategy of doing home and belonging and of doing kinship. Via the football experience fans connect to a constructed home and/or (Turkish) community. The fan scene in Vienna is to a certain extent an equal experience and performance of love and loyalty to Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe similar to being a football fan in Istanbul or anywhere else in Turkey. But it is important to note that the meaning people attribute to football fandom and its integration in their everyday lives sometimes differs. The distance and also the diaspora context changes practices and performances of rivalries and loyalties. The discussion about fan biographies in the first part of this chapter has shown that the identification with a club can also work without explicit othering practices. Interviewees were socialised into being loyal to either Fenerbah^e or Galatasaray via the community experience and to connect to a family member or friend. The othering practices on a club level, national level or further levels happened only later.