Conference Agenda

JS_RN15_RN28_10: Boundaries, Barriers, and (Multiple) Belongings through Sport
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Marco Caselli, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Session Chair: Renan Petersen-Wagner, Leeds Beckett University
Location: BS.4.06A
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Football Fandom as an Identity Component among Turkish-speaking Diaspora Members in France

Daghan Irak

Aix-Marseille University, France

Turkish-speaking diaspora communities in Europe are often described as one of the most self-enclosed communities of their kind. Football fandom, especially fandom of the “Big Four” (Beşiktaş, Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor), is very popular among these communities, as international games of these games in Europe are often played in a home-field atmosphere. This kind of fandom, with the help of communication technologies like the Internet and satellite TV, has created a bond between these communities and their “homeland,” presumably reinforcing Turkey’s role in the identity formation, even in the third generation immigrants who were born in the host country. However, football fandom, as a mediatised and globalised cultural practice, also paves the way for a broader perception of the world, since many fandom practices are shared globally, and the international fixtures are an important part of football. Equally, it may be hypothesised that fandom may also create a connection with the host country through football, as most Western countries that have received immigration are also major football countries. The aim of our paper is to explain the role of football fandom in diaspora communities, and also confirm or refute a possible role of football in bonding with the host country. As a case study, this research will work on the followers, who are confirmed to live in France, of the French-language Twitter accounts of the “Big Four” of football in Turkey. Through Social Network Analysis (SNA) and textual analysis, the paper will reveal the nature of diaspora football fans’ relationships with football clubs in Turkey, France and Europe.

VAR (video-assistant-referee) as Neo-Colonialism? Reading the FIFA 2018 Mens World Cup YouTube Video Comments

Renan Petersen-Wagner1, Jan Ludvigsen2

1Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom; 2Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom

The 2018 FIFA Mens World Cup saw the introduction of video-assistant-referee (VAR) as one of its main talking points. For the first time officials had the assistance of replays and VARs to support decisions. Nevertheless, the introduction of VAR was not without controversies. To understand how fans experienced VAR we employed a digital sociological approach (Marres, 2017) by focusing on one loosely defined community (FIFA’s Official YouTube channel), and used digital tools (Rieder, 2015) to scrap users’ comments. We scrapped over 300,000 comments from 31 videos that were analysed through CDA (Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999). Three main categories emerged: Global North vs Global South; Non-Neutrality of Technology; VAR is Killing the Beautiful Game. In this paper our analysis focus on the first category - using the remaining two as support - to argue that VAR was comprehended as a tool for neo-colonialism. Fans recognised VAR as: favouring loosely defined Global North sides; improving Global North sides’ chances; controlling Global South players’ actions. We argue that VAR operated as a panopticon (Foucault, 1985) that rationalised/standardised the ways of playing (Mignolo, 1999; Santos, 2014) following an Eurocentric interpretation of the rules. Our findings highlight the paradoxes of technology, where VAR operated as a tool for systemic control and YouTube acted as a site for anti-systemic movements (Bragança & Wallerstein, 1982) that allowed for transnational networks of hope (Castells, 2012). We conclude by showing the reflexive nature of borders (Beck, 2004) where boundaries, barriers and belongings become more transient and fluid.

Grasping of the Ethnic Identity Gap in Transnational Social Positioning-Case: Turkish Football Players between Berlin and Turkey

Oktay Aktan

University of Kiel, Germany

Even the semi-professional football generates a social field (Bourdieu) in which the players feel themselves between the possibility of transnational mobility. This has significant impacts on the players’ self-positioning. This self-positioning takes an oscillating character when football is investigated in a migration context. In order to put the research focus on this intersection, I have conducted a field study on the semi-professional Turkish football players. The group discussions with the players demonstrate that they present themselves between the patterns of inclusion and exclusion - due to their everyday confrontations with stereotypes and prejudices. The phenomenological reconstructions of this self-presentation pattern indicate that this self-positioning has an ambivalent character which is constituted between the players' constructions on mind (Mead) and their self-experiences (Goffman) in everyday life. As a result the social body (Shilling) i.e. "migrant body" finds himself between a type of belonging to the social field in Berlin and the transnational positioning i.e. moving to "homeland" via bonded social capital (Putnam) networks. This way of perception of the homeland as a heterotopie (Foucault) generates a compensatory social space for the excluded body. The question here is how this heterotopie transforms the self-perception pattern of the players especially their nation- and ethnic based embeddedness in and after this transnational movement. In order to answer this question, some sequences from the empirical data will be introduced in my presentation with the aim of reconstructing the players' ethnic and national identity based on the interpretation of their experiences in the "homeland".

Who May Represent the Nation? Sport, Migration and Citizenship in a Globalising World

Gijsbert Oonk

Erasmus University, Netherlands, The


States increasingly accept ‘imported’ or migrated talent to promote their country’s name and fame in major sporting events like the Olympic Games or FIFA World Cup football. On the one hand, this increases the freedom of mobility and options for talented athletes. On the other, if a nation wishes to upsurge its chances in international sport events by using talent without any prior relationship with the country, this stretches the notion of ‘nationality’ and ‘national belonging’. We propose three categories of relationships between migrant athletes and the state: (1) ‘thick’ and the most common or ‘ideal type of citizenship’; (2) ‘mixed’ forms of citizenship, where the prior relationship through jus sanguinis or jus soli is distorted by external territorial (colonial) expansion, or a ius nexi relation; (3) the ‘thin’ form of citizenship, where migrant athletes have no prior relationship with the countries they represent, and where countries buy talented athletes in return for citizenship (Shachar 2017, 798). The ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ qualifications may help us to understand ‘citizenship as claims-making,’ as suggested recently by Bloemraad (2018) from a theoretical perspective.