The Intersection of Ethnicity, Gender and Social Class in Fan Narratives and Performances
The concept of intersectionality has proven to be helpful to understand fan practices and football culture in general. Gabriele Dietze (2012), for example, follows an intersectional approach. She points out that racism in German stadia can be more easily fought than sexism and homophobia due to the fact that ‘race’ does not call masculinity into question in football culture (anymore), but gender and sexuality still do. Via the intersectional approach, Dietze showed how sexism and homophobia are central methods to (re)produce hegemonic masculinity in football fan cultures and beyond (Dietze 2012, p. 60). This chapter discusses the intersection of different socially constructed attributions with special regard to the intersection of ethnicity, gender and social class.
This focus does, however, not claim that subcultural belonging or age - amongst other social attributions - are not important in the practices and narratives of Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e fans in Vienna. As we have seen in the last chapter, all these different performances of socially constructed
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N. Szogs, Football Fandom and Migration, Football Research in an Enlarged Europe, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-50944-0_5
affiliations and self-images are expressed via narratives and practices linked to the fan objects Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe. This chapter will particularly focus on gender, class and ethnicity because these are the dominant-hegemonic variables in the following interview and fieldnote sections that I will discuss. They strongly impact social hierarchies and boundaries within groups and in football places. This chapter will discuss their intersection from three different milieus and perspectives on football fandom in Vienna.
The concept of intersectionality has been discussed already in the introductory chapter (Sect. 2.2) of this book including a critical discussion of its advantages and disadvantages. Whereas the concept is generally relevant to all chapters and was crucial to the research approach in general, this chapter focuses on a more detailed intersectional analysis. I will use the intersectional approach in its very basic attempt as an ‘integrated analysis of a plurality of objects with a focus on their interaction and co-constitution. (Kallenberg et al. 2013, p. 18 [emphasis in the original])
Intersectionality is not an approach without critique, though. I understand that it has been particularly criticised because of the entailed risk of essentialising categories such as gender or class. Part of this critique is that if categories are used, how many of them should we include in our analyses? Should it be race, class, gender or should an analysis also include many other social attributions like age, subculture, and nationality?
The controversy over the object of “intersectionality” is about the question
what objects are specified by interlacing and co-constitution and how to
conceptually comprehend them. (Kallenberg et al. 2013, p. 25)
These questions are important and there is no simple or single answer to them. But, in this specific case, the advantages of an intersectional approach outweigh the disadvantages. This is due to the fact that it helps with understanding the co-dependence of ascriptions and self-ascriptions and thus reveals the social hierarchies that they produce. And is it not specifically the motive of an intersectional analysis to deconstruct every kind of category by explicitly emphasising that these socially constructed categories such as gender or class are not one-dimensional and rigid but complex and flexible intersectional constructs?
This chapter will not only make use of the intersectional approach to analyse social hierarchies in the Viennese football setting, it will also use the term ‘controlling images’, coined by Patricia Hill Collins as part of an intersectional analysis (2000 ). Collins analyses the discrimination and oppression of African American women in the United States:
Portraying African-American women as stereotypical mammies, matriarchs, welfare recipients, and hot mommas helps justify U.S. Black women’s oppression. Challenging these controlling images has long been a core theme in Black feminist thought. [...] As part of a generalized ideology of domination, stereotypical images of Black womanhood take on special meaning. Because the authority to define societal values is a major instrument of power, elite groups, in exercising power, manipulate ideas about Black womenhood. (Collins 2000 , p. 69)
The concept of controlling images has proven to be useful to first reveal and then deconstruct the narratives, myths and symbols that people relate to in order to create and maintain social hierarchies, power and oppression.
Intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender, and sexuality could not continue without powerful ideological justifications for their existence. (Collins 2000 , p. 69)
The important definition of ‘controlling images’ is that they are part of narrative strategies and social practices in general which create or maintain discriminating power relations and social hierarchies in society.
These controlling images are designed to make racism, sexism and poverty appear to be natural, normal, and an inevitable part of everyday life. (Collins 2000 , p. 69)
Crucial for the understanding of the impact of ‘controlling images’ is that they are not only used by the ones that want to subordinate others, but, as Paul Scheibelhofer points out, they may also be used by the ones that are meant to be subordinated (2011, pp. 162-3). Scheibelhofer stresses that the concept of ‘controlling images’ is not a simple offender-victim-dichotomy but a complex acquirement of these images by a variety of actors. Consequently, ‘controlling images’ should not be understood as images that ‘somehow’ exist in our societies but as images that have a very concrete social impact (Scheibelhofer 2011, p. 171). Generally, ‘controlling images’ are very similar to the concept of dominant-hegemonic stereotypes. The point about controlling images and the reason why the concept is used for this chapter is that they underline the power that these discursive images inhabit and that they are (initially) constructed by one group to control the other. Thus these images are multi-layered and used by multiple actors. Thereby, they are controlling even when they are not used with the intention to be so.
Scheibelhofer also underlines the intersectionality of controlling images. Very relevant to this book, in his study on the intersectionality of masculinity and migration Scheibelhofer applied the concept of ‘controlling images’ to the image of the ‘Turkish Muslim man’ in Austria and Germany. He showed how the constructed image of a ‘Turkish Muslim man’ that is deeply informed by the presupposition of a sexualised and ethnicised masculinity becomes simultaneously a tool of discrimination and also a chance for identification (Scheibelhofer 2011).
Here the fruitful combination of the concept of intersectionality and ‘controlling images’ for this book becomes particularly visible. In this chapter, I will discuss discursively constructed controlling images that are dominant in the narratives and practices of everyday lives of Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray fans in Vienna. These images are situative and context- related on the one hand and on the other hand they are formed by and part of widespread (discriminating) hegemonic discourses. They are performed and (re)produced within intersectional categories to subordinate, to superordinate and likewise to subvert.
The first part of this chapter will focus on the construction of conflicting (Turkish) masculinities and its interplay with ethnicity. The chapter illustrates how ethnicisation processes1 do not ‘just happen’ detached from other social processes but are strongly interwoven with other practices of selfing and othering such as gender performances. The analysis focuses on the already mentioned bus trip with Fenerbahqe fans and some Galatasaray supporters to a football match in Salzburg. The section further discusses how the construction of ethnicity and ethnicised stereotypes is negotiated in humoristic narratives among the match visitors and between the match visitors and myself.
In the second part of the chapter, the emotional practice of swearing in football places will be analysed with regard to its meaning in the (re)pro- duction of gender roles and ethnicity. These practices and particularly the narratives about swearing practices will be exemplarily analysed referring to interview sections of members of the Fan Club for Young Fenerbahqe Fans in Vienna (Young Fenerbahqe Fan Club) and some visitors of the Fenerbahqe Pub. At the time when I conducted the interviews, the members of the Young Fenerbahqe Fan Club usually met at a cafe in Vienna until they moved to their own club facilities.
The third part of this chapter will particularly focus on the transnational perceptions and discussions of gender roles and feminism in the transnational context of Turkish football. I will scrutinise how the interviewees create gender inequalities particularly with regard to football places. The last part of this chapter will then disentangle the intersection of social class, ethnicity, and subcultural belonging and its meaning to perceptions of football places. It will use sections of the interviews conducted with members of the student group from Istanbul and the local Viennese friends of that group. My role in these interview situations is crucial to the narratives about and explanations of fan practices.