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Intolerance and joy, violence and love among male football fans: towards a psychosocial explanation of ‘excessive’ behaviours

Andy Harvey, Agnieszka Piotrowska, Andrew Harvey Orcid Logo

Sport in Society, Volume: 16, Issue: 10, Pages: 1404 - 1413

Swansea University Author: Andrew Harvey Orcid Logo

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Abstract

This paper examines the phenomena of intolerance and violence among male football fans through psychoanalytic theory as read through the sociology of postmodern group life. We think of intolerance and violence as points on a shared spectrum of emotion and (unconscious) desire that incorporates other...

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Published in: Sport in Society
ISSN: 1743-0437 1743-0445
Published: 2013
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa35466
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Abstract: This paper examines the phenomena of intolerance and violence among male football fans through psychoanalytic theory as read through the sociology of postmodern group life. We think of intolerance and violence as points on a shared spectrum of emotion and (unconscious) desire that incorporates other forms of ‘excessive’ behaviour, notably public displays of homosocial love and affection. We argue that the notion of ‘transference-love’ as proposed by Freud and reformulated by Lacan is an important aspect of fans' libidinal investments in players. We maintain that a psychosocial approach to the problem enables a discussion of the ambiguous place of football fandom within postmodern consumer culture, where such identities are necessarily tenuous, but, at the same time, tenaciously held. Uncertainties of identity are exacerbated by the gendered and unconscious (homo)sexual dynamics that exist in the emotional cauldron of the male football crowd. Displays of excessive behaviour can be seen as a defence against the confusion over gender and sexuality that might arise in this cauldron at the time of the match and in the space of the stadium.
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: 10
Start Page: 1404
End Page: 1413