Fan Activism, Protest and Politics
Ultras in Post-Socialist Croatia
In what sense can organized 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, socialization, 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.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Football Fandom in the European Semi-Periphery
1. Football Fandom and Post-Socialist Transformation in Zagreb, Croatia: a Historical Sociology
2. Ethnography: Positionality, Approach, Methods
3. Everyday Fandom in Zagreb
4. Police Practices and Repression
5. Political Ideologies and the Fan Movement
6. Gender, Sexuality and Violence
7. Banter, Urban-Rural Hierarchies and Political Correctness
8. Fan Authenticity and International Networks
Conclusion: The ‘New’ Europe in Crisis?
Andrew Hodges is a social anthropologist working at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg, Germany. His main research interests include the anthropology and sociology of football fandom, minority language activism, and the politics of knowledge production. He has written extensively about left and progressive fan initiatives in Zagreb, Croatia, and about Croatian minority activist networks in Serbia, analyzing them both as social movements.