Self-Images and Self-Representations

The heterogeneity of the research field is mirrored in the different descriptions and narrations about the football clubs Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray All fans that I interviewed used the practice of talking about their fandom as a strategy of self-representation. For all of them talking about fandom was a strategy to convey something about themselves. Depending on their backgrounds, fans especially attributed those categories and images to the club that they themselves could identify with. Thereby, Galatasaray and Fenerbah^e fans that deemed themselves arch enemies actually used similar arguments to stress the distinctiveness of their respective club. The attributions and ascriptions to the two clubs were to a large extent arbitrary and therefore often contradicting. Fans of opposite teams appreciated their club and disliked the other club for very similar and totally different reasons.

The interview situations were processes of subjectification that happened via talking about the football biography, the fan object and everyday fan practices. In the interview situation Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray supporters wanted to tell me something about their own self, how they distinguish themselves from others and how they wanted to represent themselves in this specific interview situation. This ‘social positioning’ (Lucius-Hoene 2004b, S. 61; Sutter 2013, pp. 110-6) (re)established boundaries between those that were present in the interview situation and also went beyond the interview situation. This means when interview partners were talking about their fan biographies they engaged in a retrospective self-positioning that was linked to the present. Due to this situatedness of narrations and interviews they can only be interpreted as ‘positioned truths’ (Abu-Lughod 1991, p. 147) and as part of certain techniques of subjectification. Also, the narrative constructions of loyalties and rivalries are always processes of subjectification that underline the contextual dimension of the subject (cf. Butler 2011 [1993],

p. 60).

Similar to many other football fans, the central aspects of practices of Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray fans were the different performances of loyalties and rivalries. The relational antagonism between Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray is crucial to the excitement of watching the Super Lig. Nonetheless, rivalries and loyalties are situational and contextual constructs that can shift. Loyalties and rivalries require permanent negotiation in narrations and practices to be perpetuated and also to be secured. The shifting of loyalties depends on different situations and contexts. In a European context, national loyalties can become more important than club loyalties - and the other way around.

When fans shift their loyalty, this process is linked to practices that legitimise this action. Using nationalised merchandise products to express one’s (limited) loyalty is only one way to circumvent the antagonism for a certain amount of time. Therefore, club affiliations and national affiliations or questions regarding the construction of ethnicity are strongly interwoven. In many aspects, such as the consumption of transnational media or travelling, Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans are like many other fans that follow a team abroad. However, almost all supporters that I met during my fieldwork were migrants and postmigrants from Turkey. Here, football fandom can become a strategy to link oneself to a (constructed) family history of Turkish migration and thus football fandom can be performatively ethnicised.

 
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