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Title: The stadium and beyond : the organisation of elite football in Leningrad, 1953-1985
Author: Jackson, Alex
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis tests the assumption that spatial methodologies may reveal deep underlying similarities in modernity across opposed political systems. In the USSR, the unexpected 'mis-use' of stadium spaces enabled fans to recast stadium space in ways meaningful to personal manifestations of fandom. Despite material deficiencies (which highlighted the gap between Soviet planning and reality), stadiums in Leningrad were not built to emulate those in the West, yet still often pre-empted their (post 1990s) western counterparts in form and function. As in the UK, Soviet footballers were semi-celebrity social elites. This thesis indicates that from the 1970s onwards, Soviet footballers' privileges were comparable to those enjoyed by other elite social groups and were used to facilitate private lifestyles and personal preferences in ways beyond dichotomies of resistance and oppression. By investigating and analysing the police management of football crowds in late-Soviet society, it is revealed that the militsiia was more dextrous than is usually claimed. Stadium crowds are also shown to have been central to official discourse on urban deviance, as one of the earliest officially recognised locations in which to find and to fight crime. Whilst existing scholarship neglects to analyse representations of football in the media sufficiently, this thesis demonstrates how Soviet mass mediation of football attempted to prescribe what fandom ought to look like. Concerns over specific fan disorders (hooliganism, drunkenness, violence) emerged as very real press concerns earlier than the existing historiography has previously suggested: Soviet footballers and fans underwent a similar level of scrutiny, from the early 1960s, as those in Britain had done at roughly the same time. By the early-to-mid 1980s, football fandom became a means for young people to disengage from Soviet society. But this thesis also demonstrates that the ability to act in accordance with their identities, rather than having to adjust constantly to a rigid set of state-prescribed norms facilitated the development of division and confrontation between rival fans, often based on perceived differences between citizens along ethno-national lines. Football was an important site for the construction and expression of the Soviet regime's ideological underpinnings, as well as of personal identity and a key aspect of Soviet work, leisure, cultural consumption and forms of masculinity. A lack of academic attention to football notwithstanding, this thesis establishes that football was an important confluence at which material space(s), citizens, and state structures interacted within the socialist city.
Supervisor: Tolz-Zilitinkevic, Vera ; Platonov, Rachel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Yurchak ; Stagnation ; Thaw ; Brezhnev ; Materiality ; Hooligans ; Disorder ; Mediation ; Khrushchev ; Edelman ; Privilege ; Riot ; Media ; Comparative history ; British football ; Britain ; Socialism ; Space ; Leisure ; Work ; Design ; Kozlov ; Travel ; Labour ; Fans ; Built environment ; Urban space ; Supporters ; Spatiality ; Sport ; Soccer ; Football ; USSR ; Soviet Union ; Stadiums ; Stadia ; History ; Oral history ; Footballers ; Leningrad ; St. Petersburg ; Cities ; Zenit ; Policing ; Crowd ; Memory ; Police