Fan Activism, Protest and Politics: Ultras in Post-Socialist Croatia
Author: Andrew Hodges (Clare 2002)
In what sense can organised football fans be understood as political actors or participants in social movements? How do fan struggles link to wider social and political transformations? And what methodological dilemmas arise when researching fan activism? Fan Activism, Protest and Politics seeks ethnographic answers to these questions in a context – Zagreb, Croatia – shaped by the recent Yugoslav wars, nation-state building, post-socialist ‘transition’ and EU accession.
Through in-depth ethnography following the everyday subcultural practices of a left-wing fan group, NK Zagreb's White Angels, alongside terrace observations and interviews conducted with members of GNK Dinamo's Bad Blue Boys, this book details fans' interactions with the police, club management, state authorities and other fan groups. Themes ranging from politics, socialisation, masculinity, sexuality and violence to fan authenticity are examined. In moving between two groups, the book explores methodological issues of wider relevance to researchers using ethnographic methods.
This is important reading for students and researchers alike in the fields of football studies, regional studies of the former Yugoslavia and post-socialism, political sociology and social movements, and studies of masculinity, gender and sexuality. A useful resource for scholars writing about social movements and protest, or post-socialist subcultural scenes in south-east Europe, the book is also a fascinating read for policymakers interested in better understanding the contemporary (geo)political situation in the region.