Ethnicising Class and Gender

By applying the intersectional approach it became clear that particularly discourses about gender and about class do intersect with ethni- cising practices. Doing gender and doing class among Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans in Vienna are not stand-alone practices but strongly intersect particularly with the construction of ethnicity. The social constructs of class and gender are part of ethnicising practices and the other way around. These ethnicising practices (re)produce gender hierarchies and performances of class distinction. Furthermore, these narratives construct and strengthen the boundaries between a performative (Turkish) us and a performative (non-Turkish) them.

Gender and class hierarchies are particularly visible in the places where football fandom is practiced on a daily basis such as Viennese pubs, streets, fan clubs, and apartments. It is important to note that these places are not always inclusive places. Depending on gender, socio-cultural backgrounds and age, different places are perceived as ‘open’ places by different groups of Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans. Places that mostly men frequent are often perceived (by men and women) as places where women do not ‘like’ to go. The emotional and discursive practice of swearing and in fact the very discussion about this practice is one of the main discourses that maintains and reproduces these boundaries. Powerful culturalised discourses and narratives about gender roles perpetuate these patterns.

Social class and subcultural distinctions are also spatially negotiated. Many bars are not perceived as appropriately ‘hip’ by fans that see themselves as young, cosmopolitan Istanbulers. For them, football places become part of othering practices to distinguish oneself from the ‘other Turks’. In this case, the ‘other Turks’ are a generalised and essentialised image of postmigrants and migrants from Turkey intersecting with working class attributions. These practices of class distinction are at the same time also a strategy to distance oneself from the prejudices migrants and postmigrants from Turkey are confronted with in Austria.

Here, the limits of the uniting factor of club affiliations become very tangible. Gender and class distinctions are particularly significant social constructions that generate and maintain social boundaries. These boundaries are (re)produced by narratives that refer to intersectional symbols and ‘controlling images’ (Collins 2000 [1990]). Fenerbahqe and Galatasaray fandom is a field where various dominant prejudices, stereotypes and cliches about Turks, gender roles and football fans come together and intersect. One amalgamation of these images is the ‘Turkish male macho fan’ - a negative type that everybody, men and women, feel the need to discursively relate to. For many it is a figure that people want to strongly distance themselves from. For some this constructed image also provides a chance for identification.

To sum up, even those fans that did not directly link their football fandom to a constructed ‘Turkishness’ deem it necessary in different not only diaspora-related contexts. Unsurprisingly, Fenerbahge and Galatasaray fans in Vienna deal with similar conflicts as football fans elsewhere. In contrast, however, these conflicts are very often culturalised and perceived as specific to a constructed ‘Turkish culture’ by the fans themselves. In the diasporic context, ethnicisation is a dominant factor of community building, also in football fandom. ‘Doing Turkish’ is part of the fan performances of Fenerbahqe and Calatasaray supporters in Vienna. In a nutshell, whereas Fenerbahqe and Calatasaray fans deal with similar discourses and issues as fans do elsewhere in Europe (for example gender and class inequalities), the migratory context changes the practices and performances in the way that they are perceived and discussed as culturalised and ethnicised problems within the Fenerbahqe and Calatasaray fan culture(s) in Vienna.

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