Accepted paper:

Anti-statism, symbolic violence and insurgent potential within the "Ultras" movement

Author:

Dinu Guțu (National school of political and administrative studies Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

The grand epistemic dilemma this study seeks to reveal remains explaining if football fans are just valves "deporting" social violence or if they can become "armies" of contestation with strong revolutionary / insurgent potential.

Paper long abstract:

Probably the most common and a constant expression of collective violence in Europe - hooliganism, or violence in sport, has a distorted social image, based on two important sources that provide information on this phenomenon: the press and the police. The research project is not intended to deal with hooliganism or deviance in sports, because it would be naïve to believe that a phenomenon as complex as "the human ability to construct real or symbolic enemies" (Armstrong, 1996) can be "treated" . Whether it comes from the tendency of "ritualization of drama" or uncontrollable energies released for football, violence in sport is much more than aggressive behaviour of various groups of supporters. The ultras scene in the Balkans generally speaking and in Romania especially has offered in this period important examples of nationalist manifestations, at times symbolically chauvinistic: the problem of national identity (e.g. Kosovo, Republic of Moldova etc.), the participation at anti-gay gatherings, often existing an overlap between membership in an ultras group and an extremist group. What this study seeks to reveal is "the unseen iceberg", consisting of a "mix" of anti-statism, a strong local patriotism, honor codes and other symbolic and ritual violence. The grand epistemic dilemma remains explaining if football fans are just valves "deporting" social violence or they can become "armies" of contestation with strong revolutionary / insurgent potential: ex. Bucharest, Piata Universitatii Riot - 2012, Budapest Riot - 2006 (case studies).

panel P055
Protest and politics of grievance in Europe