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Football Books: News and Reviews

The Passion and the Fashion: Football Fandom in the New Europe

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

The Passion and the Fashion: Football Fandom in the New Europe, edited by Steve Redhead (1993)

This book was one of the first to analyse the changing culture of the soccer terrace.

Commentators are now as likely to refer to the carnival or “party” atmosphere at football matches as violence and disorder. This does not mean that “football hooliganism” – as the media labelled it for the past 30 years – has somehow disappeared.

It is manifestly on the rise in countries such as Italy and Holland, and especially in Germany where it has ugly associations with the neo-Nazi right; it may be marginalized in countries like Scotland, and more lately England, but public disorder around professional football has deep historical roots in such heavily masculinised national cultures.

Nevertheless, the football crowd – and moreover, football fandom in general – is undergoing significant change which reflect wider shifts in gender, popular culture, modernity and post-modernity. On the one hand there is a greater degree of active participation, and even democratisation, among fans.

This process is evident in the increase of numbers of women in football, the rise of independent supporters organizations, fan magazines (fanzines), the increasing role for football in other art forms (music, theatre, video, film, television) and the mixing of football – as low, or pop, culture – with “high” arts such as opera and classical music.

A contradictory process is also detectable, however; the redefinition of football for a passive, “respectable” audience sitting in either executive boxes, all-seater stadia or in armchairs at home watching the game on TV.

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