It's Coming Home: Football Fan Culture in Britain
One need not put it as drastically as legendary Liverpool F.C. manager Bill Shankly who said that “football is not just a matter of life and death, but much more than that”; still, the obsession with which supporters all over the world take part in rituals before, during and after a match, the devotion many of them show for their team, or the omnipresence in the media, prove that football occupies an important part of culture.
England is not only the cradle of the game; it can also be called the birthplace of fan culture, a culture which is both admired for impressive choreography and singing, and loathed for its frequent outbursts of violence. In this seminar, we will try to analyse this phenomenon from a Cultural Studies perspective. Sessions will deal with the historical development of fan culture, with hooliganism and groundhopping, with fans’ musical repertoire, with political or religious implications as we can see them in Glasgow’s explosive “Old Firm” derby, and a lot more. We will also have a close look at various representations of football and its fan cultures in novels, short stories, films, fanzines etc.; please be prepared to attend additional film screenings. As the World Cup in South Africa will take place during the semester, participants are expected to take part in a mini-symposium on the tournament (on the eve of the opening match, June 10).
Course requirements will be discussed in the first session. A Reader will be made available by the start of the semester. Additionally, participants should get hold of a copy of the book listed below.
Required Reading: Hornby, Nick. 1992. Fever Pitch. London et al.: Penguin.