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Philosophische Fakultät - Jahrgang 2014


Titel Reading the Game
Anglo-American Perspectives on Football Fandom in the Age of Premier League Football
Autor Dominik Wolf
Publikationsform Dissertation
Abstract Although the confessional hooligan memoir has attracted sustained academic interest among sociologists, a lack of attention is clearly given to more ordinary forms of football fandom. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of football spectators enjoys the game peacefully, this must seem unsatisfactory. For it is the ‘ordinary‘ fans that form the backbone of fan culture and consequently deserve to have their voices heard. That is why an in-depth study in this area promises to be a fruitful field of investigation, particularly if literary expressions might generate views and attitudes towards football which differ considerably from findings presented by historians and sociologists. Based on the assumption that narratives about football fandom are not only able to mirror football culture but are also capable of shaping their own constructions of it, the present paper seeks to contribute to the wider study of football culture.
The field of inquiry is limited to autobiographical accounts of football fans as these belong to the most widespread and popular forms of football writing. Close readings of the accounts selected promise deeper insights into the way the game is consumed and its culture construed. A textual analysis of literary works tries to identify the significance individuals attach to football fandom whilst equally examining how football culture shapes the makeup of societies.
Assuming that football fandom cannot be grasped without looking at the wider context it thrives in, attention will be given to the way fans perceive football’s media representatives as well as its governing authorities.
Using sociological findings as a conceptual framework, this study seeks to contextualise the narrators‘ manifestations of fandom into a wider theory of fan consumption. The principal aim behind this approach is to assess whether constructions of fandom mediated in autobiographical accounts either correspond to or depart from sociologically established patterns of fan consumption.
Offering a concise overview on the literary representation of football in English literature, the present thesis traces the rise of fan writings, identifies reasons for their emergence and critically questions their popularity while equally providing an outlook on the future of fan writing. The study equally examines Nick Hornby’s impact on the ‘bourgeoisification‘ of football writing.
From the 80 accounts that can currently be identified as fan writings 12 individual pieces were singled out and reduced to some semblance of order. Being the first in its field, this tentative map of fan writings does not claim to be complete. Composed of four distinctive categories, the typology presented aims at outlining major differences in content, scope and focus, thereby contributing to the exploration of football’s literary dimension. While different football cultures will be examined, the major focus lies on British football culture, in particular the fans’ literary reactions to the game’s ‘commercial revolution’ through the inception of the Premier League and the advent of pay TV.
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© Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn | Veröffentlicht: 12.08.2014