Ultras

The passion and performance of contemporary football fandom

Since their emergence in Italy in 1968, ultras have become the most dominant style of football fandom in the world. Since its inception, the ultras style has spread from Southern Europe across North Africa to Northern and Eastern Europe, South East Asia and North America. This book argues that ultras are an important site of enquiry into understanding contemporary society. They are a passionate, politically engaged collective that base their identity around a form of consumption (football) that links to modern notions of identity like masculinity and nationalism. The book seeks to make a clear theoretical shift in studies of football fandom. While it sits in the body of literature focused on political mobilisations, social movements and hooliganism, it emphasises more fundamental sociological questions about group formation, notably collective performances and emotional relationships. By focusing on the common form of expression through the performance of choreographies, chants and sustained support throughout the match, this book shows how members build an emotional attachment to their club that valorises the colours and symbols of that team, whilst mobilising members against opponents. It does this through recognising the importance of gender, politics and violence to the expression of ultras fandom, as well as how this is presented on social media and within the stadium through specular choreographies.

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