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Title: Green and white army : the structuration of a social system?
Author: Bell, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 601X
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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Much of the literature to date on sport in Northern Irish society has discussed its divisive nature, with a particular focus on the Northern Ireland international football team as a Durkheimian ‘totem’ of Ulster Protestantism which is most visibly manifest in the sectarian behaviour of a section of supporters during matches. This research draws upon participant observation of Northern Ireland fans before, during and after games in the EURO 2016 qualifying campaign, alongside interviews with supporters and IFA staff, and suggests that the literature has failed to consider a number of changes in fan behaviour which have resulted from the Football for All campaign to challenge sectarianism amongst Northern Ireland supporters. Drawing upon Giddens’ structuration theory, the thesis argues that the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs and the Irish Football Association have altered the allocative and authoritative resources and ‘rules’ of what it means to be a fan within the confines of the stadium itself. Yet issues still exist outside the stadium with regards to sectarian fan behaviour where the new ‘rules’ on what it means to be a supporter are more difficult to enforce. The research suggests that greater attention needs to be paid to internal dynamics within supporter groups. Fan activism can actively challenge sectarian behaviour at matches within stadia given the means of social control over a designated group of supporters in a situated geographical space. In line with Giddens, and contra to key tenets of Foucault’s oeuvre, surveillance is not always constraining, but can be enabling, particularly in terms of challenging individuals engaging in inappropriate behaviour. The thesis suggests that the current policy of UEFA and FIFA to close parts of stadia if ‘offensive’ fan behaviour occurs does not challenge these issues in the longer term, nor does such a policy empower the majority of supporters who do not behave in this way.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available