Accepted Paper:

has pdf download The making of "home vs. away" through football fandom in Istanbul  
Yagmur Nuhrat (Istanbul Bilgi University)

Paper short abstract:

Football (soccer) fans create homes and their antipodes out of stadia and neighborhoods in Istanbul through the experience and practice of fandom. I investigate the definition of "home" anthropologically to further its theoretical implications and to define its contingencies.

Paper long abstract:

Football has a crucial spatial component. The neighborhoods which host football stadia and other built environment around the sport (i.e. parks or pubs) make up considerable components of how fans practice and experience their fandom. As such, the meanings inscribed in these spaces of different scale become representations and reinforcements of fan identity and belonging. The most familiar way in which fans express their affiliation with space is by demarcating it as either "home" or "away."

In this paper, I study the spatiality of football in Istanbul through the fans of the three most popular Turkish football teams. Particularly, I investigate the conceptualization of "stadium as home." Secondly, I problematize the relation between the "safe home" and the "outside" from which it protects one through the lens of football. While "home" can shield one from the 'dangers' outside (cf. Bachelard), it also helps produce the conception of the "outside" with due agoraphobia. Finally, I try to challenge a rigid definition of "home" whereby its safety is conflated with its immobility. In other words, I try to understand how fans react to the relocation and/or reconstruction of their home stadia to which they can be said to have an intimate attachment.

I conducted initial research for this paper between March-June 2009. In August 2010, I started my PhD dissertation fieldwork on football in Turkey which will continue until September 2011. The proposed paper is a product of this fieldwork.

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Home: landscape, imagination and practices of everyday life