A sociology of Scottish football fan culture
While football is legitimately regarded as the ultimate global game, its significance to Scotland is even more exaggerated, in historical, social and cultural terms. Scots were at the forefront of 'globalising' the sport, teaching the English and other foreigners to play a highly technical and 'passing' game, only to abandon this later with characteristic complacency. Within Scotland, 'the only game' has provided its inhabitants with a cultural obsession, in which sectarian, regional and national animosities and inequalities may be contested and unsatisfactorily resolved. Consequently, the Scots are credited with gifting the world the phenomenon of 'football hooliganism', primarily at domestic club level, although the authorities latterly claim to have 'solved' such fan disorder. Upon the national stage, some argue football's social and political impacts have been markedly more pernicious, in being a dubious receptacle for the tartan-coated 'sub-nationalism' of a nation still denied a protective State. Therefore, this thesis examines the culture of these two particular, polarised categories of Scottish football fans, namely the contemporary hooligans (the 'soccer casuals') and the national team's supporters (the carnival or ambassadorial 'Tartan Army'). The thesis draws heavily upon qualitative fieldwork with these supporter groups, undertaken over the course of five years (1990-1994). To achieve this, the thesis is divided into three parts. The first part contextualises the discussion, by looking at previous explanations of football hooliganism and the extent to which these fit with initial evidence from the opposing, Scottish fan cultures. The second and third parts then introduce sustained fieldwork and analyses of these supporter groups.