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Accepted Paper:

‘One law for them, another one for us’ - the unmasking of the ultras in Croatia  
Andrej Ivan Nuredinović (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Zagreb)

Paper short abstract:

This paper problematizes the position of ultras in Croatia during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, ultras have shown big solidarity towards other citizens. During this “chaotic” period, their social position shifted from marginal to central. But, the stigma prevailed.

Paper long abstract:

This paper problematizes the position of football supporters and ultras in Croatia during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, ultras have shown solidarity towards other citizens as they were the first and most numerous informal groups to help logistically set up hospital centres for Covid-19 patients and to assist with the Red Cross deliveries to older citizens. Their help was even bigger in times of earthquakes in Croatia. During this “chaotic” period, the social position and role of the often stigmatised subculture shifted to recognition and appreciation from other citizens and even official institutions. Despite this, some commonalities prevailed. Whilst everyone in society was forced to wear medical masks for protection thus following new rules in this “state of exception”, ultras were not allowed to carry medical masks on the stadium as masks were a potential tool for “masking” that the law considers illegal activity on stadiums. In this particular microcosmos, ultras were treated as always - they were stripped from the right to be more secure from the disease. With the theoretical background provided by Agamben’s work and ethnographic research on ultras group Bad Blue Boys during the pandemic, this paper tries to make sense of a paradoxical situation where new practices and rules are being used selectively thus perpetuating the stigmatisation of the Others, in this case, the ultras.

Panel P121b
(Re) Thinking Transformations through Solidarity: Limits & Potentials
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -