Gerd Baumann's Three Grammars: Orientalism, Segmentation, and Encompassment

In the following, I will refer back to Gerd Baumann’s ‘Three Grammars of Identity/Alterity’ (2004) that I introduced at the beginning of this chapter. Thereby, I underline the multi-layered assemblage of selfing and othering processes within the narratives and practices of Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray fans in Vienna.

When the interviewees were talking about the opposite club, the most common othering practice was orientalising the other team and its fans. Emre, Alper and Cem did so by claiming that the other team is less European, less ‘civilised’ and less ‘cultivated’. How arbitrary this can be becomes clear when we look at the many different interpretations of what Europe or even ‘civilised’ means to the interview partners. The constructed notion of these attributions and ascriptions becomes visible. Sibel even uses the very term ‘oriental’ to emphasise Fenerbah^e’s inferiority. Thereby she relates to hegemonic discourses that construct ‘oriental’ as a negative attribution (cf. Scheibelhofer 2011).

Apart from these orientalising practices, the other grammars were intersecting and in competition with the orientalising practices. In Alper’s and Emre’s discussion about which team is more European, the ‘us-them- dichotomy’ shifts during the interview. First, it is one football club versus the other football club, Galatasaray vs. Fenerbah^e. In an orientalising manner the other team and its fans are narratively degraded respectively. During the discussion, the dichotomy then shifts to ‘us Turks’ versus ‘them Kurds/Anatolians’ that are orientalised as ‘poor’ and also as ‘less civilised’ and thereby degraded.

In Emre’s and Alper’s case, two grammars are overlapping: the orientalising grammar and the grammar of segmentation. Even in the grammar of segmentation orientalising narratives about Kurds and Anatolians are used to other them. At a certain point in the interview situation it becomes more important to identify with a constructed national or eth- nicised community than with a football community. Being Turkish or better said not being Kurdish or Anatolian became now decisive for both of them. As stated before, both are work colleagues and need to find a way to bond despite the Galatasaray-Fenerbah^e antagonism. When Alper agrees to his boss’s arguments about Kurdish fans, Emre stays the hierarchical superior. In both the orientalising grammar as well as in the grammar of segmentation the third party are ‘the Kurds/Anatolians’. They were a category that was left out but then becomes the relevant antagonism in a shifted dichotomy.

However, orientalism in Said’s sense (1978) does not only hold negative connotations towards the Other but also positive ones. Particularly, in Sinan’s case the fascination about the Other in the orientalising practices became very visible. When he was showing me the chaos that Fenerbah^e fans caused in the YouTube videos he was on the one hand appalled by these incidents and intended to convince me to share the opinion that Fenerbah^e is a club of ‘savages’ - to put it a bit polemically. On the other hand he was also fascinated by what he showed me. We watched the videos for hours and he meticulously explained to me what was happening in the different videos, translating the Turkish newsfeed for me. The dimensions of this ‘riot’, particularly when it was directed against the police, attracted him and even triggered his admiration.

Metin’s case is a classic example of the grammar of segmentation. The football context changes and so does Metin’s loyalty. However, the shifting of his loyalty does not happen entirely as described in Baumann’s football example. Metin does indeed shift his loyalty to the opposite club for a certain amount of time and in a specific context. Also, the national background of the club is the important indicator for why Metin supports Fenerbah^e for a short period of time. Nevertheless, Fenerbah^e is not the national team but another football club. The shifting of loyalties does thus not necessarily happen from the local to the regional to the national level but also within the club level itself. It is the whole club level that changes from a national level to a European level.

The processes of Europeanisation in football culture impact loyalty constructions, perhaps particularly among the Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans in Vienna. Nevertheless, Fenerbahqe stays the rival. This is why Metin expresses the need to underline the national aspect of his support by wearing the national jersey. The context changes and so does his support and the rules of how to support a team. Usually, one could consider Austrian football as the ternary party in this nexus. Different Austrian teams then become relevant when they are either playing Galatasaray or Fenerbahqe. When Metin shifts his support to Fenerbahqe and against an Austrian club, like Salzburg in this research, the Austrian club becomes the new temporary rival in a shifted dichotomy. Then, othering practices are directed directly against Austrian fans who are generalised as the ‘boring Austrian fan’.[1]

In Selin’s case, whose support narratively shifts in the sense of segmentation for the time of the interview, the situation is slightly different. Her support does not shift generally, even though contexts have changed. She puts her loyalty into question, but does not really consider changing her club loyalty. She generalises Fenerbahqe and Be§ikta§ and thereby orientalises not only Be§ikta§ but also her own fan object Fenerbahqe. She describes Fenerbahqe as elitist, capitalist and corrupt and opposes it to what she considers Be§ikta§’ anarchist and left-wing club culture. She romanticises and indeed orientalises Be§ikta§ fans but not to distance herself from them but to underline that she empathises with their ideas. In this case, she describes them as the ones that have preserved a ‘true working class culture’ which she admires. Nevertheless, this admiration does not result in changing her club loyalty.

Sibel, however, does indeed shift her football team because contexts change. Initially she narrates that she understood football from a nationalist or even nationalistic perspective, which she now cannot identify with anymore. In her initial level of segmentation, it was the dichotomy Turkey vs. Austria that was important to her selfing and othering practices in the football context and beyond. Football became a vehicle to regain agency after she was discriminated against. It became a strategy of subversion. Only later, she shifts to Galatasaray and uses the club to represent her ideas. This is where, like Cem, Emre and the others, orientalising practices towards the other club become the most important othering practice.

Generally, the ways interviewees talked about the fans of their club are practices of encompassment. All of them talk about their club and its fans as if they were an official spokesperson for the club. By generalising all the fans and putting them into their framework of interpretation they adapt them to their self-image. This way of encompassment is thus an important part and logical consequence of expressing one’s self-image via the club. The ternary party in these cases are, for example, other football clubs like Be§ikta§. The Galatasaray-Fenerbah^e-antagonism is strong and dominant in narrations about Turkish football that other football clubs seem to be irrelevant for the Turkish league. Be§ikta§ is mentioned several times but only described as in the shadows of Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e.

This chapter focused on the narratives and practices of selfing and oth- ering that are directly connected to a football club or to the national team. The next chapter puts its emphasis on the negotiation of ethnicity, gender and social class in the narratives and practices in the Viennese football environment. This includes analyses of boundary constructions in Viennese football places as well as of transnational discourses and their reading in the Viennese context.

  • [1] Fieldnote from 31 July 2013, fan bus from Vienna to Salzburg stadium, with Metin and hisfriends, Fan Club, Young Fenerbah^e Fan Club, more than 14 hours.
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